Student Loan Programs

Federal Direct Student Loans 

For detailed information on the Federal Direct Student Loans, visit the Federal Student Aid website. If you’ve been notified that you are eligible for the Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Student Loans on your Financial Aid Notification Letter and plan to borrow these loans, please complete the Entrance Counseling AND Loan Agreement (MPN). If you do not wish to borrow the loans, email our office at to decline those loans.

To apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan, first complete the FAFSA. Then, log in to the Federal Student Aid website with your FAFSA PIN. To qualify, you need to complete the Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note.

These loans cannot be increased. The maximum amount you can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans depends on your grade level and whether you are a dependent student or an independent student. We can decrease, but not increase the loan amount. The maximum amounts are set by the federal government. 

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

The Parent PLUS Loan is a financing option available for parents to cover the remaining balance due for the year. Find details on the PLUS Loan, and step-by-step instructions on applying for the Parent PLUS Loan.

To apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, first complete the FAFSA. Either parent or stepparent can apply for a PLUS loan, if you are considered a dependent student on your FAFSA. To qualify, parents would complete the Parent PLUS Request Process and sign a Master Promissory Note. 

Parent borrowers can increase their PLUS loan to accommodate their student’s need but cannot exceed the difference between the Cost of Attendance and total financial aid. Endorsed PLUS loans cannot be increased above the endorsed amount. 

If parents apply for a PLUS Loan but are denied, there are two options: They can appeal the decision by contacting Applicant Services with the Department of Education at 1-800-557-7394. Or, they can seek an endorser for the PLUS loan. contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance with these options. If parents choose not to pursue the PLUS loan after being denied, then we can award you an additional amount in a Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan. For first and second year students, the additional amount is $4,000; for third and fourth year students, the amount is $5,000.

Private Student Loans

We strongly recommend that you consider borrowing from the Federal Direct Loan program before applying for a private student loan due to the Department of Education’s low interest rates and various repayment options.

Many private commercial lenders offer student loans for educational purposes. Students apply to these programs directly with the lender of their choice. Typically, private lenders provide online application processes through their websites and students apply directly to the lender. In most cases, students will need a U.S. credit-worthy cosigner to be eligible for private loans. Ringling College offers a private student loan portal called Elm Select as a reference for students seeking this type of payment resource.

ELM Select – If researching or applying for private loans, you may go to this site to help you compare different lenders to determine which loan would best suit you and your family. The lenders provided on ELM Select are by no means a list of all available lenders. It simply represents lenders that students have historically borrowed from here at Ringling.

Federal PLUS Loan versus Private Student Loan Comparison

Another financing option is private student loans. Many of our families borrow either the PLUS Loan or a private student loan to cover the annual amount due to the College. Click here for a PLUS Loan vs. Private Loan Comparison to help you determine which loan best suits your family and circumstances.

Federal Direct Student, Parent PLUS, and private educational loans can be used for tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, and any other educationally related costs.


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Ulla Searing Student Center
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