While every student would love to have a financial aid award package full of scholarships and grants, the reality is that most students will have at least some loans. To make informed decisions in their best interest, students must understand the available options. Toward that end, WSU Student Financial Services provides important information and links to additional resources. Please click on a tab below to get started.

  • Know your Rights and Responsibilities.
  • Create a personal budget. Then borrow only what is absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid capitalization of interest on unsubsidized loans by initiating interest payments immediately following disbursement.
  • Organize all loan information in one secure location. Keep detailed records of how much you borrowed and from whom.
  • Always inform your lender of your contact information changes (e.g. change of name, mailing address, email address, phone number, etc.), and always respond to lender-initiated communication.
  • After borrowing your first federal student loan, and until all are repaid completely, regularly verify the accuracy of your loan information at the National Student Loan Data System.
Subsidized/Unsubsidized Direct Loans
Perkins Loans
Parent PLUS Loans
Graduate PLUS Loan
Nursing Student Loans
Health Professions Loans for Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine Students
Emergency Short-Term Loans (STL)
AlaskAdvantage™ Alternative Loan Program

There are limits on the amount of loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. These limits vary depending on what year you are in school and whether you are a dependent or independent student.

The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for the different types of loans offered at WSU. 

Loan Title
Lifetime Limit
Subsidized Direct Loan (Dependent)*
$ 3,500
$ 4,500
$ 5,500
$ 5,500
$ 23,000
Unsubsidized Direct Loan (Dependent)
$ 2,000
$ 2,000
$ 2,000
$ 2,000
$ 8,000
Subsidized Direct Loan (Independent)*
$ 3,500
$ 4,500
$ 5,500
$ 5,500
$ 23,000
Unsubsidized Direct Loan (Independent)
$ 6,000
$ 6,000
$ 7,000
$ 7,000
$ 34,500
Parent PLUS Loans
Parent PLUS loan amounts can vary widely. Parents can borrow as much as they like as long as they do not exceed their total cost of attendance including other types of aid. Please note that this loan is subject to credit requirements.
Perkins, Health Professions Loans
Perkins/HPL loan amounts vary per student and program. Must meet EFC and FAFSA filing date criteria.
Private/Alternative Loans
Private/Alternative loan amounts can vary widely. Students can borrow as much as they like as long as they do not exceed their total cost of attendance including other types of aid. Please note that this loan is subject to credit requirements.
* Subsidized Direct loans can only be awarded if there is unmet need. In the event that there is no unmet need, the loan will be awarded as an Unsubsidized Direct loan.


For current interest rates and loan fees on Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans visit Federal Student Aid, by Clicking Here.

For current interest rates and loan fees on Direct PLUS Loans visit Federal Student Aid, by Clicking Here.


As a borrower, you have rights and responsibilities; be sure you understand both. For your convenience, this information is summarized Here.

Before applying for a loan, determine how much you’ll be able to afford to repay by estimating:

  • What you can expect to earn after graduation,
  • What your monthly loan payments will be, and
  • How much you must have for other living expenses.
  • Borrow only what you need and that you can comfortably repay within that budget.

It usually costs money to borrow money. Know the true cost of your loans by keeping track of how much you borrow as well as the additional amount you owe in interest and other fees. If possible, pay the interest on Unsubsidized loans to avoid capitalization. Also, keep in mind that the longer you take to repay your loans the more interest you will pay.  

Some of the loans you may receive while attending Washington State University require entrance and exit counseling. The purpose of entrance counseling is to be certain the borrower completely understands the terms and conditions of the loan prior to completing the transaction. Exit counseling serves as a reminder of repayment responsibilities and ensures that the borrower has the necessary information for successful repayment.

Subsidized/Unsubsidized Direct Loans Entrance Counseling
Subsidized/Unsubsidized Direct Loans Exit Counseling
Graduate PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling
Graduate PLUS Loan Exit Counseling
Parent PLUS Loans
Perkins, Nursing, Health Professions Loans

A college education is more important than ever before, yet paying for one can be a challenge for many students and their families. Private loans can help you pay for college expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs or other financial aid. These loans are one way to provide additional funds to close the gap between your financial aid resources and college costs.

Although you do not need to apply for federal, state or school financial aid before applying for a private loan, you should. You should borrow any Federal Stafford or Perkins loans offered to you, and accept all gift (grant) financial aid prior to borrowing a private loan. Federal regulations require that a school attempt to advise student borrowers of their potential Federal, State and institutional financial aid eligibility, and to encourage students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine that eligibility, before borrowing a private loan. Private loans typically carry higher interest rates and fees than federal loans and less attractive repayment terms. They are based on your credit rating and debt-to-income ratio (not financial need) and usually require a co-signer.

To provide greater transparency, improve available consumer information, and ensure that students are aware of federal loan options, a new federal law became effective February 14, 2010. It requires that private lenders obtain a completed and signed Self-Certification Form from each private loan borrower. This form, available from all private education loan lenders, or Here from WSU, requires the student to provide:

  1. The student’s *Cost of Attendance (COA) for the enrollment period covered by the loan
  2. Any *Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) for the period of enrollment covered by the loan, and
  3. The difference between the COA and the EFA

*WSU students can easily locate this information by logging onto myWSU and selecting “finances” in the left-hand sidebar, then “student aid.” For accurate information, students are advised to be certain they are viewing the current academic term budget.

