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.
Take a look at the common types of education loans available.
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|
|$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|
|$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|
(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). Visit studentaid.ed.gov for more information.
- Subsidized Loans are for students who demonstrate need. The federal government generally pays the interest while you’re enrolled at least half time, pursuing a degree or certificate. First-time borrowers taking out federal Direct Subsidized loans on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit, which limits the amount of time a student is eligible to borrow subsidized loans to 150% of their published program length. Please see the 150% Loan Limitation Fact Sheet for more details.
- 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.
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, 2016 to June 30, 2017||3.76||3.76|
The fee for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is 1.069% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2016 but before October 1, 2017.
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.
Complete entrance counseling and your master promissory note.
If you’re a new Bethel borrower, you must complete both loan entrance counseling and a master promissory note (MPN). Be sure to select "Complete Loan Agreement” to complete the MPN and “Complete Loan Counseling” to access the counseling session. These are two distinct separate steps on the website. Select Minnesota as the School State when completing these requirements. You will need reference information for two people with different U.S. addresses.
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]
- Select the appropriate academic year from the drop down list.
- 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.
- 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.
Parent PLUS Loan
A federal loan which a parent can borrow through the Department of Education for their dependent student. Since this loan is in the parent's name, the parent must complete the application process which involves a credit check.
AmountThe maximum amount your parent may borrow through a Parent PLUS Loan or that the student may pursue through a Private Loan is listed as "PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility" on your financial aid award in Blink [Student Services tab>Financial Aid Awards channel>select the appropriate academic year from the dropdown list]. If you accept this amount online via Blink it indicates to the financial aid office that either your parent will pursue a PLUS loan or that the student will pursue a Private Loan. Separate steps to apply are required by the lenders. Vist the Federal Student Aid website for more information on the Parent PLUS loan.
- 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 rateDirect PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.31% for loans first disbursed between June 30, 2016 and July 1, 2017.
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 4.276% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2016 but before October 1, 2017.
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 Federal 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 FSA ID and password to log in to the NSLDS website.
Learn more about repayment and Loan Servicers.
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
*Please note that loan applications will be available after April 1st.
How to apply
The parent of a dependent student may apply for a PLUS loan if the student needs to borrow more than the maximum subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts. If the student wants to be the borrower instead, he/she must review Private Loan options (below).
If eligible, here's what your parent should do to complete the process.
Have your parent log in to apply.
Go to the Federal Student Loans website and have your parent sign in with his/her Federal Student Aid authentication information (FSA ID). If your parent does not have a FSA ID and password, he/she can link to the Federal Student Aid to obtain one.
Select Request a Direct PLUS Loan.
Choose loan type.
Choose the Parent PLUS loan type.
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. Please note that loan applications will be available after April 1st
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 parent borrowers will need to continue the process by selecting Complete Master Promissory Note for the Parent PLUS.
- 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).
- If your parent is initially denied the loan he/she may choose to pursue approval through an appeal of the credit decision or by obtaining an endorser.
- If the parent borrower chooses one of these options he/she will need to complete PLUS Loan Credit Counseling before funds can be disbursed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
If you accept the PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility that is included in your financial aid award it indicates to the Financial Aid Office that either your parent will be applying for a PLUS loan or the student will be applying for a Private Loan. We will be waiting for a request to certify a PLUS loan from the Department of Education or a Private loan from whatever lender you apply through. If you later decide that neither one of these options is necessary, please e-mail email@example.com and we can update your status to decline these loan options for you.
Private Loans for Parents
Various lenders offer non-federal private loans to parents, family members or other individuals who may wish to borrow to assist a student with their educational financing. These loans are an alternative to the Federal PLUS loans or Private Loans which a student may borrow in his/her own name.
AmountThe maximum amount that can be pursued is listed as “PLUS/Private Loan Eligibility” on the student’s financial aid award letter in Blink [Student Services tab>Financial Aid Awards channel>select the appropriate academic year from the dropdown list]. All amounts received through these non-federal loans must be reported to the Financial Aid Office. Separate steps to apply are required by the lenders.
Interest rates vary depending on lenders and the credit score of the applicant. Interest will accrue on these loans from the time of disbursement. Payments may be required while the student is enrolled in school depending on the specific requirements of the loan program you select.
Loan feesFees vary depending on the loan program and the lender you select.
RepaymentPayments may be required while the student is enrolled in school depending on the specific requirements of the loan program you select.
How to apply
If you haven’t applied for financial aid through Bethel, contact a financial aid counselor before applying for a private loan. The maximum amount that can be pursued is listed as “PLUS/Private Loan eligibility” on the student’s Financial Aid award letter. If none is listed, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Review, compare and apply for Private Loans for Parents by going to FASTChoice. Remember these are loans that are “Not” in the student’s name. Please see “Private Loans for Students” if you want to review private loan options which are available to student borrowers.
Loan applications will not be available until after April 1st.
Private Loans for Students
Various lenders offer non-federal private loans for students who need to borrow more than their subsidized/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 in Blink [Student Services tab>Financial Aid Awards channel>select the appropriate academic year from the dropdown list]. If you accept this amount online via Blink it indicates to the Financial Aid Office that Seminary and Graduate students plan to pursue a Private or Graduate PLUS Loan. If you are a dependent undergraduate student, it indicates that either you plan to pursue a Private Loan, or your parent plans to pursue a Parent 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. Please note loan applications will be available after April 1st.
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
- iHELP: Student Loans from Community Banks
- Minnesota Office of Higher Education: SELF (Student Education Loan Fund)
- Sallie Mae: Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan
- Thrivent Federal Credit Union: Student Loans and Tuition Line of Credit
- 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.