Financial Aid



Financial Aid

» Loans


Elmhurst awards student loans from funds provided through federal programs. To ensure that students consider all resources, the College offers loans only after determining a student's eligibility for grants and scholarships.

Unlike grants and scholarships, student loans must be repaid. Most require repayment to begin six to nine months after a student leaves college or drops below half-time enrollment.

To Apply for a Loan
Federal Direct Loans
Perkins Loans
PLUS Loans

Alternative Loans
Student Responsibilities for Loans
Student Loan Repayment

To Apply for a Federal Loan

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Direct Loans
Direct Stafford Loans  are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

There are two types of Direct Loans— subsidized and unsubsidized.

  • Subsidized loans are based on need. Interest and principal payments are deferred until six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. 
  • Unsubsidized loans are not based on need. Principal payments are deferred until six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment, but interest accrues while the borrower is in college and during the grace period. Students will receive interest only billing statements while enrolled and these interest payments may be made at that time, or the interest will capitalize and be added to the principle amount of the loan.  
  • The interest rate for undergraduate subsidized and unsubsidized loans disbursed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 is 4.45% fixed. Interest rates on loans borrowed in following academic years may vary. Learn more about direct loan interest rates.
  • Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) eligibility is based on the number of credits the student has earned in college: Freshmen (less than 8.00 credits) $3,500;  Sophomores (8.00–15.99 credits) $4,500; Junior/Senior (16.00 credits and over) $5,500. These are the limits for each academic year. For loans disbursed after July 1, 2008, an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized loans is available to most dependent undergraduate students.
  • Additional unsubsidized loans are available for independent undergraduate students in the amounts of: $4,000 for freshmen or sophomores, $5,000 for juniors or seniors.
  • Students must be enrolled at least half time to receive Federal Direct Loans. At Elmhurst College, that means a student must be enrolled for at least 1.5 courses (6 credit hours).
  • The Direct Loan borrower must complete a Master Promissory Note at Direct Loan Master Promissory Notes are valid for ten years.
  • New student borrowers must also complete Entrance Counseling at The loan will not credit to the student's account until both a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling are completed.
  • If the student needs additional loans, the parents of a dependent student can borrow a PLUS loan or the student can borrow an alternative educational loan through a bank. Please see "Alternative Loans" below.
  • The U. S. Department of Education charges a 1.069% origination fee on all undergraduate Direct Loans disbursed after 10/1/16 The actual amount of a subsidized or unsubsidized loan credited to a student's account is reduced by the amount of the origination fee.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
Information about a student's Direct Loans will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system. Students may also view their loan history by accessing


Perkins Loans
Elmhurst awards Federal Perkins Loans from available government funds. 

Perkins Loans carry a 5 percent fixed interest rate.

Perkins loans require a separate Master Promissory Note which is completed only after the loan is originated. The student will receive an email from University Accounting Service. Only after that email is received can the Perkins Master Promissory Note be completed on

At the time that the student graduates or drops to less than half time, the student must complete Perkins exit counseling. This will explain the terms of repayment of the Perkins loan, and can be completed online at

Normally, repayment does not begin until nine months after graduation or when a student drops below half-time enrollment. Repayment of Perkins loans disbursed by Elmhurst College is made to University Accounting Service.


Direct PLUS Loans

  • Parents of dependent students may borrow up to the cost of education minus any aid the student is eligible to receive.
  • To be considered, the parent must complete a PLUS Loan Application online at  The parent should be sure to enter their own information, and not the student's information.
  • A credit check will be run on the PLUS applicant.  If the credit check is not approved and the parent does not appeal the credit decision or get an endorser, the student will be offered an additional $4,000 unsubsidized loan. ($5,000 for a student who is junior or senior level)
  • Effective March 29, 2015, if the parent wants to appeal the credit decision or get an endorser, the parent must complete Direct PLUS Counseling on
  • The parent PLUS borrower must complete a Master Promissory Note at
  • Standard repayment of PLUS loans begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.
  • Deferred repayment of PLUS loans begins six months after the dependent student on whose behalf the parent borrowed graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. PLUS loan borrowers interested in repayment deferment can request the deferment when completing the PLUS loan application online. PLUS loan deferment can also be requested by calling the loan servicer. Loan servicer information is mailed to the borrower after the loan is originated. More information about loan repayment can be found here.
  • The interest rate on Parent PLUS Loans disbursed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 is 7.00 percent (fixed rate). The interest rate on PLUS loans borrowed in subsequent years may vary. Please click here for more information on interest rates.
  • The U. S. Department of Education charges an origination fee of 4.276 % for all PLUS loans originated after 10/1/16  The actual amount of the PLUS loan credited to the student's account is reduced by the origination fee amount.
  • Information about a parent's Direct PLUS Loans will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.
  • For more information about Direct PLUS loans go to


