Frequently Asked Questions


Our Customer Service Department compiled answers to commonly asked questions. If you still need assistance, call 1-800-708-6684.


How do I apply for a Federal Stafford Loan?
You need to begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will enable your college to determine your eligibility for all types of Federal Financial Aid, including the Federal Stafford Loan. Once your college notifies you that you are eligible for the Federal Stafford Loan, you will need to complete a Federal Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). See the Federal Stafford Loan product page for complete details.

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Do I need to apply for financial aid each year?
Yes. You will need to complete the FAFSA form each year. Every year you will receive a new financial aid award letter from your school.

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Do I have to fill out a new MPN each year?
Usually, you do not have to complete a new MPN each year. These forms are good for ten years. You may have to fill out a new form if you change schools or change your lender.

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Where can I get a FAFSA form to complete?
You can complete either a paper version of the FAFSA, or you can fill the form out on-line. Completing the FAFSA on-line is more efficient. You can find the application on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

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How much can I borrow through the Federal Stafford Loan program?
If you are a dependent student the maximum you can borrow under the Federal Stafford Loan is $5,500 as a Freshman, $6,500 as a Sophomore, and $7,500 as a Junior and a Senior. If you are an independent student the maximums are $9,500 as a Freshman, $10,500 as a Sophomore, and $12,500 as a Junior and a Senior. See the Federal Stafford Loan product page for complete details.

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I live on my own. Can I be an independent student?
In general, to be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes, one of the following must be true: You must be 24 or older; you are a graduate student; you are married; you have children of your own; you are a Veteran; you are an orphan or Ward of the Court, or you were until the age of 18. If you do not meet any of the above criteria, you are generally considered a dependent student. If you do not fit any of the above criteria, but you still feel that you are an independent student, you should discuss your situation with your financial aid officer.

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I have received my financial aid award letter, but I still owe money to the school. Are there other loans I can apply for?
We do offer private, alternative loans. In general, these loans allow you to borrow whatever else you need to cover your balance for the year. These loans are credit based, so most students will probably require a credit-worthy co-signer such as a parent or legal guardian.

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Is there a loan that my parents can take out for my education?
If you are a dependent, undergraduate student, your parent(s) can apply for the Federal PLUS Loan. This loan allows your parents to apply for whatever amount they need to cover your balance for the year.

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Can I borrow a loan to help pay for my books and my personal expenses while I am at school?
Yes. Our private, alternative loan products, as well as the Federal PLUS Loan, can be used to help pay for your indirect costs while you are enrolled in school. The maximum you can borrow each year is determined by your individual school.

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I am an international student. Do you have loans I can borrow?
Our private, alternative loan products allow international students to apply for these loans as long as they have a credit worthy co-signer who is a US Citizen or a permanent resident.

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I am going to be studying in a foreign country. Are there any student loans I can borrow?
Depending on the school you are planning on attending, you may be eligible to apply for the different loan products that we offer. Many foreign schools participate in the Federal Stafford Loan program and the Federal PLUS Loan program. In addition, many also participate in the private loan programs. The best thing is to call us and discuss your eligibility.

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The FAFSA form asks for my parents' income, and my parents are divorced. Whose income should I put on the form?
You should use the income of the custodial parent. If your parents have joint custody, then list the income of the parent you lived with the most over the previous twelve months. In addition, if that parent is remarried, you must include his or her spouse's income on the FAFSA form.

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How do I get my hands on my official transcript? And what is it?
The transcript is your official high school academic record. It contains a list of your courses and grades, an explanation of the school's grading scale, and a list of the school's course offerings. Check with your high school guidance counselor to find out what you need to do to get transcripts sent to your selected schools. There may be a minimal charge for sending them. Keep deadlines in mind and allow plenty of time to get your transcripts out the door.

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I was home schooled and I don't have an official transcript. What should I do?
If you have been home schooled, you may not follow the typical transcript or testing scenarios. Instead, you might be able to substitute a portfolio of your best work, a logbook of your community activities, or college credits earned before applying for admissions. Check with the schools you're applying to to find out what they need.

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