Loan Programs

Federal Direct Student Loans
Parent PLUS Loans
Private Education Loan


Federal Direct Loan Program

Most students who complete the FAFSA are eligible for the Federal Direct Loan Program, which offers low-interest rate loans to students. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, and all terms and conditions can be reviewed at studentloans.gov.

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is offered to FAFSA filers who demonstrate a certain level of financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled at least half time.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is generally offered to all FAFSA filers regardless of demonstrated need. Interest begins accruing when the loan is disbursed. You have the option of paying the interest as it accrues; otherwise, unpaid interest will be capitalized and added to the principal balance. It is recommended that you pay interest as it is accrued to keep the principal as low as possible.

Payments for Federal Direct Loans are deferred until six months after you are no longer enrolled at least half time. This means you are not required to make payments while enrolled at Holy Cross College. You can, however, choose to make payments while in deferment.

Annual Direct Loan Limits

The maximum amount you may borrow each academic year is based on the number of credit hours accumulated, dependency status, and cumulative borrowing. You are encouraged only take on as much debt as necessary. If you would like to reduce your loan amount(s), you can contact the Office of Financial Aid or make the adjustment on your Holy Cross student portal before accepting the loan(s). After loans are disbursed, you have fourteen days to notify the Office of Financial Aid if you would like to reduce or cancel your loan(s).

Dependent Students

Grade Level Subsidized Total (subsidized & unsubsidized)
First Year Students (less than 30 credit hours) $3,500 $5,500
Second Year Students (between 30-59 credit hours) $4,500 $6,500
Third and Fourth Year Students (over 60 credit hours) $5,500 $7,500

Independent Undergraduates & Dependent Students whose parents are not approved for the PLUS Loan

Grade Level Subsidized Total (subsidized & unsubsidized)
First Year Students (less than 30 credit hours) $3,500 $9,500
Second Year Students (between 30-59 credit hours) $4,500 $10,500
Third and Fourth Year Students (over 60 credit hours) $5,500 $12,500

Direct Loans Totals Combined Debt Limit

Grade Level Subsidized Total (subsidized & unsubsidized)
Dependent Undergraduates $23,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduates & Dependent Students whose parents are not approved for the PLUS loan $23,000 $57,500

Securing Your Direct Loans

All offers of financial aid will be posted on your Holy Cross student portal, and you are required to review and accept offers before they are disbursed to your student account.

  1. Log in to the HCC student portal using your username and password
  2. Click the “Financial Aid” tab, and select “Accept/Decline FA Awards”
  3. Select appropriate award year
  4. Accept or decline each offered award. Here, you can adjust loan amounts if you wish to borrow less than offered.


First-time borrowers must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling before loans are disbursed. The MPN is a legally binding document in which you agree to repay your loan. Completion of the MPN requires the names, addresses, and phone numbers of two references and your driver’s license number (if applicable). The Entrance Counseling helps you understand your loan responsibilities.

  1. Visit studentloans.gov
  2. Log in using your FSA ID and password, which was used to create and sign your FAFSA
  3. Select “Complete Entrance Counseling” and follow next steps
  4. Select “Complete Loan Agreement for a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN)” and follow next steps

The U.S. Department of Education will contact Holy Cross College after these steps have been completed.


Parent Plus Loans

Parents of dependent students who have a valid FAFSA on file and whose student is enrolled at least half-time may apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan to cover the remaining cost of attendance, which can include direct and estimated indirect costs.

Repayment of the Direct PLUS Loan for Parents is the responsibility of the parent. It is recommended that borrowers begin making payments once the loan is disbursed. If necessary, borrowers can request a deferment while the student is enrolled at least half time. Interest will accrue during deferment.

Applying for Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

To request the Direct PLUS Loan, a parent must complete the Direct PLUS Loan Application for Parents at studentloans.gov. The application requires a parent to log in using the parent’s FSA ID and password, which was used to complete and sign the FAFSA.

After submitting the application, a parent must complete an online Master Promissory Note (MPN). A parent’s employer information, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of two references are needed to complete the MPN. Funds will not be disbursed if the MPN is not completed.

After receiving the PLUS Loan application, the U.S. Department of Education will notify the Office of Financial Aid that a PLUS Loan request has been made and the MPN completed. Holy Cross College will then confirm eligibility before a disclosure statement with loan amount, fees, and expected disbursement dates can be issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

Applications are subject to a U.S. Department of Education credit check review. If the PLUS Loan application is not approved, the decision can be appealed at studentloans.gov, or an endorser can be secured to proceed with the loan. If not proceeding with the PLUS Loan, the student may be eligible for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds. You may request these additional funds by contacting the Office of Financial Aid.


Private Education Loan

You may consider private loan programs as a source of funding after fully exploring the opportunities available from the Federal Direct Student Loan Programs. Federal Direct Loans may have terms and conditions that are more favorable than the terms and conditions of private education loans. The terms of Federal Direct Loans generally include the lower interest rates, lower fees, and repayment options such as deferments and forbearances. Holy Cross College has partnered with FASTChoice to allow you to easily compare private loan options.

Private Loan Certification

Once you select a lender and apply for a private loan, the Office of Financial Aid will be notified and will certify the loan amount provided it does not go over the cost of attendance. The private loan will then be added to your financial aid notification, which can be viewed on the HCC student portal.