Prospective Graduate Students
Eligible graduate students who complete the FAFSA are eligible for financial help in the form of loans that must be repaid with interest. Loan types include unsubsidized loans and/or Grad PLUS loans, both of which can help cover any remaining educational expenses. HCU Students are encouraged, with the help of the Office of Financial Aid, to explore all other options before borrowing.
Graduate Unsubsidized Loan Limits
Annual loan limits are: Unsubsidized loan amount is up to $20,500 (per academic year) for graduate students.
Aggregate loan limits are: $138,500 for graduate students (including undergraduate borrowing).
Interest and Origination Fees
Interest is charged during all periods, even during the time the student is in school and during grace and deferment periods. Students must either pay the interest quarterly to the Direct Loan Servicing Center or let the interest accumulate and capitalize. Capitalized interest makes the loan payback more expensive over time. No payment on the principal balance of the loan is necessary so long as the student’s enrollment remains half-time (six credit hours). The origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement the student receives while enrolled in school. This means the money the student receives will be less than the amount actually borrowed. Students are responsible for repaying the entire amount borrowed and not just the amount received. Learn more about interest rates and fees →
Option I – Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Procedures
Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans are low-interest student loans available to students to assist with educational costs. Students applying for Federal Direct Loans must first:
- Complete the FAFSA for the current school year.
- Fulfill other document requests once the FAFSA data is received by the Office of Financial Aid.
Students must accept, reduce, or deny awards on the Populi student portal. Any reductions will be equally divided between fall and spring terms. Students may be able to borrow less by increasing their income, decreasing their expenses, or both. Another way to reduce what is borrowed and increase income is to identify non-loan sources of financial assistance. Graduate students will be offered Direct Loan amounts based on the cost of attendance, student request, and outside resources. Offered loan amounts can be accepted through the Populi Student Portal account. Students borrowing Federal Direct Loans for the first time at HCU must complete Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note prior to receiving a loan disbursement. Exit Loan Counseling must be completed once the Office of Financial Aid is notified the student is withdrawing, has filed an intent to graduate, or each time the student drops below half time.
Option II – Direct Graduate PLUS
Graduate PLUS loans enable independent graduate students, with good credit histories to borrow up to the cost of attendance, less any other aid received. This loan is based on credit approval. Students may use a co-signer if needed and may be required to complete additional loan counseling if the student has adverse credit. The repayment period for a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan begins at the time the loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement. Students may defer repayment while enrolled at least half-time. Student must:
Also, the student must
- be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.
- not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs;
- not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done);
If the student has an adverse credit history, they may still receive a PLUS loan through one of these two options:
- Obtaining an endorser/co-signer who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the parent PLUS loan if you do not repay it. The endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.
- Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history.
With either option 1 or option 2, the student also must complete credit counseling for parent PLUS loan borrowers. Additional information can be found here to learn more about what to do if a student is denied a PLUS loan based on an adverse credit history.
The Department of Education electronically transmits the approval or denial to the HCU Office of Financial Aid within 72 hours. The approval is certified by HCU. Allow a minimum of five business days for internal processing. Funds are released electronically by the Department of Education typically within seven days of the certification, provided the Department of Education has received all relevant documentation from the borrower. Exit Loan Counseling must be completed once the Office of Financial Aid is notified the student is withdrawing, has filed an intent to graduate, or each time the student drops below half time.
Eligibility and Requirements for Graduate Unsubsidized and PLUS Loan
To be eligible, the student:
- must be fully admitted to the Graduate Program at HCU. Undergraduate students taking graduate-level classes are not eligible.
- must be a degree-seeking graduate student and enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours)
- must complete the FAFSA and all other financial aid requirements.
- must adhere to all HCU enrollment and Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to be eligible for graduate loan funds.
- must complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement counseling each year a loan is accepted.
- Graduate PLUS loan borrowers must also be creditworthy. The applicant will be ineligible if the credit history indicates 90 days or more delinquency on any debt or has been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a Title IV debt during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.
Option III – Private or Alternative Education Loan
Private student loans, also known as alternative loans, are offered by private lenders. The loans are available to students who are not eligible for federal loans or who need assistance beyond their financial loan eligibility. These loans are made through banks and other financial institutions and are subject to their terms. Students must find an alternative loan lender on their own.
Manage Your Federal Loans
All student borrowers are encouraged to use the Federal Student Aid website to manage their federal student loans, and to:
- access their loan servicer contact information
- update their information
- understand student loan repayment
- lower the monthly payment
- get temporary relief from loan repayment
- apply for income-driven repayment
- understand loan delinquency and default
Office of Financial Aid Contact Information
You are invited to visit during business hours to have your financial aid questions and concerns answered, your forms reviewed for accuracy, and to pick up any additional forms or application materials you may need. If you need assistance, please call, email, or schedule an appointment to stop by the office:
Call …………………… 256-766-6610/800-367-3565 ext. 303
Fax …………………………………………………… 256-716-8021