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There are various low-interest federal student loan programs available to Northwestern graduate students. If your total financial need cannot be met by grants, other campus-based aid or outside sources, you may apply for the federal student loan programs by first, submitting the FAFSA and completing the application process. University of Northwestern – St. Paul participates in direct lending through the U.S. Department of Education.

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan

This is a non need-based loan for which all students qualify. In this program, interest begins to accrue while the student is in school and continues to accrue until the loan has been repaid in-full. The interest may be capitalized to the principle amount borrowed or a student may choose to make payments on the interest while in school. Repayment begins 6 months after a student graduates, withdraws from school, or drops below half-time enrollment.

Please read About Federal Direct Student Loans for important details concerning Federal Direct loans, annual and aggregate limits, loan fees, and interest rates.

To Apply for Direct Stafford Loans

  1. Once you receive your Financial Aid Award Letter, log on to theROCK and accept your Federal Stafford Loan(s).
  2. For first-time Stafford Loan borrowers only, you must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Exit Counseling

Upon graduation, withdrawal from school, or dropping below half-time enrollment, students who have borrowed Federal Direct Stafford Loans will be required to complete Stafford Loan Exit Counseling at

Federal Graduate Loan for Students (Grad PLUS)

This is a government-insured loan made by the U.S. Department of Education to students pursuing a graduate/master's degree. The Grad PLUS loan is non need-based, and is intended to assist graduate students with meeting their educational related expenses not covered by other financial aid grants, loans, or scholarships. Approval is based on credit worthiness, and students may borrow up to the cost of education less other financial aid. Interest is paid by the student and there is no grace period. View the Grad PLUS Loan FAQ's for more detailed information.

Repayment starts within 60-days of disbursement of the funds. Students who wish to defer repayment until after they graduate should go to

To apply for a Grad PLUS Loan

  1. log in to with your PIN number.
  2. Select “Request Direct PLUS Loan” and select loan type "Graduate PLUS".
  3. Complete the 4 step process.Your completed PLUS Loan application will be submitted electronically to our GCE Financial Aid Office.
  4. If this is your first Grad PLUS loan, you will be required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) 

Lender-sponsored private loans

Students who have not applied for financial aid should contact a counselor in the Financial Aid office prior to applying for a private loan.

Quick facts on private loans

  • Students do not need to complete a FAFSA to borrow a private loan.
  • Private loans typically have higher interest rates than Stafford or PLUS loans.
  • A co-signer may be required.
  • Interest rates are based on credit and are variable.
  • Repayment terms will vary by lender.

Contact Financial Aid

Fax: 651-628-3369

Office hours

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Did you know?

Your Financial Aid counselor can assist you as you sort through the ins and outs of different types of loans and will help you determine which, if any, are right for your situation.