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Loan Programs

Summary of the Federal Direct Loan Program

Students are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan subject to approval by the Financial Aid Office of Saint Mary's University. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed.

Participants in any loan program must be enrolled at half-time status or more. It is important to note that if a student drops below half-time status during the semester, all or a portion of their loan funds received for that semester may be returned to the lender. This may result in the student owing money to the University, if the University has to refund the money. The student will owe money to the lending institution, if the student has received a refund check. 

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan Program


  • Financial need as determined by the FAFSA
  • Minimum of half-time status
  • US citizen or eligible permanent resident
  • Not in default on any student loan


  • No principal or interest payments due until six months after termination of half-time enrollment
  • 10 year repayment period (minimum of $50/month)

Loan Amount:

  • Amount is determined by the Financial Aid office and the needs analysis on the FAFSA
Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program


  • For students who are ineligible or who have limited eligibility in the Subsidized Direct Loan Program
  • Minimum of half-time status
  • US citizen or eligible permanent resident
  • Not in default on any student loan


  • Only interest payments may be required throughout enrollment and during the grace period
  • 10 year repayment period (minimum of $50/month)

Loan Amount:

  • Amount is determined by the Financial Aid office and the needs analysis on the FAFSA
Loan Information Links

For additional interest information and maximum loan limits, please visit

Federal Parent and Graduate PLUS Loan Program

A parent of the dependent student may borrow a loan on behalf of the student in the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Program. Graduate students may borrow a loan in the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Program. The student must be at a half time status in order to receive the PLUS Loan funds and a FAFSA form must be filed for this loan program. 

For additional interest information, please visit

a. Repayment of the Parent PLUS Loan will start 60 days after the final disbursement of the loan unless the deferment option is utilized.
b. To apply for this loan please visit and complete the Parent PLUS Loan Process.

Private/Alternative Student Loans

Private Loans are used to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. Students should exhaust all Federal Loan Programs before applying for Private Loans. There are many different Private Loan Programs offered, please take the time to compare the terms and conditions of all private loans you are considering to borrow in. Saint Mary’s has provided a Private Loan Options List as a service to students, and it is intended to assist in the selection of a lender. The selection of a lender is solely the student’s choice and may use any other lender outside of this list that may better suit his or her needs. Saint Mary’s does not endorse any one lender listed and will certify any private loan you are eligible to receive.

Lender Options List
Lender Options Private Loan Options

Minnesota State Loan Program
Sallie Mae
Wells Fargo
Bank of North Dakota

SELF Loan (FAFSA form must be filed)
Smart Option Student Loan
No Fee Educational Loan
Collegiate Loan
MedCap Loan (graduate students only)

The lender options shown above lists unaffiliated lenders who provide students with loan programs that have longevity in the loan industry, provide good customer service to borrowers, competitive interest rates, and may offer a look back feature for past due balances. These lenders are also compatible with FastChoice and ScholarNet to ensure efficient certification and disbursal of loan funds to Saint Mary’s. Lenders not associated with these loan programs will be processed by paper certification and paper check disbursal.

The Private Loan Option List is reviewed on a yearly basis. We have contacted the lenders previously selected on the RFI process of 2008 and reviewed their loan product materials to make sure the criteria was met for the academic year.

Apply for the loan programs listed above: Electronic Lender List and Loan Comparison Chart

Saint Mary’s Financial Aid Code of Conduct can be viewed online by clicking on the link below or viewing a hard copy in the Financial Aid Office.

Code of Conduct (PDF)

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers

To encourage individuals to enter and remain in the teaching profession, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program grants loan forgiveness up to $17500 for teacher in certain specialties and up to $5000 for other teachers who teach for five years in low-income schools and meet other requirements.

National Health Service Corps Loan Forgiveness Program for Health Professionals

This program repays a portion of student loans if a student works in under-served areas. Professions that may qualify for this program include primary care nurse practitioners, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed psychologists and licensed social workers.

Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees (PDF)

Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers.