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Adult Undergrad

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Most students take out loans to fund a portion of their college expenses. Loans must be repaid, so be sure to plan your finances carefully and borrow only what you can afford to repay.

Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans

Federal loans for students who qualify through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


The maximum amount you can borrow depends on your status and the number of credits you have earned.

Credits Earned Dependent Students Independent Students
0-29 credits
(freshman level)
$5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be Subsidized $9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
30-59 credits
(sophomore level)
$6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be Subsidized $10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
60+ credits
(junior and senior level)
$7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be Subsidized $12,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
Maximum Total When You Graduate $31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in Subsidized Loans $57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in Subsidized Loans


You can be eligible for both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, depending on your financial need as determined after you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Subsidized Loans are for students who demonstrate need. The federal government pays the interest while you’re enrolled at least half time, pursuing a degree or certificate.
  • Unsubsidized Loans are not based on need. You are responsible for interest that accrues. You can choose to pay the interest while you’re in school, or have accrued interest added to your loan when you enter repayment.

Interest rate

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. Rates vary depending on when the loan is disbursed, and whether a loan is Subsidized or Unsubsidized.

Loans First Disbursed Subsidized Unsubsidized
July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 4.66% 4.66%
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 3.86% 3.86%
July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 3.4% 6.8%
July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 3.4% 6.8%

Loan fees

The fee for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is 1.072% after 12/1/2013. Beginning October 1, 2014, this fee will change to 1.073%.


Learn more about repayment.


Students are encouraged to apply by the following dates in order to ensure that loan funds arrive in time for the start of the semester. Loans can be processed throughout the term as long as the student continues to meet eligibility guidelines.

  • July 1 - full-year and fall semester loans
  • December 1 - spring semester loans
  • May 1 - summer semester loans

How to apply

After you apply for aid, you'll get a financial aid award letting you know if you qualify for a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan.

If you borrow this loan, you must finish these steps at least 1 month before you start classes.

  1. Complete entrance counseling and your master promissory note.

    If you’re a new Bethel borrower, you must complete loan entrance counseling and a master promissory note (MPN). Be sure to select "Complete Master Promissory Note" and "Complete Entrance Counseling."  Please note—completing the "Financial Awareness Counseling" does not satisfy the loan entrance counseling requirements.

    You'll need your Federal Student Aid PIN to log in to complete entrance counseling and to sign your MPN. Select Minnesota as the School State when completing your entrance counseling.

  2. Request your loan amount.

    A student borrows a loan for the academic period indicated on the award letter (e.g. the whole school year). Keep in mind that direct loans are disbursed equally over each eligible term even though your student charges are based on your enrollment per term and may not be equal.

    Request the amount you’d like to borrow online, through Blink [Student Services > Financial Aid Awards channel > Financial Aid Awards]

    1. Select the appropriate academic year from the drop down list.
    2. Click the Accept Award Offer tab. Decide how much of your Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan you want to borrow for the full year, and follow the instructions.
    3. Click Submit Decision.

Funds are disbursed directly to your Bethel student account and are processed for the entire academic year. Half of the funds (minus any loan fees) are posted at the beginning of fall term; the other half of your loan funds are posted at the beginning of spring term.

More information

If you are a first-time borrower after July 1, 2013, there is now a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. You may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of your program. For more information, please read the Federal Student Aid announcement published by the U.S. Department of Education.

Parent PLUS Loan

A federal loan for parents of dependent students who need to borrow more than their subsidized/unsubsidized loan amounts.


The maximum amount your parent may borrow is listed as “PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility” on your financial aid award.


  • The borrower must be the biological or adoptive parent (or, in some cases, the stepparent) of the student.
  • The student must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half time.
  • The borrower must pass a credit check for approval.
  • Both the parent borrower and student must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.

Interest rate

Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.21% for loans first disbursed after July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

Loan fees

The borrower pays the lender to help cover the cost of processing the loan. It’s calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

The fee for a Direct PLUS Loan is 4.288% after 12/1/2013. Beginning October 1, 2014, the PLUS fee will change to 4.292%.


Parents enter repayment 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed (approximately April 1 for a full-year loan) with a minimum payment of $50 per month. However, your parent may request to delay repayment until 6 months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half time.

To request a deferment, your parent will need to contact the servicer of the PLUS Loan. Servicer contact information is available at the National Student Loan Data Service website (by phone: 800.433.3243). Your parent will need his/her Federal Student Aid PIN to log in to the NSLDS website.

Learn more about repayment options.


Parents are encouraged to apply by the following dates in order to ensure that loan funds arrive in time for the start of the semester. Loans can be processed throughout the term as long as both the student and parent continue to meet eligibility guidelines.