The new law also requires lenders to provide student borrowers with three specific disclosure forms:

  1. Application Disclosure: Provides general information about the range of rates, fees and other terms that apply; includes information on federal loan options.
  2. Approval Disclosure: Presented when a lender is prepared to make an approved or conditionally-approved offer; states the acceptance date deadline (of at least 30 days) and describes how the borrower may accept the terms of the loan; with few exceptions, prohibits lenders from changing the terms of the loan during the acceptance period.
  3. Final Disclosure: is presented to the borrower after the loan has been accepted and ten business days before the loan can be disbursed; must clearly provide a borrower’s Right to Cancel Notice and state both the cancellation deadline and the acceptable method of cancellation.

Private loans are offered by a variety of lenders and carry a range of terms, conditions and benefits. Students are encouraged to very carefully compare the terms of several private loans before considering which one best meets their particular needs. To facilitate your comparison shopping. Students should also Read This important information about private student loans provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

The process for obtaining a private or alternative loan varies from lender to lender. Here a few tips to ensure a smooth transaction.

  • Students can check myWSU to determine eligibility. Compare the amount of Total Assistance listed against your Cost of Attendance. If your Total Assistance is less than your Cost of Attendance, you have eligibility that can be made up in the form of a private loan.
  • Students may also contact Student Financial Services to determine their eligibility for additional private loan funding.
  • Students may apply for a private loan through the lender of their choice. Student must be the primary borrower on the loan, although many lenders will require a co-borrower.
  • Once the credit check for the student and co-signer (if applicable) is approved, the lender will send a request for certification to our office. Student Financial Services will certify the private loan for an amount no more than the unmet cost of attendance.

Private loans can not be certified for amounts in excess of a student’s *cost of attendance” (COA) or budget. Therefore, applicants must be certain there is sufficient room in their student budget to allow for an additional loan. For some students this may mean cancelling a Graduate or Parent PLUS Loan in ADVANCE of applying for the alternative loan. Failure to do so could delay the alternative loan process, because there is no eligibility for the private loan until the existing PLUS loan is canceled or rejected.

Private Education Loan Products

The following list reflects lenders with competitive private education loan products that have previously been utilized by former and current WSU students to help pay for college expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs or other financial aid.

These loan products generally offer borrower benefits and rates that could potentially lower the total cost of the loan for the borrower, and the technological ability to process loans in the most efficient, accurate and timely manner. Several of these lenders have participated in the student loan program for many years, and over time have established a long history of exceptional customer service, prompt issue resolution, along with a sincere commitment to continue to participate in the private student loan program to insure continued access to higher education.

Borrowers are strongly encouraged to conduct their own consumer research on the various private loan products. Students and parents also have the right to select the lender of their choice and are not required to use the lenders on this list.  Please be aware, however, that if your lender of choice does not participate in, or is not familiar with, WSU’s loan process, the disbursement of the loan funds could be delayed as a result of that lender’s process.

Important Information about Loan Periods

Loan periods must match WSU’s regular academic terms. If you are, or will be, enrolling for the fall and spring semesters, complete your loan application for an academic year loan. If you enroll only for the fall or spring semester, you may request a loan for that period. Summer is always applied for as a separate term. WSU can not certify a loan for a calendar year (January to December) or for a 12-month period of any combination.

Academic Year
Term Start   End
Academic Year 08/24/15 to 05/06/16
Fall Only 08/24/15 to 12/18/15
Spring Only 01/11/16 to 05/06/16
Summer 2016 05/09/16 to 07/29/16


Academic Year
Term Start   End
Academic Year 08/22/16 to 05/05/17
Fall Only 08/22/16 to 12/16/16
Spring Only 01/09/17 to 05/05/17
Summer 2017 05/08/17 to 07/28/17


Academic Year
Term Start   End
Academic Year 08/21/17 to 05/04/18
Fall Only 08/21/17 to 12/15/17
Spring Only 01/08/18 to 05/04/18
Summer 2018 05/07/18 to 07/27/18


Private Education Loan Products List
Loan Website Telephone
Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan salliemae.com 1-888-472-5543
Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan wellsfargo.com 1-800-378-5526
Discover Student Loans discoverstudentloans.com 1-800-788-3368

Each of these loan products has an online application with an electronic signature option. Each loan has unique qualification requirements, including enrollment, allowable costs, and co-signer criteria. Note also that the interest rates and terms of these loans may change at any time. Therefore, to compare and contrast, borrowers must refer to each lender’s web site for up-to date information.

For Additional information regarding private loans, please consult the Types of Aid section of our website.

The Process

For first-time student loan borrowers, there are a few steps that you will need to complete to ensure that your loans arrive in a timely fashion. This is one of the most commonly misunderstood steps of the entire financial aid process. Student Financial Services is committed to ensuring that students new to this process have all the necessary information to complete these requirements. Students attending the regular academic year (Fall & Spring terms) will be awarded their maximum loan eligibility in even halves. Loan eligibility for graduating students attending only one term will be calculated based on the actual number of credits they are enrolled in for that term.  

Please click on a tab below for more information and follow each step in order to receive your loans.


Completing the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan process
Completing the Perkins/Nursing/Health Professions Loan process
Completing the Graduate PLUS Loan process


Completing the Parent PLUS Loan process

For PLUS Endorsers

Steps to Endorse a PLUS Loan

Repayment Estimator