Student loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid. Most are offered at low interest rates with repayment deferred until after graduation.

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 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, 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.

Students in graduate-level programs are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan (also known as the Federal Stafford Loan) subject to approval by the Financial Aid Office of Saint Mary's. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.

  • Minimum of half-time status
  • U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Not in default on any student loan
  • Degree seeking
  • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).
Loan Amount
  • Click here to see the allowed amounts of Direct Unsubsidized Loans you are eligible to borrow.
  • Actual amount is based on cost of attendance.

Other Loan Information

For additional interest information and maximum loan limits, please visit

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

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

Private loans are used to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the amount of other 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. 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 the student 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

The lender options shown above are unaffiliated lenders who provide students with loan programs that have longevity in the loan industry, provide good customer service to borrowers, offer 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.

Use the Electronic Lender List and Loan Comparison Chart to find the loan that best fits your needs.

Find Your Loan

Code of Conduct for Lenders

The Financial Aid Office of Saint Mary's is committed to providing objective information about lenders in a professional manner in order to assist students and families in making informed decisions. The Financial Aid Code of Conduct for Lenders describes how Saint Mary's maintains this commitment and can be downloaded below. You may also view a hard copy in the Financial Aid Office. 

View the Code of Conduct (PDF)

Institutions that enter into an agreement with a potential student or parent of a student regarding a Title IV loan are required to inform the student or parent that the loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by servicers, guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.  Students can access their information as well at

In compliance with federal regulations under HEOA Sec. 489 amended Sec. 485B (d) (4) (20 U.S.C. 1092b) the College is required to notify you that approved loans will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by the U. S. Department of Education and will be accessible by servicers, guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system as determined by the U. S. Department of Education.

Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions of Title IV, HEA loans Terms and conditions of Federal Student Loans are listed on the Master Promissory Note signed by a borrower accepting the loan. The Stafford Promissory Note is completed online through

Before receiving a student loan, borrowers must complete an online entrance counseling session. This interactive counseling session will help you understand:

  1. How the loan process works;
  2. Managing your education expenses;
  3. Other financial resources to consider to help pay for your education; and
  4. Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

The online entrance counseling session will take you approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. To get started:

  1. Go to
  2. Log in using your FSA ID username and password
  3. Select "Complete Counseling"
  4. Select "Start Entrance Counseling".
  5. Select “Minnesota” and “Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota” from drop down boxes.
  6. Select “Notify This School.”
  7. Select Student Type and Continue
  8. Complete entrance counseling by answering all questions
  9. Click “Submit”
  10. Print the Entrance Counseling for your records.

The Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling is used when a student has borrowed in a federal loan program and has dropped below half time status (please see definition listed below).

It is mandatory that this counseling information be completed by students in order to receive their rights and responsibilities of repaying their student loans.

Please click on the Federal Stafford and Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling link in order to complete the exit counseling.

*Please note: It does not matter which loan program (Federal Stafford Loan or Federal Direct Loan) you have borrowed from. The exit counseling is the same for both programs.

Federal Stafford & Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling

*Half-time status is defined as the following:

  1. Graduate students must maintain the following: a minimum of 4 credits per term or an equivalent to this OR if you are registered by a learning contract, you must maintain one credit per month of your contract. (Example: 7-month contract must have at least 7 credits in order to be half-time)
  2. Undergraduate students must maintain the following: a minimum of 6 credits per term.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

To encourage students to enter and remain in certain high-need professions and sectors, loan forgiveness programs have been developed that may apply to students going into teaching, the health professions, or public service.

To encourage individuals to enter and remain in the teaching profession, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program grants loan forgiveness up to $17,500 for teachers in certain specialties and up to $50,00 for other teachers who teach for five years in low-income schools and meet other requirements.

View Programs for Teachers

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.

View Programs for Health Professionals

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.

View Programs for Public Service Employees


Grants are a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid. There are limited options for grants at the graduate school level.

The Minnesota GI Bill is available for graduate and undergraduate students. Eligible students include Minnesota veterans and service members, as well as eligible spouses and children of deceased or severely disabled eligible Minnesota veterans. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office based upon the Minnesota GI Bill award formula.

View MN GI Bill Information

The TEACH Grant requires students to be enrolled in specific graduate degree-seeking teacher licensure preparation programs at Saint Mary’s of one of the following: M.A. in Special Education, M.A. in English as a Second Language, or M.A. in Literacy Education. In addition, students must hold specific jobs in order to keep the grant from turning into a Federal Unsubsidized Loan.

Carefully read through the TEACH Grant information online. The TEACH Grant Counseling Application is available online, and the Financial Aid Office will determine eligibility. Do NOT complete the Agreement to Serve (ATS) until you have been notified by the Financial Aid Office that you are eligible.

Eligible Programs:

  • Master of Arts in Special Education
  • Master of Arts in English as a Second Language
  • Master of Arts in Literacy Education (only if first completed K–12 Reading Teacher Graduate Certificate)

View Federal TEACH Grant