Financial Aid Loan Opportunities

Many of our incoming students ask about student loan opportunities. On this page, students will find a variety of options for which one might be eligible. The Office of Financial Aid is available to assist students every step of the way to find financial resources to make an HCU education possible.

Facts About Financing Education:

Few students can afford to pay for college without some form of education financial assistance. Sometimes, gift-aid, such as grants, scholarships, and work-study, may not cover the full cost of tuition, books, fees, and room and board. In those cases, students find that they must supplement their gift-aid with Federal Direct Student loans and sometimes, Non-federal private or alternative loans.

What is a student loan?
A student loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid (self-help aid), with interest. Gift-aid (scholarships and grants) in most cases do not have to be repaid. HCU participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

With Federal Direct Loans, students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education, but have a single contact entity—a loan servicer—for everything related to questions about the loan and loan repayment options, even if the student received Federal Direct Loans at different schools. Students will also have online access to their Federal Direct Loan account information through their servicer’s website. Students can choose from several repayment plans, and if necessary, can switch repayment plans if their repayment needs change. The student is the borrower of the loan and loan eligibility is determined by the results of the FAFSA and the University Cost of Attendance.

Applying for a Federal Direct Student Loan

While the Office of Financial Aid will automatically notify students with complete applications of their Federal Direct Loan eligibility, we do not encourage borrowing. We do, however, encourage students and parents to pursue scholarships, grants, student employment opportunities, and possibly paying for remaining expenses through current income and assets before accepting any loan. Limiting the amount of additional borrowing a family undertakes will help to reduce the total cost of the education.

HCU also provides a payment plan option. The plan allows students the opportunity to spread payments for the full balance due or any remaining balance due over 4 months during the fall and spring terms and over 3 months during the summer term with no interest. For more information on the HCU Payment Plan, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at (800) 367-3565, ext. 303.

If borrowing still remains a necessity, we strongly encourage students and parents to borrow as little as possible and to research all of the loan programs available, considering cost of borrowing, interest expense, repayment provisions, and potential loan servicing fees in order to determine the best choice.

Important Note about Accepting Federal Direct Loans:
Prior to receiving any federally funded student loan, the Federal Government requires student loan borrowers to complete loan counseling (Entrance and Exit) to ensure the understanding of Student Borrower Rights and Responsibilities and the obligations students are assuming. Loan counseling will also help students to learn about loan terms, tips for developing a personal budget, and helpful advice on how to manage educational expenses. NOTE: In accordance with federal regulations, HCU has the right to refuse to certify a loan or to certify a loan request for a reduced amount.

All students receiving Federal Direct student loans at HCU must complete an online ENTRANCE Counseling Session and Sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). All students receiving Federal Direct student loans at HCU who file an intent to graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time enrollment must complete an online EXIT Counseling Session. Students will need the PIN number used to complete their FAFSA and should allow approximately 30 minutes to complete the required loan counseling.

Loan disbursements will NOT be released until the student has completed the Entrance Counseling Session. A HOLD is attached to the records of students who are required to complete the Exit Counseling and will remain until the Exit Counseling is complete. Because holds will prevent school registration and access to official transcripts, students are encouraged to respond in a timely manner when instructed to complete the Exit Counseling Session.

Primary Student Education Loan Options

Federal Direct Loan – Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Non-Federal Private or Alternative Loans

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Subsidized Loans have their interest paid by the federal government while the student is in school, enrolled at least half-time.

Federal Unsubsidized Loans accrue interest, which the student in responsible for paying, from the time the loan is disbursed to the student or student’s account.

2017-2018 Loan Interest Rates

The table below provides interest rates for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017. Origination fees are a percentage of the loan amount that is deducted from each loan disbursement.

Loan Type Borrower Type Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Undergraduate 4.45%
Direct Unsubsidized Undergraduate 4.45%
Direct PLUS Parent of Student 7.00%

Loans are made available to the student after the student has completed the FAFSA and after the student has been awarded other forms of federal financial aid. The student is the borrower of the loan and loan repayment can be deferred for as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time.

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

With the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), the parent of the dependent undergraduate student is the borrower of the loan. The loan can be made available after the student has completed the FAFSA and has been awarded other forms of federal financial aid. The parent may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus other forms of aid, for each academic year. Like the federal direct Unsubsidized Loan, interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed to the parent, or to the student, or to the student’s account. As noted above, the 2017-2018 interest rate for PLUS loans is fixed at 7.00% percent. Parents, click here to apply for the Parent Plus loan.

Non-Federal Loan Options

Private or Alternative Education Loans
Heritage Christian University is dedicated to providing students with the best possible solutions to assist with college funding. As a last resort, private or alternative student loans are available to students who are not eligible for federal financial aid loans or who need assistance beyond their financial aid eligibility. The loans are made privately through banks and other financial institutions and are subject to a credit check and individual lender terms. Eligibility is determined by the lender and amounts are limited to the cost of attendance minus other estimated financial aid. The loans are not subsidized or guaranteed by the federal government.

HCU does not promote private educational loans or participate in the Preferred Lender Lists Program. However, to assist students who consider private education loans, we are happy to direct them to The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid website. The website provides helpful information about the annual and cumulative loan limits, interest rates, fees, and loan term for the most popular private student loan programs, and a basic comparison chart that highlights the key characteristics of the major private education loans. Students who are considering a private education loan should choose any eligible lender of their choice and HCU will process the student’s request accordingly.

Private or Alternative loan programs differ from Federal Direct Loans in several important ways:

  • Annual and total loan limits are higher
  • Interest rates are normally variable rates that change on a quarterly basis
  • Loans and interest rates are based on credit approval and approval is not guaranteed
  • Loans are not federally guaranteed; therefore, do not have the same deferment, cancellation and consolidation benefits

The terms and conditions for private or alternative loans vary greatly. Students are advised to compare loan programs before choosing a lender. Interest rates, fees, and other provisions of these programs are subject to change by the lender. Contact the lenders directly for detailed information on individual loan products.

Important Note about Applying for Private or Alternative Loans
New regulations recently passed now require all private loan borrowers to complete, sign, and return a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form to the lender they have selected before any funds can be disbursed to the school.

The Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form was designed to assist students in making an informed decision about borrowing, giving students the opportunity to review information about their financial aid eligibility. The Self-Certification form requires information about the student borrower as well as the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) for the loan period covered by the loan.

More Questions?
Contact the Office of Financial Aid:
(800) 367-3565, ext 303 – toll free
(256) 766-6610, ext. 303 – direct
(256) 716-8021 – FAX
Or email at: mthompson@hcu.edu