Student loans one of the many ways students pay for college. It’s a reasonable option for many people, and loans were certainly the way I was able to get my college degree.
But you need to know what you are getting into, which is why there is a process for accepting student loans at WSU. Here’s how it works.
While WSU will automatically accept free money like scholarships and grants for you, student loans are another matter.
You need to accept the offered loans—however many you need, however much you need—if you want to use student loans to pay for college. As part of accepting a federal direct loan, you must complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
You are not required to take out all the loans you’ve been offered. In fact, it’s best to take out only enough to pay for your upcoming tuition and/or living expenses.
There’s no advantage to taking out more money than you need since you will have to pay back the loan amount plus interest once you graduate or leave college.
What is Entrance Counseling?
Students who are borrowing a Federal Direct Loan, a Direct PLUS Loan or a MN SELF Loan for the first time must complete entrance counseling for each loan type.
Parents taking out a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for their children’s education expenses do not have to complete entrance counseling.
Entrance counseling is meant to help you understand what it means to take out a student loan. Student loans are a big financial decision, and you need to know exactly what you are getting into. Loan funds cannot be disbursed until this is done.
During entrance counseling, you’ll learn about:
- What a student loan is and how the loan process works
- Managing your education expenses
- Other financial resources to consider to help pay for your education
- Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower
What is a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?
To take out a loan from the Federal Direct Loan Program, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Your MPN explains the terms of your loan, so you should keep it for your financial records.
Parents must also complete an MPN for each student they are supporting with Direct PLUS loans.
The MPN is a Legal Document
When you sign the MPN, you are legally agreeing to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. You can take out additional Direct Loans on a single MPN for up to 10 years.
It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). For instance, it will include information on how interest is calculated and what options you have for deferment or cancellation.
It’s important to understand what you’re signing. For instance, the MPN states the following:
- You must repay your loan even if you don’t complete your education.
- You must repay your loan even if you can’t get a job after you leave school.
- You must repay your loan even if you didn’t like the education you received
Before, or at the time of, the first disbursement of your loan(s), you’ll receive a disclosure statement that gives you information about any loan that will be disbursed under your MPN. This statement will include the loan amount, fees, expected disbursement dates and expected total amounts.
Find more resources about the Master Promissory Note.
Steps to Accept a Loan
You can learn more about the specific loan programs you may see on your award letter.
To Accept a Federal Direct Loan
- Log into Student e-Services
- Under Financial Aid Award, click on Loans. You will see 4 tabs at the top of the screen.
- The first “Loan Period” tab: Make sure that you have the correct award year. For example, it should list the award year as 2022 if you are attending WSU during the 2021-2022 academic year.
- The second tab “Pre-Requirements”: You’ll see instructions to complete entrance counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you are a first-time borrower. It can take up to three business days for this tab to update once you’ve completed these requirements. If you’ve already taken out a student loan, this tab will already be completed.
- The third “Loan Application” tab: You will need to select how much of the loan that you wish to borrow.
- The fourth “Submission” tab: Read the information and submit your loan request. It takes a few seconds for the submission to go through.
- The “Loan Status” screen: This is where you can track the status of your loan. Right after you submit your loan request, your loan status will say processing. It will continue to say processing until the loan is certified.
It can take several weeks for WSU to certify and disburse your loan onto your student account. Be sure to complete the process right away.
To Apply for Other Loans
Complete the application process for other types of loans online:
You’ll follow this same process each year if you want to take out another student loan to pay for college. This helps you keep track of how many loans you have and be really intentional about the amount of money you borrow for college.
If you any questions, you can always reach out to the WSU Financial Aid Office and talk to an advisor.