Student Loans – University of Southern New Hampshire

SNHU participates in the Federal Direct Lending Program. Direct Loans are fixed-rate student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half-time. Federal direct loans are the most common type of financial aid to help pay for education.

Direct Loans are available to eligible students who file a valid FAFSA. Please see your SNHU financial aid award letter for the amounts you are eligible for. For more information on terms and interest rates, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans

Subsidized direct loans are granted on the basis of financial need. With a direct subsidized loan, the government pays interest on the loan while the student is in school and during the six-month grace period. New borrowers who take out federal direct subsidized loans on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the 150% direct subsidized loan limit, which limits the length of time a student is eligible to borrow subsidized loans to 150% of the term. of its published program. .

Direct unsubsidized loans are interest-bearing loans that are not paid by the government. The borrower is responsible for interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even if the student is still in school. Students can defer interest payments while they are in school by compounding the interest, which increases the overall loan repayment amount.

Direct Loan Borrower Requirements

First-time direct loan borrowers must meet the following conditions before a loan disbursement is applied to their student account:

  • Complete online entry tips that help you learn more about a direct federal loan, how the process works, managing your education expenses, and understanding your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.
  • Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) which is a legal document in which you promise to repay the amount borrowed and any accrued interest to the US Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). Review a sample MPN to fully understand the direct loan terms and conditions and borrower responsibilities. SNHU uses the multi-year MPN, which means that students can borrow additional direct loans on a single MPN for up to ten years.

Borrower Rights and Responsibilities

As a borrower of a direct federal loan, you have the right to:

  • Receive a copy of your promissory note before or after the loan is granted.
  • Receive a statement, including information about interest rates, fees, loan balance, and the size and number of payments, before your loan repayments begin.
  • Get a grace period or deferred payment on some loans after you leave school or go below halftime, before your payments start.
  • Prepay all or part of your loan without prepayment penalty.
  • Choose from multiple repayment options and periodically change your repayment plan as needed to achieve affordable loan repayment.
  • Receive written notice if your loan is sold to another lender.
  • Request a deferral (if eligible) of your loan payments for certain specified periods.
  • Seek forbearance from your lender/servicer if you are unable to make payments and do not qualify for a deferral.
  • Receive proof when your loan is fully paid off.

As a direct federal loan borrower, you are responsible for:

  • Repay your loan, including accrued interest and fees, whether you complete your studies, complete your program of study within the normal period allowed to complete the program, get a job, or are satisfied with your education .
  • Complete exit tips before leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment.
  • Notify your lender/repairer within 10 days if you change your name, address or telephone number; fall below half-time enrollment status; withdraw from school or transfer; or change your graduation date.
  • Direct all correspondence to your lender/repairer, which may change during the term of the loan.
  • Make monthly payments on your loan after leaving school, unless you are in your grace period or have been granted forbearance or deferment.
  • Inform your lender/servicer of anything that may affect your eligibility for an existing deferral.

Annual borrowing limits

Annual loan amounts are defined by academic year and based on cumulative credits earned for a specific program of study.

Year Dependent student Independent student
Freshman (0-29 undergraduate credits) $5,500 ($3,500 subsidized maximum) $9,500 ($3,500 subsidized maximum)
Second year (30-59 undergraduate credits) $6,500 ($4,500 subsidized max) $10,500 ($4,500 subsidized max)
Junior and Senior (60 or more undergraduate credits) $7,500 ($5,500 subsidized max) $12,500 ($5,500 subsidized maximum)
Graduate student $20,500 (non-subsidized only)

Lifetime borrowing limits

Direct loan limits are set by the government and dictate the amount of direct loans a student can borrow.

Student type Lifetime borrowing limit
Dependent undergraduate student $31,000 ($23,000 maximum in subsidized loans)
Independent undergraduate student $57,500 ($23,000 maximum in subsidized loans)
Graduate student $138,500 ($65,500 maximum in subsidized loans)

Responsible borrowing

You should always borrow what you need to cover education costs and not just the amount awarded to you. After receiving your award letter, if you find that you do not need all of the loans to which you are entitled to cover current year tuition and expenses, be sure to reduce or cancel unnecessary loan amount(s). This will reduce your overall student debt when you start paying back. To review a loan award, please follow the procedure outlined in your award notification letter.

Direct loan instructions:

Students are required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete the Entry Loan Counseling (ELC) online before receiving a direct loan.

If you are a subsidized and/or non-subsidized direct loan first-time borrower:

Step 1: Complete the entry counseling session

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account (or create a new account) using your FSA ID.*
  • Select the “Undergraduates” drop-down menu
  • Choose “Complete Entry Tips”
  • Follow the instructions to complete entry counseling.

Step 2: Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account (or create a new account) using your FSA ID.*
  • Select the “Undergraduates” drop-down menu
  • Choose ‘Complete Loan Agreement for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN)’
  • Follow the instructions to complete the Master Promissory Note.

* If you don’t remember your FSA ID, you can access it online at

exit advice

Once you graduate, move to less than half time status, or are no longer enrolled, there are exit tips you need to follow. Exit counseling prepares a borrower for repayment by reviewing borrowing history, identifying loan managers, forecasting monthly payment schedules, identifying repayment plans, and providing strategies for successful repayment. You can complete this online counseling requirement by:

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account using your FSA ID.*
  • Select the “Undergraduates” drop-down menu
  • Choose ‘Complete Exit Advice’
  • Follow the instructions to complete the exit board

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the US Department of Education’s online database for federal borrowers. The NSLDS receives data from schools, loan guarantee agencies, the Direct Lending Program, and other Department of Education programs. This online resource helps you be an informed borrower by providing loan types, loan amounts, loan managers, and disbursement dates. These details are the first steps in determining which repayment plans are right for you to successfully manage your debt.


Repayment for Federal Direct Loans begins six months after you graduate, withdraw, discontinue your studies, or have less than half-time enrollment status. The standard repayment term is ten years and the interest rate may vary depending on the type of direct loan and the date of disbursement.

Please see this sample repayment schedule (PDF) for an overview of loan repayment under the standard repayment plan. This chart is for estimation purposes only.

Visit the Federal Student Aid site to learn more about the following repayment plans and deferment/forbearance options depending on the type of federal student loan borrowed:

  • Repayment plan options include Installed, Extended, Revised Pay As You Earn (RPAYE), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Income Based Reimbursement (IBR), Income Contingent Reimbursement (ICR) and Income Sensitive Reimbursement Plan.
  • Deferment options include enrollment in a graduate scholarship or approved rehabilitation training programs, unemployment, economic hardship, service in the Peace Corps, and active military service.
  • Discretionary forbearances include financial hardship, medical bills, job change, and other reasons acceptable to your loan servicer.
  • Mandatory abstentions include service in a medical or dental internship, residency program, qualified teaching, a recipient of the National Service Award in the AmeriCorps, and activated members of the National Guard.

loan officer

A loan officer is a company that handles billing and other services related to your federal student loan. Your loan is assigned to a loan servicer by the US Department of Education. The loan officer will provide regular updates on the status of your direct loan, work with you on repayment plans, loan consolidation, and assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loan. It is important to stay in touch with your loan manager. If your situation changes at any time during your repayment period, your loan manager will be able to help you. For more information on Loan Servicers, visit the Federal Student Aid site.

About Judith J. George

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