FAQs on Loans

Q - What is a Stafford Loan?

A loan backed by the federal government awarded to a student.

Q - Do I have to pay back the Stafford Loan?

Yes. Your payments will start 6 months after you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours per semester.

Q - What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?

A subsidized loan does not start accruing interest until you graduate or drop below 6 hours during the semester. An unsubsidized loan starts accruing interest immediately, but you will only have to make payment on the interest every 3 months. After you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours you will begin full repayment on the principal and interest.

Q - What is an "entrance interview"?

First-time borrowers will be required to complete the entrance interview online at:
https://www.studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.

Q - Do I have to go through the entrance interview each time I get a loan?

No. Entrance interviews are for first-time borrowers at Tennessee Tech University only. If you previously completed one for another institution, you will need to complete a new one for Tennessee Tech University.

Q - What if I reject my loan on my award letter but later decide I need the loan?

Just come into the Financial Aid Office or email your request to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Q - What is the interest rate on student loans?

Interest rates are no longer variable but fixed. The interest rate for Stafford Loans:  for Undergraduate Students it is 3.86% and for Graduate Students it is 5.41%.   The interest rate for Perkins loans is 5%. The Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS Loans have an interest rate of 6.41%.

Q - When will I go into repayment of my student loan?

Stafford Loans go into repayment 6 months after you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours. If you decide to go on co-op, you will begin using your grace period and will go into repayment in 6 months. Perkins Loans will go into repayment 9 months after you graduate or drop below 6 credit hours.

Q - What is a promissory note?

A legally binding document between you and the Department of Education. By signing the Promissory Note you are taking full responsibility for your loans. You must pay them back - Access the Master Promissory Note by clicking here.

Q - Will I receive a promissory note each time I get a student loan?

Not for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan. You should only sign one, the first time you begin borrowing Direct Loans. The Perkins Loans require a new promissory note each time you receive one.

Q - How many hours do I have to be registered for to receive a student loan?

At least 6 credit hours for undergraduates and 5 credit hours minimum for graduate students.

Q - Can anyone get a student loan?

Yes, if you apply for it (FAFSA) and are not in default of a previous student loan. What type of loan you are offered will depend on your financial need. Graduate students are NOT eligible for subsidized stafford loans.

Q - How do I apply for a student loan?

The first step is filing a FAFSA. Please see the section entitled Financial Aid 1010

Q - Does a Perkins Loan (NDSL) have to be repaid?

It depends on where you obtain employment after graduation. If you teach in a low income, rural area school you may not have to pay the loan back. Likewise, you may not be required to pay back the loan if you are a nurse or a person in certain areas of law enforcement (see **Bursar's Office (get from bursar) ). If this does not apply to you then you will begin repaying your Perkins Loan 9 months after you graduate or fall below 6 credit hours.

Q - What if I go into default on my student loan(s)?

You will be ineligible for further financial aid, the federal government will keep any tax refunds, and your wages can be garnished. It will be hard to obtain other loans such as mortgages, auto loans, etc. Don't default!

Q - How do I defer my student loan(s)?

You will need to provide enrollment verification to your Loan Servicer. You can obtain a certificate of enrollment via Eagle online.  You will be contacted by your Loan Servicer via mail after accepting the loan.

Q - I will graduate soon and I have had student loans, do I have to do anything special?

Yes. You need to do an "exit interview."

Q - What is an "exit interview" ?

This is a short session that explains to you that your loan is about to go into payment and what you need to do about it. You can complete the exit interview online at http://www.studentloans.gov

Q - What happens if I have a student loan and then drop below 6 credit hours in a semester?

The Financial Aid Director will determine if any money is owed back to the school and you will be notified of the amount you must repay, if any. Next, you must complete exit counseling.

Q - Do I need a co-signer?

No.

Q- How do I find out the status of my Parent PLUS or alternative student loan?

To check the status of alternative loans you can contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . To check the status of PLUS loans, check your Eagle Online account.


If you have any questions concerning alternative, stafford or PLUS loans please contact Kristyn Long at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Important Links for Loan Questions

Entrance Counseling
Direct Loan Entrance Counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of receiving a Direct Loan.

Exit Counseling
Direct Loan Entrance Counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of receiving a Direct Loan.

Loan Locator - track student loans

Direct Loan Consolidation Web Site