General Loan Information

Federal Direct Student Loans

STUDENTS MUST BE ENROLLED IN AT LEAST HALF TIME TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

Student loan programs provide long-term, low interest loans to students. To be considered for loans at UNA, complete the FAFSA. Students at UNA can be awarded subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loans, depending on the student's demonstrated need and cost of attendance. View the US Department of Education's brochure on Direct Student Loans.

Subsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford Subsidized Loans are based on financial need as well as annual and aggregate loan limits. Interest on this loan does not accrue during eligible periods of enrollment. Interest accrual will begin during the designated grace period and repayment begins six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 semester hours). Subsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 will have a 4.53% interest rate.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans are based on annual and aggregate loan limits and is not need-based. Interest on this loan begins to accrue upon the first disbursement. Repayment begins six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 semester hours). For unsubsidized Stafford loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2019, the interest rate for undergraduate students is 4.53%.

Loan Amounts

Annual Loan Limits (combined maximum for subsidized and unsubsidized) under the Stafford Loan Programs:

  • Dependent Undergraduate students
    • Freshmen - $5500
    • Sophomores - $6500
    • Juniors and Seniors - $7500

The aggregate limit is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans)

  • Independent Undergraduate students
    • Freshmen - $9500
    • Sophomores - $10,500
    • Juniors and Seniors - $12,500

The aggregate limit is $57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans).

  • Graduate Students
    • $20,500 Unsubsidized Loans annually, limited to cost of attendance. Graduate Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 have a 6.08% interest rate.

The aggregate limit for graduate students is $138,500 (no more than $65,000 of this amount may be in preexisting subsidized loans as Graduate students became ineligible for subsidized loans after July 2012).

Accepting Your Student Loan Awards

STEP 1: Read and Accept Terms and Conditions.

You MUST read, understand and accept the Terms and Conditions Governing Financial Aid Awards.

To do this, access your UNA Portal account, click Billing and Financial Aid, then click Financial Aid Award within the My Financial Aid Section, and then select the current aid year. Click the Terms and Conditions tab and click the link to read the actual terms and conditions. When you have finished, click Accept. If you have any questions regarding any of the listed terms and conditions, please contact our office before accepting them. You cannot move on to the remaining steps on this page until you have completed this step.

STEP 2: Accept Loan(s) in UNA Portal Financial Aid Self-Service.

To accept, reduce or decline your financial aid, access your UNA Portal account and clicking Billing and Financial Aid, then click on Financial Aid Awards, select the current aid year, then click on the Accept Award Offer tab.

STEP 3: Complete Entrance Counseling.

Students borrowing Direct Stafford Loans for the first time must complete an online entrance counseling sessions. Students who have completed entrance counseling previously do not need to repeat entrance counseling. Complete entrance counseling here. UNA will receive electronic confirmation from the US Department of Education when you have successfully completed the counseling.

STEP 4: Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

View and complete the MPN online. If you are unable to complete your MPN online, paper MPN(s) can be generated. Contact us to have paper copies of your MPN mailed to you.

STUDENTS MUST BE ENROLLED IN AT LEAST HALF TIME TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

PLUS Loans are loans that parents may be eligible for and can be used to cover a student's education expenses. A parent does have to complete an application and pass a credit check to receive this loan.  Students may receive an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan if their parent does not qualify for a PLUS loan.

To receive a PLUS Loan, your dependent student:

  • Must have a completed FAFSA on file at UNA

  • Must be enrolled at least half-time

  • Must be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Must meet all other requirements of Title IV aid, as determined by the US Department of Education.

The maximum amount that the parent may borrow under the Federal PLUS Program is the cost of attendance minus any other aid (scholarships, grants, loans, waivers, etc.) received by the student. View the US Department of Education's brochure on PLUS Loans.

To apply for Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), complete the steps outlined in the instructions at www.studentloans.gov.

Make sure that your student checks financial aid requirements in their UNA Portal by selecting, Self-Service, then Financial Aid. Click on Eligibility and then Student Requirements. Outstanding requirements may prevent the timely disbursement of your financial aid.

Alternative Loans are private loans made through lending institutions based upon the student's level of creditworthiness as determined by the lender. The student's level of creditworthiness affects the loan terms and if a co-signer is required. Private loans are more expensive than federal government loans and cannot be part of a federal consolidation loan in repayment. Generally speaking, students should consider private education loans only if Federal Stafford Loans are unavailable.
You can compare multiple loans using the FinAid Loan Comparison Calculator.

CERTIFIED Alternative Loan products require the University of North Alabama to report enrollment (full-time, half-time, less than half-time) and other financial aid information about the student, and these funds count toward satisfying the Cost of Attendance at UNA. Funds for an approved certified alternative loan are electronically sent to UNA by the private lender and then disbursed to the student's billing account on the same schedule as federal aid is disbursed.

Certified Alternative Loan funds are not reflected as Estimated Financial Aid toward the bill until UNA receives the funds the lender has actually transmitted to UNA by Electronic Funds Transfer. Your application must be made, loan approved and funds received from the lender by UNA far enough in advance of the first due date of the term to be counted as Estimated Financial Aid toward the charges. Otherwise your billing account will be due on the scheduled due date. Failure to pay your student account balance by the scheduled due date will result in cancellation of your registration schedule.

You are free to choose any lender that participates in the Private/Alternative loan program and should apply DIRECTLY WITH THE LENDER. UNA does not recommend or endorse any lender and does not benefit in any way from your lender selection.

In order for your private loan to be certified by UNA, you must be registered for at least six hours in the semester for which the loan is requested.

What Type of Loan is Best? Private education loans tend to cost more than the education loans offered by the federal government, but are less expensive than credit card debt. Federal education loans offer fixed interest rates that are lower than the variable rates offered by most private loans. Federal education loans also offer better repayment and forgiveness options.

Since federal education loans are less expensive than and offer better terms than private student loans, you should exhaust your eligibility for federal student loans before resorting to private loans.