Most students take out loans to help fund a portion of their seminary expenses. Loans must be repaid, so be sure to plan your finances carefully and borrow only what you can afford.
Direct PLUS Loan
A federal loan available for students who qualify and need to borrow more than their unsubsidized loan amount.
The maximum amount you may request through a Graduate PLUS loan is listed as "PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility" on your financial aid award letter. If you accept this amount online via Blink it indicates to the Financial Aid Office that Seminary and Graduate student plan to pursue a Private or Graduate PLUS Loan.
Graduate or professional students enrolled at least half time who need to borrow more than the maximum Unsubsidized Loan amounts. You must pass a credit check for approval, unless you get the loan endorsed by someone who does not have an adverse credit history.
Fixed interest rate of 6.84% for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed after July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. For loans disbursed after June 30, 2016 but before July 1, 2017 the interest rate is fixed at 6.31%.
The fee for a Direct PLUS Loan is currently 4.272%.
Payment of principal and interest begins 60 days after your loan is fully disbursed. Learn more about repayment.
How to apply
If you've applied for financial aid and want to borrow a Graduate PLUS loan, here's what you should do to complete the process:
Find out if you're eligible.
Contact the financial aid office to see if you're eligible to borrow a PLUS loan.
If eligible, log in to apply.
Select Request A Direct PLUS Loan.
Choose loan type.
Choose the Graduate PLUS loan type.
This includes a credit check. You'll need to specify a loan amount. If you select the maximum amount, we'll process your loan for your maximum eligibility.
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 only will need to continue the process by selecting Complete Master Promissory Note. Repeat borrowers are done.
- If denied, you have the option to pursue approval through an appeal of the credit decision or by obtaining an endorser. You will also need to complete PLUS Loan credit counseling before funds can be disbursed.
Complete entrance counseling.
Bethel will let you know if you need to complete this step of the process.
If you want to change the loan amount you requested in the application process, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, Bethel ID#, and the adjusted amount you want to borrow.
For questions about the Direct PLUS Master Promissory Note or approval status, contact the Loan Origination Center at 800.557.7394.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
A federal loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education to students who qualify through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Annual loan limit is $20,500 for graduate students.
- Cumulative loan limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans upon graduation is $138,500. The cumulative limit also includes Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans received for undergraduate study.
You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan.
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 the accrued interest added to your loan when you enter repayment.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. This interest rate for graduate students is 5.84% for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. For loans first disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 the interest rate is 5.31%.
The fee for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is currently 1.068%.
How to apply
After you apply for aid, you'll get a financial aid award letting you know if you're eligible for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
If you plan to borrow this loan, make sure to process your loan at least 1 month before you start classes.
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 - if you complete the "Financial Awareness Counseling," this does not satisfy the loan entrance counseling requirements.
You'll need your FSA ID to log in to complete entrance counseling and sign your MPN. Select Minnesota as the School State when completing your entrance counseling, regardless of your geographic location.
Request your loan amount.
It’s typical for students to borrow a loan for the whole school year. Keep in mind that your 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].
- Select the appropriate academic year from the drop down list.
- Click the Accept Award Offer tab, decide how much of your Direct Unsubsidized Loan you want to borrow for the full year, and follow the instructions.
- Click Submit Decision.
To maintain Direct Loan eligibility, you must be enrolled at least half time (3 credits per term for master's degree students, 6 credits per term for licensure-only students).
Various lenders offer non-federal private loans for students who need to borrow more than their unsubsidized loan amounts. Students pursuing private loans will need to apply separately with the lender of their choice. Loans are based on credit and a student will generally need a credit-worthy co-signer. Terms and conditions will vary by lender and student borrowers are responsible for the interest that accrues while in school.
The maximum amount you may request through a Private Loan is listed as "PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility" on your financial aid award letter. If you accept this amount online via Blink it indicates to the Financial Aid Office that you plan to pursue a Private or Graduate PLUS Loan. You must select a lender and apply directly with them to secure a Private Loan.
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.
Fees vary depending on the loan program and the lender you select.
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.
Determine your loan amount.
The maximum amount you can borrow is listed as "PLUS/Private Loan eligibility" on your Financial Aid award letter. If none is listed, contact the Financial Aid Office.
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.
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. After you have completed the application process with the lender, they will contact Bethel to request the school certification for your loan. After Bethel transmits this information back to the lender they will contact you once more to confirm your acceptance of the loan and/or sign any remaining forms.
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.
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)
- Citizens Bank: Citizens One Student Loan
- 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.