Student loan money is only to be used for educational expenses. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, equipment, dependent child care expenses, transportation and commuting expenses, rental or purchase of a personal computer, loan fees and other documented, authorized costs.

If you’ve determined that borrowing money is necessary to help pay for your education, the first step to applying for a federal student loan is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you submit your FAFSA, your school will determine the types and amounts of loans you are eligible to receive.

If this is your first federal student loan, you will be required to complete a Master Promissory Note, and Entrance Counseling before you can receive the loan money.

The Master Promissory Note is a legal document that explains the repayment terms and conditions for your federal student loan(s). To complete a MPN Online, you will need to know your FSA ID, account username and password that you used to complete your FAFSA. You should keep a copy of your MPN until your loan is paid back in full.

Entrance counseling can be completed either in person, through presentations (individually or in a group) or online to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower. Check with your school’s financial aid office to determine the specific entrance counseling process you need to complete.

How do I get my money?

In most cases, your school will disburse your loan money by crediting it to your school account to pay tuition and fees, room and board and other authorized charges. If the loan amount exceeds school charges, the remaining balance of the disbursement will be paid to you directly by check or other means. You should be notified (in writing) each time your school disburses a portion of your loan.

Remember, you should only borrow what you need, and there are annual and lifetime loan limits. Repaying your student loans is a responsibility that will not go away until loans are paid in full. Learn more about repayment options.