Prospective Graduate Studies
You must be a degree-seeking graduate student and enrolled at least half time (six credit hours) to be eligible for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan or the Graduate PLUS loan. Graduate students are not eligible to receive Subsidized loans. Below is specific information regarding the student loan process at HCU. 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 you are in school and during grace and deferment periods. You must either pay the interest on this loan 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 you remain half-time (six credit hours). The origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive while enrolled in school. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You are responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you 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 cost. Students applying for Federal Direct Loans must first:
- Complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA.
- Fulfill other document requests once the FAFSA data is received by the Office of Financial Aid.
Student must accept, reduce, or deny award on Populi student portal. Any reductions will be equally divided between fall and spring terms. If you reduce the amount you borrow now, you will have less to repay later. You may be able to borrow less by increasing your income, decreasing your expenses, or both. Another way to reduce what you need to borrow and increase your income is to identify non-loan sources of financial assistance. Graduate students will be offered their maximum Direct Loan amounts based on cost of attendance and outside resources. Full or partial loan amounts can be accepted in your 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 their first loan disbursement. Exit Loan Counseling must be completed once you withdraw, graduate or each time you drop below half time.
Option II – Direct Graduate PLUS
PLUS loans enable independent graduate students, with good credit histories to borrow up to cost of attendance, less any other aid received. This loan is based on credit approval. Student may use a co-signer if needed, and may be required to complete additional loan counseling if 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
- Complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA and all other financial aid requirements.
- First time PLUS borrowers at HCU must complete an Entrance Loan Counseling.
- Complete the Graduate PLUS Loan application online at studentloans.gov. If pre-approved, you must complete a Master Promissory Note. If student is required to use an endorser, a promissory note will be required for each loan.
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 you withdraw, graduate or each time you drop below half time.
Eligibility and Requirements for Graduate Unsubsidized and PLUS Loan
To be eligible:
- You must be fully admitted to the Graduate Program at HCU.
- You must be a degree-seeking graduate student and enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours)
- You must complete the FAFSA and all other financial aid requirements.
- You must accept the maximum eligibility of $20,500 under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program for the current aid year.
- You must adhere to all HCU enrollment and Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to be eligible for graduate loan funds.
- Undergraduate students taking graduate level classes are not eligible.
- Students are not eligible for Federal Pell Grant or Subsidized loans.
- All borrowers must complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement counseling each year they accept a new federal student loan. The goal is to help the student understand their loans and how they affect the student’s financial future.
- Graduate PLUS loan borrowers must also be credit worthy. A credit check is required. 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". The credit history will not be reviewed by the Federal Direct Loan processor until HCU has processed the accepted PLUS award.
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.
Track Your Federal Loans
All student borrowers are encouraged to use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to track their total federal student loan balance, loan servicer contact information, and how to update their address. NOTE: You will need your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to access NSLDS. If your last name has changed since you first applied for aid, you’ll need to use the first two letters of your former last name when prompted to enter your personal information.
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