Student Loan Programs

The Direct Loan Program offers loans to students who need help paying for their educational expenses. Direct Loans include the Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized), the Direct PLUS Loan for Parents (for parents of dependent undergraduate students), and the Direct  PLUS Loan for Graduate/Professional Students. Although many students rely on these low-cost loans to help pay education expenses, you are under no obligation to borrow.

Unlike scholarships and grants, educational loans must be repaid with interest (when applicable). Never borrow before you have exhausted all other sources of financial aid. Borrow only what you need. 

For more information regarding each of these loan programs, click on the links below. 

Direct Stafford Loan
Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate/Professional and Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students

Loan Entrance Counseling
As part of the Federal Government’s initiative to reduce defaults on student loans, all borrowers receiving a Direct Stafford Loan must complete a Loan Entrance Counseling Session prior to receiving their Stafford Loan. You may complete your Loan Entrance Counseling on line here. The Office of Financial Aid cannot process your loan request until this requirement has been satisfied.

Loan Exit Counseling
If you receive a Stafford Loan during your enrollment at St. Thomas University you will be required to complete an Exit Counseling Session prior to graduation or separation from the University. You may complete your Loan Exit Counseling on line here. Failure to complete the Exit Counseling process will result in your academic transcripts and/or diploma being withheld.

Disbursement Requirements
The U.S. Department of Education has specific disbursement requirements applicable to the Direct Loan Programs. If you are receiving assistance from one of these programs, please read the information below carefully to ensure your eligibility for Direct Loans.

All loans are disbursed from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to St. Thomas University after the add/drop period of each semester for which you have requested a loan.
    1. At the time of disbursement, you must be enrolled and attending at least half-time to receive a loan. If your enrollment has dropped to less than half-time after the add/drop period for the semester and before the disbursement of the loan proceeds, the funds will be returned to USDOE. Any future disbursement(s) will be canceled. You will still be responsible for all University charges that have not been paid. 
    2. If you drop below half-time after receiving the first disbursement of your loan, your second disbursement will be canceled.
    3. If you are a first-time borrower, you must complete an Entrance Counseling Session. You must still meet the minimum enrollment criteria at the time the funds are disbursed to you.
    4. Graduate students must be enrolled with at least three graduate level credits to be eligible for a graduate level loan amount or you must be enrolled in at least six undergraduate level credits to receive the undergraduate maximum at a junior grade level.

All loan funds are released directly to the school via electronic funds transfer (EFT), and are applied to your account. Any funds exceeding your outstanding balance with the University will be issued to you in the form of a refund. These funds must be used only for educational-related expenses.

Good Debt, Bad Debt
When is it okay to borrow, and when are you better off paying cash? This article from explains.

Should You Borrow to Replace Your EFC?
This calculator helps determine whether it is reasonable to finance part of the expected family contribution with student loans, vs. paying out of current income and assets.

Reasonable Educational Debt by Major

Based on academic major and repayment period, these calculators determine the average annual starting salary for the field and give the maximum manageable debt load and maximum manageable monthly payment.

Undergraduate Calculator
Master's Degree Calculator
Doctoral Degree Calculator

Value of a College Education
This online calculator allows students to enter estimated earnings with and without a college degree, and calculates the difference in future earnings. It also provides a customized report in PDF format that students can save.