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Student Loans are often necessary to pay for private education, but, like any personal debt, they should be minimized as much as possible. You spend four years studying and getting involved, but when graduation time comes around, it is time to get a job and start paying back the debt. It is our goal to help students be prepared for that day.

When all other methods of financing have been exhausted, student loans then become part of your financial planning as a family. One temptation to avoid is taking out loans for more than the cost of your tuition. Getting a loan for $5,000 when you only need $3,000 to pay off your tuition bill and then pocketing the difference is very tempting. But try to resist, if you can. Beyond loan counseling, you should see Student Enrollment and Financial Services as a resource for debt counseling as well. The choices you make during your undergraduate years will be with you for a while and we want to ensure you are positioned to succeed with fiscal responsibility and realism as a John Carroll graduate.

Current or former students can review their loan history on the Student Aid Dashboard.

More information regarding the total cost of attendance can be found here.

Federal Loans

The chart below will help you identify your eligibility and limits for Federal Student Loans. 


Based on federal regulations, eligibility for aid is determined as:

Student Type Dependent Undergraduate Independent Undergraduate
Academic year loan limit Freshman: $5,500
Sophomore: $6,500
Jr/Senior: $7,500
Freshman: $9,500
Sophomore: $10,500
Jr/Senior: $12,500
Lifetime loan limit (per program) $31,000 $57,500



Student Type Graduate/
Teacher Certification^ Post-Baccalaureate^
Academic year loan limit $20,500 $5,500/
Undergraduate work: $2,625/
Graduate work: $5,500/$12,500
Lifetime Loan Limit (per program) $138,500 $5,500/
$2,625/ $12,500

*Includes amounts borrowed at the undergraduate level

^Based on dependency status. Only eligible for one year (1) of aid, provided total aid eligibility at the undergraduate level has not been reached.

  • Stafford loan maximum eligibility for Teacher Certification is $12,500 for the year. Due to federal statute, eligibility is based on fifth-year undergraduate loan limits even though students are required to have a bachelor’s degree and the program is administered by the Graduate School.


Level Undergraduate Graduate/Professional Teacher Certification Post-Baccalaureate Preparatory Coursework Not Eligible for Aid(includes all Post Masters programs)
JCU Program All programs leading to:

All programs leading to:

Certificate Programs:

Ecclesial Ministry 

Substance Use Disorders Counseling

Theological Education

Early Childhood Generalist;
All Endorsements;
All Initial Teacher Licensures
Post-Bac in BSOB;
Post-Bac in CAS
All other Certificate programs;
All non-degree seeking, non-matriculated or transient students;
workshops and professional development/continuing education;
Teacher Leader endorsement: Principal Licensure;
Mental Health Counseling Licensure;
Post-Master's in School Psychology


In order to be eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan, a student must apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once the FAFSA has been completed, Student Enrollment and Financial Services will send a financial aid award to the student. If the award includes a Federal Stafford Loan, the student needs to accept or decline the loan through BannerWeb within 14 days from the date on their award letter or by May 1, whichever is later.

Direct Subsidized Loans

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.

The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan while you’re in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive. You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

Undergraduate Interest Rates and Origination Fees for both the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan

  • Loan Origination Fees for October 1, 2022 to October 1, 2024 1.057%

  • Interest Rates for Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans for 2024-2025 coming soon.

  • Interest Rates for Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans from October 1, 2023 to October 1, 2024 is 5.50%

    • Interest will not accrue on the Subsidized Stafford Loan until the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. Once the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment status, there is a six-month grace period before repayment begins.

Graduate Interest Rates and Origination Fees

  • Loan Origination Fees for October 1, 2022 to October 1, 2024 1.057%

  • Interest Rates for the Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford loans for 2024-2025 coming soon.

  • Interest Rates for the Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford loans from October 1, 2023 to October 1, 2024 is 7.05%

Effective July 1, 2013, all NEW borrowers will be subject to a maximum time period that they can receive SUBSIDIZED loans. Students will only be eligible to borrow subsidized loans for 150% of the published length of their program.

New borrowers are any student without an outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan) as of July 1, 2013. This can include new students entering college for the first time as well as non-traditional students returning to college who have paid off their previous student loans.

Loan Disbursement

For Direct Loan Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans to disburse students need to complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Additional information on the new time limitation is available here.

For more information about Stafford loans, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Parents of undergraduate students may borrow a Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) to help cover educational expenses their student may incur while attending college. To access the PLUS application please visit

  • For PLUS loans that disburse after October 1, 2023 the origination fee will be 4.228%
  • The interest rate for PLUS loans disbursed for 2024-2025 coming soon.
  • The interest rate for PLUS loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2023 to October 1, 2024 is fixed at 8.05%

The origination fee is deducted from the disbursed amount. Parents can borrow up to the Cost of Attendance less any other financial aid (the total of all grants, scholarships, and other loans) awarded to the student. Parents may continue to borrow each year but must reapply and complete a new credit check annually.

A Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be completed for the Parent PLUS loan to disburse. Information on completely the MPN can be found here.

Who is Eligible to Borrow a Parent PLUS Loan?

In order to borrow a PLUS loan, a parent must be:

  • A US citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizens.
  • Be the biological or adoptive parent of the students. Step-parents can be eligible to borrow a plus loan only if their income is reported on the FAFSA.
  • Not in default on a federal student loan.

Determining a Loan Amount

You will be given three options to indicate how much you would like to borrow when completing the PLUS application:

  1. I want to borrow the maximum PLUS loan amount for which I am eligible.
    • Choosing this option, JCU will process your PLUS loan for the maximum amount possible (Cost of attendance less other financial aid) for the academic year.
  2. I would like to specify an amount.
    • By selecting this option, you will enter in the dollar amount you would like to borrow. JCU will process your PLUS loan for this amount.
  3. I do not know the amount.
    • By selecting this option, JCU will hold your PLUS application until you contact us, in writing, to tell us the amount you wish to borrow.

