Our student finance counselors are available to personally guide you in figuring out which loans are available to you. There are three basic types of loans: Stafford loans, Parent PLUS loans, and alternative loans.

Direct Stafford Loans

The most common source of college loan funds, federal Stafford loans, are fixed-rate, low-interest loans available to undergraduate students attending Southern at least half time (6 credit hours).

Subsidized Stafford loans are need-based. The government pays the interest on these loans while you are attending college, during a six-month grace period immediately preceding repayment, and during any authorized deferments.

Unsubsidized Stafford loans are not need-based. You are responsible for all of the interest that accrues on the loan.

Stafford Loan Steps & Entrance Counseling

Step 1: Complete the FAFSA. Once you have received your award letter and accepted the Stafford loans on it, you may move to step 2.

Step 2: Complete entrance counseling. The first time you take out a loan, you’ll need to complete Stafford entrance counseling before your loan proceeds can be released.

Step 3: Complete master promissory note. Complete the master promissory note to finalize the loan.

Direct Parent PLUS Loans

If your mom or dad wants to help finance your education through loans, a Parent PLUS loan is a good option to consider.

Who is it for? Parents of students who are enrolled for 6 or more credit hours.

How much can be borrowed? Parents may borrow as much as the cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

Can the loan be deferred? If needed, repayment can be deferred until the student is no longer enrolled for at least 6 credit hours.

Is approval guaranteed? Because this loan is based on credit score, not all parents will be approved.

What happens if they are denied? If your parent is denied the PLUS loan, you become eligible for an additional amount in the Stafford Loan program.

How do my parents apply? They can apply on the Direct PLUS website to begin the process.

Perkins & Nursing Loans

The FAFSA will apply you for both loans, and qualified students will see the loan as part of their financial aid award. For additional information please contact your student finance counselor once your FAFSA has been processed.

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are available to meet educational expenses when federal, private, and personal resources have been exhausted.

Typically, with alternative loans:

  • Applications can be completed over the phone or online.
  • Eligibility is determined in 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Interest rates and eligibility requirements vary with each lender.
  • Interest starts accruing immediately.
  • Payments, including interest, can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours).

Loan Exit Counseling

Direct Stafford Loans: Exit counseling is completed at StudentLoans.gov.

Perkins and Nursing Loans: These two loans are serviced by ECSI. You will need to call them at 1-888.549.3274 to receive a PIN number and then proceed online to heartlandecsi.com. (Click on Borrower/Student Login at the top of the page.)