  • July 1 - full year and fall semester loans
  • December 1 - spring semester loans
  • May 1 - summer semester loans

How to apply

If you're a dependent student who needs to borrow more than the maximum subsidized and unsubsidized loan amount, contact our office to determine your Parent PLUS Loan eligibility. 

If eligible, here's what you should do to complete the process.

  1. Have your parent log in to apply.

    Go to the Federal Student Aid website and have your parent sign in with his/her Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) PIN. Don’t have a PIN? You can apply for a PIN anytime.

  2. Choose application.

    Select Start PLUS Application Process.

  3. Choose loan type.

    Choose the Parent PLUS loan type.

  4. Complete application.

    This includes a credit check. You'll also need to specify a loan amount. If you select the maximum amount, we'll process your loan for your maximum eligibility.

  5. Receive loan approval and complete promissory note.

    Once you’ve completed the application, you’ll receive notice from the Department of Education if you’re approved or denied.

    • If approved, first-time borrowers will need to continue the process by selecting Complete Master Promissory Note.
    • If denied, your parent will be presented with several options (e.g., obtain an endorser, appeal the decision, request additional Unsubsidized Loan for student instead of the PLUS loan).

More information

If your parent wants to change the loan amount he/she requested in the application process, the parent who is the borrower of the PLUS loan should send an email to finaid@bethel.edu. Please include your name (student name), Bethel ID#, and the adjusted amount desired.

For questions about the PLUS Master Promissory Note or approval status, contact the Loan Origination Center at 800.557.7394.

Private Loans

Various lenders offer private loans for students who need to borrow more than their federal loan eligibility. You will be responsible for paying interest while you're in school.


Your private loan can't exceed the amount listed as "private" or "other loan eligibility" on your financial aid award letter.

Interest rate

Interest rates vary depending on lenders and your credit score. Some lenders require you to pay interest while you’re in school. Others give you the option to add the interest that accrues while you’re in school to your total loan amount when you enter repayment.

Loan fees

Fees vary depending on lenders and your credit score.


Repayment terms will vary by lender, although repayment typically begins 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. You won't be penalized for paying off your loan early.

How to apply

If you haven’t applied for financial aid through Bethel, contact a financial aid counselor before applying for a private loan.

It takes a minimum of 30 days from the date of application for a private loan to be processed and the loan funds to be disbursed by the lender.

  1. Determine your loan amount.

    The maximum amount you can borrow is listed either as "PLUS/Private Loan eligibility" or "Other Loan Eligibility" on your award letter.

  2. Go to FASTChoice to compare private loans offered by our preferred lenders and apply online.

    Select a lender and complete the lender's online application and promissory note. These lenders may have more than one loan program that you can choose from.

    If you choose not to borrow from a Bethel preferred lender, please give us the name of the lender, the lender's phone number, the amount you requested, and if the loan is for a particular term. Contact your lender directly for application instructions.

  3. Complete the loan process with your lender.

    All lenders will require a self-certification form, which they provide. Some will require proof of identity or income. All requested information must be given to your lender before your loan can be processed.

    It’s important that you’re actively involved in the loan process so your loan funds can be disbursed in a timely manner. Check your junk email to be sure you haven't missed any communication from your lender.

More information

To help you choose a private lender, we evaluate potential lenders each year. Here are our current preferred lenders and the criteria we take into account when recommending lenders.

All of our preferred lenders meet these expectations:

  • They’re committed to helping borrowers avoid going into default (e.g., proactively contacting borrowers who are late on payments, providing resources that help borrowers manage their money and avoid borrowing too much).
  • They’re committed to providing educational loans for the long term.
  • They clearly communicate the terms and conditions of their educational loans.
  • They provide a high level of customer service, including, but not limited to, online loan applications, access to loan status online, disbursement of funds through electronic funds transfer, and prompt response to any loan processing issues identified by our borrowers or our staff.

Students are free to select any lender for their educational loans. However, after a thorough review of available lenders, we encourage our students to consider our recommended lenders to ensure they receive the highest level of customer service, avoid delays, and have access to the best borrower benefits available.

Current Preferred Lenders

  • Bank of North Dakota: DEAL (Dakota Education Alternative Loan)
  • Charter One: TruFit Student Loans
  • Discover: Discover Student Loans
  • Minnesota Office of Higher Education:  SELF (Student Education Loan Fund)
  • Sallie Mae: Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan
  • Wells Fargo:
    • Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan (variable or fixed rate)
    • Wells Fargo MedCAP Alternative Loan for Health Professionals
    • Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

The Bethel University Office of Financial Aid adheres to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and Bethel's Code of Conduct Governing Educational Loan Activities.