If you decide at any point you need to increase your PLUS loan, you can contact JCU, in writing, to request an increase. As long as your credit check is still valid, a second PLUS application is not needed.

You can send all requests to

Aid Year and Loan Period

Term For Aid Year Loan Period

2024 Summer

2023-2024 August 2023-August 2024
2023-2024 Academic Year 2023-2024 August 2023-May 2024
2023 Fall 2023-2024 August 2023-December 2023
2024 Spring 2023-2024 January 2024-May 2024


Credit Balances

PLUS loan funds automatically pay any charges on your student’s account. If there are any funds remaining, the credit balance will be issued as a refund. The parent borrower decides who will receive the refund during the application process. You have two options:

Me – This option allows the parent borrower to receive the refund.

Student – This option allows the student to receive the refund.

In addition to this selection, JCU will also send each parent borrower a Title IV authorization form once the PLUS loan funds disburse. Please make sure to complete this form as soon as possible.

Denied Applications

If your credit check is denied, there are several options which can be pursued:

  1. Parents can choose I want to appeal the decision.” This allows a parent to appeal the credit decision with the Department of Education.
  2. Parents can choose “I want to obtain an Endorser (cosigner).” The Department of Education will provide you with information for reapplying with an Endorser (cosigner).
    1. Parents must complete the Plus Credit Counseling if they use the Endorser option. 
  3. Parents can choose “I do not wish to pursue a PLUS loan at this time.” If selecting this option, the Office of Financial Aid will automatically process an additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan in the student’s name based on their grade level:
    • Freshmen (0-29 credit hours) and Sophomores (30-59 credit hours) will receive an additional $4,000.
    • Juniors (60-89 credit hours) and Seniors (90-120 credit hours) will receive an additional $5,000.

Special Note
If the student does not want to borrow the additional unsubsidized loan or only wishes to accept a partial amount of the additional unsubsidized loan, please contact a Student Services Counselor at

Approved Plus Applications
If the credit check is approved, the parent completing the application must complete a Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN).


Parent PLUS loans go into repayment 60 days after the loan fully disburses; however, parents may also opt to defer payments for up to four years while their student is enrolled at least half-time. Please note that interest will accrue and capitalize if you choose to defer payments. Parents can choose to defer payments as part of the application process. If you choose to defer the repayment after the application process, please contact the loan servicer for more information.

For more information about the Parent PLUS loan, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

In addition to Unsubsidized Direct Loans that graduate students can become eligible for by filling out the FAFSA; graduate and professional degree students enrolled at least half-time, are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance.

Applicants for the Grad PLUS loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their maximum annual loan eligibility under the Federal Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.

A Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be completed for the Graduate PLUS loan to disburse. Information on completely the MPN can be found here.

Note: Even though it is called the Graduate PLUS Loan program, the loan is in the graduate student’s name (not their parents’ name). This loan is credit-based; therefore, borrowers must not have an adverse credit history in order to be approved for the Graduate PLUS loan.

  • For PLUS loans that disburse after October 1, 2023, the origination fee will be 4.228%
  • The interest rate for PLUS loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2023 to October 1, 2024 is fixed at 8.05%.


All Federal Direct Loan payments paused during COVID-19 resumed October 2023.  

Prepare for Student Loan Payments to Restart  For borrowers that had been paying prior to the COVID-19 payment pause and will be restarting their payments  

Repaying Student Loans for the First Time For borrowers that will be entering repayment for the first time since the COVID-19 payment pause began

Identifying Your Servicer Information to contact your servicer directly. 

Private Loans

Students have the option to borrow private loans directly from lenders (banks) to help finance the cost of their education. There are many options available so it is important to do some preliminary research and to know that all loans are not equal. Pay special attention to interest rates, fees, credit scoring, and co-signing requirements. But first, before you look at private loans, make sure that you have exhausted all possibilities for federal and state financial aid programs. Exploring your options now may save you time and money in the future.

JCU's Office of Student Enrollment and Financial Services has partnered with a third-party company to provide students with resources to assist in the private loan search. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding private loan terms or conditions, we suggest you contact the lender directly.

Fastchoice, powered by Great Lakes Higher Education, is an online lender list that provides basic information on private loans. We hope you find this website to be a great resource that allows you to compare interest rates, borrower benefits, fees, and repayment options, prior to applying for a loan and having your credit information pulled. All the lenders on this list work closely with the JCU Student Enrollment and Financial Services office and work to ensure timely processing of your loan and electronically transfer funds to your student account.

  • Fastchoice Lenders (in alphabetical order): Citizens Bank, College Ave, Earnest, FundingU, Nelnet, Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union, PNC, Sallie Mae, SoFi.
  • The following criteria were used to evaluate these lenders: quality of customer service (for both students and schools), student satisfaction, ease of application process, competitive interest rates, low fees, flexible repayment options, and borrower benefits.  For more information on why JCU chose these lenders, please contact SEFS at

Learn more about Fastchoice.

Please note students have the right to borrow through any lender and are not limited to only those lenders included on our list. We only offer these lists to help simplify the search process for students and their families. We do ask that you notify Student Enrollment and Financial Services if you choose not to utilize a lender from these lists so that we are made aware of your loan application. 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) mandated a number of changes to provide a significant amount of additional information to families who choose to utilize private educational loans. Title X of the HEOA changes the disclosure requirements for the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for private education loans made expressly for post-secondary education expenses. These requirements could delay the receipt of Alternative Loan approvals and disbursements. Please plan accordingly.

Access the Mandatory Borrower Disclosure Information and Self Certification Form.