Financial Aid Office

Truax A1000
Enrollment Center
1701 Wright Street
Madison WI 53704

CALL: (608) 246-6170
FAX: (608) 243-4245


Monday - Tuesday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
Wednesday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  

Monday - Thursday: 8:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Financial Aid Loans

A student loan functions like most other types of loans. You borrow money and must later repay it with interest. If you are offered a student loan as a part of your financial aid award, it is important to consider the potential impacts borrowing money may have on your finances before you accept the loan. There are a few different types of student loans that can help you cover the cost of attending Madison College.

To determine if you qualify for student loans, you must complete the financial aid application process, beginning with submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to the basic financial aid eligibility requirements and the eligibility requirements for specific loan programs, you must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for student loans. You must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time (6 credits).
  • Have remaining eligibility in your cost of attendance. The total of aid from all sources cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance. 

There are a few different types of loans that you may be eligible for: direct loans, PLUS loans, and private (or alternative) loans.

Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education to eligible students. There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. For complete information about the Federal Direct Loan program, including current interest rates, annual limits and aggregate limits, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Subsidized Loan

Eligibility for a subsidized loan is based on financial need as determined by your cost of attendance and estimated family contribution (EFC). With this loan, the government will pay the interest while you are enrolled at least half time (6 credits), during your grace period (unless you received a subsidized loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014), and during any periods of deferment. 

Unsubsidized Loan

A FAFSA is required to receive an unsubsidized loan, but eligibility is not based on financial need. The amount will be determined based on your cost of attendance, any other aid received, and the federal annual loan limits. With this loan, interest will start accruing as soon as it is disbursed.

Before Disbursement

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
  • You must not exceed federal aggregate loan limits.
  • Once you receive your Award Notification in your student email, go into your myMadisonCollege Student Center (full site) and accept or decline your awards. Awards usually include both the fall and spring semester for that aid year. When accepting your loans, be sure you are accepting enough for the entire aid year.
  • Complete Entrance Counseling at the Student Loans website to better understand your responsibilities and obligations by borrowing student loans.
  • Complete a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note (MPN) at the Student Loans website. The MPN is a legal document in which you are promising to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • View the disbursement page for additional information on when you will receive your funds.  

If you have received Federal Direct Loan(s) and you graduate, drop below half-time status or withdraw, you must complete exit counseling at the Student Loans website. The purpose of exit counseling is to inform you of your obligations and options regarding the repayment of your Federal Direct Loan(s).

Parent PLUS Loans

The Direct PLUS loan (often referred to as Parent PLUS) is another option for students who need help paying for education related expenses. This is a federal loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education. A PLUS loan must be used to help pay for the student’s educational costs. With this loan, interest will start accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. Interest rates are subject to change every year.

Eligibility Requirements

Parent Requirements - Parents must meet the Direct PLUS loan eligibility requirements, including:

  • Must be the parent (biological, adoptive or, in some cases, stepparent).
  • Must not have an adverse credit history, though some exceptions may apply.
  • Must complete the Master Promissory Note at the Student Loans website.
  • May be required to complete the PLUS Counseling at the Student Loans website, however, we recommend that all parents complete this step. The Department of Education will notify the parent if this step is required.

Student requirements

  • Meet the eligibility requirements listed above for federal student aid.
  • Must be a dependent student.
  • Must have received an Award Notification

If all of the eligibility criteria are met, the parent must complete a PLUS Loan Request Form (PDF, 801KB). A PLUS loan is in the parent’s name, and the parent will be required to repay the loan regardless of any agreement between the parent and student. The first payment is due within 60 days of disbursement. Parents may request deferment if the student is still enrolled at least half time (6 credits) or up to six months after the student is less than half time or is done attending school. Loan amounts may not exceed the student’s remaining financial need up to the cost of attendance (up to $5,000 a semester, or $10,000 an aid year).  

Loans are disbursed through the student’s account at Madison College to pay off any tuition and fees owed (in addition to any funds that permission had been granted). Any funding left over after paying off the balance owed will be refunded directly to the parent.

Alternative Loans

Private or alternative student loans or private parent loans are offered through a variety of lending institutions. They are not considered federal loans. These loans can be taken out by a student, parent, family member, or sponsor (any creditworthy individual). These loans should only be considered when all other aid options (grants, work study, and other loans) have been exhausted. Loan amounts may not exceed the student’s remaining financial need up to the cost of attendance, $5,000 per semester, or $10,000 per aid year.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements for financial aid and have received an Award Notification in your student email.
  • You must have a credit score high enough to qualify for the loan or a cosigner with an eligible credit score.
  • Each lender may have additional requirements. Follow the application procedure below to find out what loans you may be eligible for and the eligibility requirements.  

Be sure to pay attention to interest rates, repayment obligations and repayment plan options before applying for a private or alternative loan. If you have questions regarding the loan, contact the loan provider.

How to Apply

You may apply for a private or alternative loan at the financial institution of your choice, but doing so will significantly delay the time frame in which you receive those funds. We recommend you follow the steps below to apply for the most common loans taken out by Madison College students.

  1. Go to Fast Choice and select "Student - Private Loan Options" (for students) OR select "Parent - Private Loan Options" (for parents, family members, or sponsors)
  2. (Student's only) Complete Borrowing Essentials to learn about borrowing money.
  3. Select Continue.
  4. Read and understand the Loan Product Disclosures.
  5. Use the filter option to select undergraduate and select filter Loans.
  6. Compare the different student loan options that are provided.
  7. Once you find a loan you are interested in, select Apply.
  8. Provide the lender with all required information and submit your application.
  9. The lender will receive your application and review it to determine if you qualify. They will contact you regarding the outcome of the loan application. If your loan is approved, the lender also notifies the Financial Aid Office at Madison College.
  10. The Financial Aid Office will review your account, and if you meet the eligibility requirements, your loan will be certified.
  11. It will then take at least 14 business days for the loan monies to come to Madison College pursuant to Section 155 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) and to satify the requirements of Section 128(e)(3) of the Truth in Lending Act .
  12. See our disbursement page for information about what happens after the money is received.