Alternative Loans 
Alternative, or private, loans are offered by private lenders to assist with educational and living expenses not covered by other financial aid. It is important that you carefully review your expenses before deciding if you need to borrow. Be sure to consider first that you may qualify for loans or other assistance under federal programs.  Alternative loans are generally more expensive than the federal student loans and therefore should not be considered until after you have exhausted all federal loan options. Most of these alternative loans must be certified by the Office of Student Financial Services. All of these loans must be considered part of your financial aid package.  Alternative loans are credit based, often require co-signers, and cannot be consolidated with your federal student loans. The terms and conditions of federal loans may be more favorable that the provisions of alternative loans.

Elmhurst College has open relationships with many lenders and service agencies across the country. Because we want to emphasize how important it is for you to choose your own lender, we do not state any preference of any lender over another and hence do not have a "preferred lender list." Research and shopping around for the best loan is a good idea.  Taking advantage of established relationships with lending institutions and the internet are two good places to start. 

The following form can be used to provide additional information about alternative loans:
Self-certification form for private education loans

Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services at (630) 617-3081 for more information about alternative loans.

Remember: the choice is yours to borrow wisely! We will honor your request for whatever reason you choose to make it. Keep in mind that these are loans—they must be repaid.


Student Responsibilities for Loans

Students are notified by award notice or Bluenet notification of the amounts they are eligible to borrow. If interested in borrowing, a student must indicate acceptance on the paper award notice or BlueNet. Paper award notices must be signed and returned to the Office of Student Financial Services.

The student may borrow a lesser amount by crossing out the amount(s) listed and writing in the amount that the student wants to borrow per term, and return the award letter to the Office of Student Financial Services. For students with BlueNet notification, decreases in loan amounts may be made using the Financial Aid Acceptance form.

Any time the student makes a change (in enrollment dates, credit hours, residency status, etc.) that causes the tuition, room, or board to change, a loan may be refigured and reprocessed.

Entrance Counseling
New student borrowers must complete Entrance Counseling at The loan will not credit to the student's account until both a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling are completed.
Entrance Counseling will explain:

  • The effect of the loan on the eligibility of the borrower for other forms of aid
  • The seriousness and importance of the student's repayment obligation
  • The use of the the Master Promissory Note
  • Information on the accrual and capitalization of interest
  • Borrowers of unsubsidized loans have the options of paying interest while in school
  • Definition of half time enrollment and the consequences of not maintaining half time enrollment
  • Sample monthly payment amounts
  • The obligation of the borrower to repay the full amount of the loan regardless of whether the borrower completed the program
  • Consequences of default
  • Information about NSLDS
  • Contact information for the borrowers questions about the loan

Exit Counseling
When the student graduates or drops below half time enrollment, the student must complete exit counseling to review the provisions of the student's loans. This may be done online at Exit counseling will provide information on:

  • Repayment plan options
  • Average anticipated monthly repayment amount
  • The seriousness and importance of student's repayment obligation
  • Consequences of default
  • Debt management strategies
  • Options and consequences of loan consolidation
  • Tax benefits available to borrowers
  • Other information regarding loan repayment


Student Loan Repayment
Direct Loan repayment begins six months after graduation or six months after the student's enrollment falls below half time.

There are several repayment plans to choose from.  Students should choose the repayment plan best suited to their financial situation. Repayment is made to one of the direct loan servicers. Borrowers are mailed repayment information from their servicer during their six month grace period.

You may wish to download 12 Steps to Manage Loan Debt.

Standard Repayment

With the standard plan, you'll pay a fixed amount each month until your loans are paid in full. Your monthly payments will be at least $50, and you'll have up to 10 years to repay your loans. Your monthly payment under the standard plan may be higher than it would be under the other plans because your loans will be repaid in the shortest time. For that reason, having a 10-year limit on repayment, you may pay the least interest.


