Student loans are the most common form of college financial aid.
Types of Student Loans
For student borrowers (no credit approval necessary for Stafford Loans):
- Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans - needs-based eligibility for undergraduate students only; the government pays the interest for undergrad students while in school at least half-time.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans - non-needs-based eligibility; the student is responsible for paying the interest.
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans - For graduate or professional students who meet the credit requirements and have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Stafford Loan Program.
- Commerce Bank Private Student Loans - For students who need to fill the financial gap after scholarships, grants and federal aid.
For parent borrowers (who meet the credit requirements):
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans - For Parents of undergrad students who meet the credit requirements.
How to apply for financial aid
- Read our Financial Aid Timeline to get a good idea of what steps to do and when to do it.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. Your college will use the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for aid.
- Review your financial aid award letter from your school. This will help determine your need to borrow.
- Contact your college's Financial Aid Office when you’re ready to complete the federal loan process.
- Sign the completed Federal Direct Master Promissory Note (MPN), which is your contract for the loan.
Consider a Private Student Loan if you have a financial gap after scholarships, grants, and federal aid.
How the money is paid
- Proceeds are sent directly to your college made co-payable from the lender. This may be in multiple disbursements.
- Loan proceeds will be released to you once the school has verified that you're enrolled and have satisfied any debt due to the school. Other factors may include that you are enrolled at least half time and that your academic progress is satisfactory.
Learn more about repayment, including your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.
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