The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers entrance counseling to highlight the loan process and student responsibilities as well as exit counseling to explain the repayment process. A student can complete both Entrance and Exit Counseling from this web site. Student loans can be a useful tool in funding your education, but use them wisely. Borrow only what you need. A student must be enrolled at least 6 hours (half-time) to be eligible for Federal Loans. First-time borrowers at EIU will also need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
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Loan Types Available
Federal Direct Loan Increase/Decrease Requests
To request a change to your federal subsidized or unsubsidized loan amount, you must sign in to PAWS to submit the request.
Go to the Financial Aid tab, choose the Award link, Award for Aid Year link, and then the Resources/Additional Information tab. Enter your request in text box and submit. Please be specific and include loan type, amount, and semester. If the request is unclear, you will be asked to resubmit in order to clarify.
** The PAWS submission form applies to the student’s subsidized and unsubsidized loans only and cannot be used to revise parent PLUS loans or to request loan changes due to a PLUS loan denial or change in grade class. Parents may submit PLUS loan revision requests to finaidPLUS@eiu.edu. If you need to request one of these changes, please submit the specific form available here (https://www.eiu.edu/finaid/loan_forms.php).
Please note: Revisions will be made based upon academic year budgets and other aid received. Annual and aggregate loan limits also apply. Please review your loan limits prior to submission: https://www.eiu.edu/finaid/loan.php.
Federal Direct Loan Programs
These loans are low-interest loans made to you to help you pay for your education after high school. There are two kinds of federal direct loans:
- Subsidized: The subsidized loan is based on need, and the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time.
- Unsubsidized: The unsubsidized loan is not need based, so it is available to students regardless of financial need. While the student is still in school the interest is capitalized, or added to the principal balance, if the recipient chooses not to make payments upon the interest. However, students may request to make interest payments while still in school.
Subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans are low-interest loans that do not require a cosigner. Interest rates are fixed. The money for these loan programs comes from the government. Most students will begin repayment six months after leaving EIU or dropping below half-time.
The federal government determines the interest rate for new loans each school year. The interest rate will not exceed 8.25 percent. Students must be enrolled at least six credit hours per semester to qualify for a subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan. Repayment begins six months after graduation, or after the student ceases to be enrolled in at least six credit hours.
In addition to interest, you must pay a loan origination fee. This fee is a percentage of the principal amount of each Direct PLUS Loan that you receive. The current origination fee is subject to change according to any Dept. of Education regulation changes. This fee helps reduce the cost of making these low-interest loans. The fee is deducted before the loan is paid to the student bill, so the loan amount you receive will be less than the amount you have to repay.
To apply for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, complete the FAFSA at studentaid.gov.
|Base Loan Amount
|Base Loan Amount
|Base Loan Amount
* If attending only one semester as a senior, your total available loans funds will be reduced.
Interest Rates for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2022 and before July 1, 2023
|Graduate Direct Unsubsidized
* The interest rates shwon above are fixed rates for the life of the loan.
Loan Fees for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans
|First Disbursement Date
|On or after Oct. 1, 2019, and before Oct. 1, 2020
|On or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2023
* Loans first disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2019 have different loan fees.
Maximum total loan amounts:
Undergraduate Dependent = $31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Undergraduate Independent = $57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Graduate = $138,500 - No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate debt limit includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.
Dependent undergraduate students whose parents are denied a parent PLUS loan are eligible for additional unsubsidized loan amount; freshmen and sophomores $4,000, juniors and seniors $5,000.
Federal PLUS Loan Program
- The PLUS Loan application can be submitted online at studentaid.gov.
- Requests for changes to processed PLUS loan applications can be sent to finaidPLUS@eiu.edu.
Parent PLUS Loan
Parents of dependent students with a good credit history may receive Federal PLUS Loans if the student is enrolled at least half-time. PLUS Loans are not based on need, so these loans are made regardless of income level. Federal Direct PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate that is adjusted each year on July 1. The interest rate may change each year, but it will never be higher than 10.5%. Effective 7-1-08, Parent PLUS borrowers have the option of beginning repayment on the PLUS Loan either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or beginning repayment six months after the dependent student on whose behalf the parent borrowed ceases to be enrolled at least on a half-time basis.
In addition to interest, you must pay a loan origination fee. This fee is a percentage of the principal amount of each Direct PLUS Loan that you receive. The current origination fee is subject to change according to any Dept. of Education regulation changes. This fee helps to reduce the cost of making these low-interest loans. The fee is deducted before the loan is paid to the student bill, so the loan amount you actually receive will be less than the amount you have to repay.
For for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022, and before July 2, 2023, the Interest Rate is 7.54%. *This is a fixed rate for the life of the loan.
Loan Fees for Direct PLUS Loans
|First Disbursement Date
|On or after Oct. 1, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2022
|On or after Oct. 1, 2022, and before Oct. 1, 2023
* Loans first disbursed before Oct. 1, 2021 have different loan fees.
Avoid Over-Borrowing - Loan limits for Federal PLUS Loans are listed in the student’s financial aid award notification; this will equal the entire cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Please note this is the maximum for which a parent can apply, not necessarily the amount needed to pay the student’s bill. Parent PLUS loans are applied to charges on the student's bill before the student's aid is applied. Any excess funds once the student’s account is paid will be sent to the student as a refund check unless the parent has requested for excess PLUS loan funds to be refunded to the parent. In some cases, if the parent chose to receive the refund, there will be a refund issued to both the parent (excess PLUS funds) and the student (loans, grants, etc.).
To apply for a Federal Parent PLUS loan, the parent will need to go to studentaid.gov. Sign in as the parent, choose “Request a PLUS Loan,” and then choose the Parent PLUS application. The information will be transmitted to EIU usually within 24 hours. After your application is approved, you will be instructed to complete a master promissory note if you have not previously done so. If you are denied a Parent PLUS loan, your student may request the Federal Direct Additional Unsubsidized Loan by submitting their request in writing to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Graduate PLUS Loan
Graduate students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan program. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate PLUS Loans.
To apply for a Graduate PLUS loan, go to studentaid.gov. Sign in as the student and choose “Request a PLUS Loan.” The information will be transmitted to EIU usually within 24 hours. After your application is approved, you will be instructed to complete a master promissory note if you have not previously done so.
Private/Alternative Educational Loans
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships strongly recommends that all students apply for Federal Direct Loans prior to submitting private loan applications. Federal Direct Loans have the lowest guaranteed interest rate of all educational programs. You can begin this process simply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. There is no application fee, and our office staff is available to assist you with this process. Alternative educational loans are available from private lenders and should only be considered as a resource after a student has exhausted all other state and federal sources for funding.
If you still choose not to fill out a FAFSA, your private/alternative loan will not be processed by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships until an opt-out form is completed, explaining your decision not to file for federal aid.
Any correspondence regarding your private loan will be sent to your campus email.
IMPORTANT: You are NOT restricted to the lenders presented on our preferred lender list. You should not be directed to any specific lender by the University; you may choose any lender and follow their application process. We provide this list as a resource for you to research and make the best selection for your educational funding needs. This list is not exhaustive and other options are available. You do not need to borrow from a lender on this list.