Loans are sources of funding that allow you to spread the cost of education over time. When you take out a student loan, you must pay it back - with interest - even if you do not complete your education.
Loans are available from various sources, including federal and state governments and private lenders. We recommend you only borrow what you need to cover your educational costs. Working part-time to pay for books and personal supplies will help keep your debt load down.
If you decide to borrow, it’s important that you know and understand loan terminology.
Federal Direct Loans include student Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and graduate and parent PLUS Loans. All federal loans require that you and your parent (dependent students) complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Additional federal loan requirements:
When you borrow a federal loan, the U.S. Department of Education assigns your loan to a federal loan servicer. Your servicer will contact you (email or U.S. mail) when your loan funds are disbursed. You can find your loan servicer on the Federal Student Aid dashboard (requires log in with your FSA ID) under "My Aid." While the majority of St. Cloud State students successfully repay their federal student loans, some do not which results in the loan being declared in default. St. Cloud State’s three-year cohort default rate for 2018, the most recent year available, was 4.6 percent. For information about the national average Cohort Default rate, as well as specifics by institution type, visit Federal Student Aid's default management site.
Once you drop below half-time (six credits), withdraw from school, or graduate, you will be required to complete loan exit counseling ( login with your FSA ID required). Review the Next Steps for Loan Borrowers (PDF) checklist for information on loan forgiveness, repayment plans, and loan consolidation.
*The federal Perkins Loan program ended Sept. 30, 2017 with final disbursements through June 30, 2018.
Student Debt Relief
The U.S. Department of Education has announced plans for loan forgiveness of $10,000 up to 20,000 for Pell Grant recipients on federal loans that had an outstanding balance as of June 30, 2022. Eligibility for this relief requires 2020 or 2021 individual income (AGI) be less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. An application will be available prior to the end of the student loan pause of Dec. 31.
Borrowers can view their loan balances and check their Pell Grant status by logging into their Federal Student Aid account online at Studentaid.gov.
Please visit Studentaid.gov/debt-relief for more information pertaining to student debt relief.
To be notified by the U.S. Department of Education when the application is open, please sign up at Ed.gov/subscriptions and check the box marked “Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates”.
After considering your federal loan options, you may need additional funds to pay your educational expenses. Some banks, credit unions, and states provide educational loan options, commonly known as private loans. Private loans may have higher interest rates than federal loans. Eligibility for private loans is based on the credit-worthiness of the borrower and/or co-signer.
St. Cloud State University does not endorse any one lender. We provide an online loan comparison tool, FASTChoice, as a way for you to compare private loan options. The choice of lender is yours; you are also not required to select one from this list of lenders. Check the borrower requirements of the private lenders before you borrow.
Due to the number of steps involved in the private loan application process, allow a minimum of 3 weeks for processing.
Some private loans allow payment for previous term charges, allow for less than half-time (6 credits) enrollment, or do not require that you are making satisfactory academic progress.
This short-term loan provides financial assistance to St. Cloud State University students who have unexpected, temporary emergency expenses. Allowable expenses include auto repairs, emergency travel, medical expenses, and textbook purchases.
Students and parents have the right to cancel loans, all or in part, if they borrowed more than needed. Loan cancellation options include the federal Direct Loan Programs, the Minnesota SELF Loan Program, the Private Educational Loan Program, and the federal TEACH Grant any time prior to disbursement or within 14 days of notification of disbursement of the loan.
If it has been more than 14 days since your loan was disbursed and you wish to cancel or return loan funds, you must contact your loan servicer to make a payment.
St. Cloud State values integrity in its employees and expects them to comply with laws, regulations and University policies while performing their duties.
The Student Loan Code of Conduct applies to Financial Aid Office employees and University employees involved with education loans.