To calculate your estimated loan payments, go to the Standard Repayment plan calculator.

Extended Repayment
Under the extended plan, you’ll pay a fixed annual or graduated repayment amount over a period not to exceed 25 years. If you're an FFEL borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans. If you're a Direct Loan borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans. This means, for example, that if you have $35,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans and $10,000 in outstanding Direct Loans, you can choose the extended repayment plan for your FFEL Program loans, but not for your Direct Loans. Your fixed monthly payment is lower than it would be under the Standard Plan, but you'll ultimately pay more for your loan because of the interest that accumulates during the longer repayment period.

This is a good plan if you will need to make smaller monthly payments. Because the repayment period will be 25 years, your monthly payments will be less than with the standard plan. However, you may pay more in interest because you're taking longer to repay the loans. Remember that the longer your loans are in repayment, the more interest you will pay.

To calculate your estimated loan payments, go to the Extended Repayment plan calculator.

Graduated Repayment
With this plan, your payments start out low and increase every two years. The length of your repayment period will be up to ten years. If you expect your income to increase steadily over time, this plan may be right for you. Your monthly payment will never be less than the amount of interest that accrues between payments. Although your monthly payment will gradually increase, no single payment under this plan will be more than three times greater than any other payment.

To calculate your estimated loan payments, go to the Graduated Repayment plan calculator .

Income Based Repayment (IBR)
Income Based Repayment are  new repayment plans for the major types of federal loans made to students. Under IBR, the required monthly payment is capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on income and family size. You are eligible for IBR if the monthly repayment amount under IBR will be less than the monthly amount calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. If you repay under the IBR plan for 25 years and meet other requirements you may have any remaining balance of your loan(s) canceled. Additionally, if you work in public service and have reduced loan payments through IBR, the remaining balance after ten years in a public service job could be canceled. Learn more about IBR. Or, download an IBR Fact Sheet in PDF format.

Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) (Direct Loans Only)
This plan gives you the flexibility to meet your Direct LoansSM obligations without causing undue financial hardship. Each year, your monthly payments will be calculated on the basis of your adjusted gross income (AGI, plus your spouse's income if you're married), family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans. Under the ICR plan you will pay each month the lesser of:

  • The amount you would pay if you repaid your loan in 12 years multiplied by an income percentage factor that varies with your annual income, or
  • 20 percent of your monthly discretionary income.

If your payments are not large enough to cover the interest that has accumulated on your loans, the unpaid amount will be capitalized once each year. However, capitalization will not exceed 10 percent of the original amount you owed when you entered repayment. Interest will continue to accumulate but will no longer be capitalized (added to the loan principal). The maximum repayment period is 25 years. If you haven't fully repaid your loans after 25 years (time spent in deferment or forbearance does not count) under this plan, the unpaid portion will be discharged. You may, however, have to pay taxes on the amount that is discharged. As of July 1, 2009, graduate and professional student Direct PLUS Loan borrowers are eligible to use the ICR plan. Parent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers are not eligible for the ICR repayment plan.

To calculate your estimated loan payments, go to the ICR plan calculator.


Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan
The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan helps keep your monthly student loan payments affordable, and usually has the lowest monthly payment amount of the repayment plans that are based on your income. If you need to make lower monthly payments, this plan may be for you.

To qualify for Pay As You Earn, you must have a partial financial hardship. You have a partial financial hardship if the monthly amount you would be required to pay on your eligible federal student loans under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan is higher than the monthly amount you would be required to repay under Pay As You Earn. For this purpose, your eligible student loans include all of your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans that are eligible for Pay As You Earn, as well as certain types of Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans. Although your FFEL Program loans cannot be repaid under Pay As You Earn, the following types of FFEL Program loans are counted in determining whether you have a partial financial hardship:

  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
  • Federal Consolidation Loans that did not repay any PLUS loans for parents 

You also must be a new borrower as of Oct. 1, 2007, and must have received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011. You are a new borrower if you had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan as of Oct. 1, 2007, or had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan when you received a new loan on or after Oct. 1, 2007.   

Your payment amount may increase or decrease each year based on your income and family size. Once you’ve initially qualified for Pay As You Earn, you may continue to make payments under the plan even if you no longer have a partial financial hardship.

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