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Student Loans

SMCC participates in the Direct Loan Program. Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students which help pay the costs of education.

The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution. Click Direct Student Loans to view borrower limits and requirements.

Students wishing to apply must have completed the FAFSA and be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours).

Step 1: Log on to my.maricopa.edu and Accept the Loan(s)

Log on to my.maricopa.edu, click the “View Financial Aid” link, select the latest year listed, then follow the steps to “Accept” on the award page.

Step 2: Complete Online Loan Entrance Counseling

The federal government requires all new borrowers to complete Loan Entrance Counseling prior to disbursement, to review borrowers’ rights and responsibilities.

You can complete online Loan Entrance Counseling here. The results will be forwarded electronically to SMCC.

Step 3: Complete Online Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Once your loan has been processed by the Financial Aid office, you must complete your portion of the Master Promissory Note online.

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is the legal promise between you and the U.S. Department of Education. Every year you borrow, you will sign an MPN. Additional loans during the same year will be based on the same note.

Step 4: Loan Exit Counseling

You will be prompted to complete Exit Loan Counseling generally once per academic year, even though you may not be leaving or ‘exiting’ SMCC. This is part of our debt management policy.

History

To see your student loan history, visit http://www.nslds.ed.gov/

Enrollment

You must maintain at least half-time enrollment at SMCC to receive the loan funds. Once you have received your loan funds, you must maintain at least half-time enrollment to avoid going into repayment. You must also maintain satisfactory academic progress toward your certificate or degree.

Disbursement

All loans are disbursed to the school in two equal disbursements. If you choose a Fall/Spring loan, you will get one disbursement at the beginning of each semester. If you choose a one semester only loan, you will receive the first disbursement at the beginning of the semester and the second disbursement after the mid-point of the semester. If you are a freshman or first-time borrower, there will be a 30-day delay on your first disbursement only.

Repayment Options

You may repay your loan at any time without penalty. Repayment generally begins 6 months after you graduate, or if you drop below 6 credits. There are several different repayment options for students. In addition to the materials you will receive during your loan entrance counseling, the following website is an excellent guide for loan repayment options: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.

Remember that the #1 default prevention measure is GRADUATION; however, if for some reason you must drop out of school or drop below half time, your lender will be willing to work with you regarding repayment options. Let us know how we can help you to be successful and responsible loan borrower.

Federal Stafford Loan Borrower Rights and Responsibilities

Your Stafford loan promissory note details your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

It’s your right to know…

  • your principal loan balance.
  • when your first payment is due.
  • the amount of the payments, including number and frequency.
  • your discharge, loan forgiveness, deferment and forbearance options.
  • your consolidation options.

You also have the right to…

  • a 6-month grace period on your Direct Stafford Loans when you have ceased to be enrolled at least half time. Your first payment is due within 60 days after your grace period ends.
  • receive appropriate deferments or forbearance if you qualify for and request them.
  • apply for an in-school deferment on your Direct Stafford Loan while enrolled at least half-time.
  • change your repayment plan at any time.
  • prepay all or any part of the amount owed without a penalty.
  • decline all or part of your loan money before it is disbursed by notifying your school (as explained on the MPN).
  • receive a copy of your MPN either before or at the time your loan is disbursed.
  • receive documentation that your loans are paid in full.

Now is the time to be aware of your responsibilities as a borrower. Remember, you have a responsibility to attend exit counseling before you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. While you are in school, you are also responsible for maintaining contact with the Financial Aid office.

You are responsible for contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center and SMCC if you…

  • withdraw, graduate or fail to enroll in school.
  • register for or drop to less than half-time status.
  • transfer to another school.
  • change your name, address, phone number or Social Security Number.
  • change your expected date of graduation.

You also have the responsibility to…

Additional Alternative Loans

If a family must seek additional long-term financing for their educational costs and are deemed creditworthy, they may apply online through their own preferred lender or may contact one of these three sources: