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Navigating undergraduate loans isn’t always simple, but we have some resources available to help you. Below you will find guidelines for applying for loans, as well as what loans are available to you as an undergraduate.
Student must be degree-seeking and enrolled at least half time in order to qualify for federal loans. Federal loans require the student to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please review the information below to learn more about the different types of Federal loans offered by the Department of Education. Need-based loans are determined by the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA and the Cost of Attendance (COA).
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Two types of Stafford loans exist: Subsidized and Unsubsidized. The type for which you qualify for is based on the FAFSA information. The maximum loan eligibility each year is based on total credit hours earned and dependency status. Repayment of Stafford loans begins six months after you are no longer attending your institution for at least six credit hours or more. New students will need to complete online entrance counseling and a master promissory note in order to receive their loan.
Maximum Loan Amounts for an Academic Year for Dependent Students:
Maximum Loan Amounts for an Academic Year for Independent Students:
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Interest on a subsidized loan does not accrue while the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program and during a six month grace period after the student leaves school. Qualification for a subsidized loan is determined by the FAFSA. Repayment interest on a subsidized loan for undergraduate and graduate student loans is a fixed interest rate.
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Students who do not qualify, in whole or in part, for a subsidized loan, can still receive an unsubsidized loan. These loans have a fixed annual interest rate that accrues interest once the loan is paid to the student’s account. Students have the option to pay the interest while they are attending college.
Students usually receive a Direct Loan for an entire academic year (two semesters); with one half of the total loan amount being disbursed each semester. Funds are automatically credited to the student’s account by the Cornerstone Accounting and Finance Office.
In order to receive a Federal Direct Student Loan at Cornerstone, you must be able to answer yes to the following statements:
If you meet all of the conditions mentioned above, you are now ready to complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note. You will be directed to an external website to complete this process.
PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses.
The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible borrowers through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. This is a federal loan. Eligibility for this loan is not based on financial need or family income; the applicant will undergo a credit check.
The maximum loan amount is the total cost of attendance minus other financial aid the student may receive. Repayment may begin as early as 60 days after disbursement; deferment is possible. The PLUS Loan is a fixed-rate loan with a 4% origination fee will be deducted from the amount of the loan. Example: School balance = $5,000 with 4% fee. Gross loan amount to request: $5,000/.96= $5,208.
Even if you have had a PLUS loan in prior years, federal regulations require you to reapply through the Direct Loan process. You will be given the option to cover the balance of the bill or obtain the maximum allowed under the cost of attendance. If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the student may receive additional unsubsidized loan funds.
Although Direct Stafford loan and PLUS loan interest rates vary by year, rates remain fixed for the life of the loan and will not exceed the stated interest rate cap. Loan interest rates for 2021-22 are summarized below.
Alternative loans are available to help meet education costs not covered by federal, state, institutional financial aid and personal resources. These loans are provided by a bank, require a credit check and usually require a cosigner. To view a list of lenders for the school year and to apply for a loan, check out our resources listed below.
Once you complete an application and are approved for a loan, we will be notified and the amount will be reflected on your tuition statement. For any questions about the alternative loan, please contact Student Financial Services.
Once you are approved for a loan, review the interest rate and fees that will be charged for your loan.
Applications for alternative loans should be completed by Aug. 15 for the fall semester or Dec. 15 for the spring semester. Applications completed after Aug. 15 or Dec. 15 may cause delays in the loan approval process. Loans not approved by Aug. 24 for the fall semester or Jan. 1 for the spring semester may result in late fees on the student account.
Credible is a free online tool that allows students to compare personalized loans from multiple different lenders. Not all lenders included are participating in this comparison tool and therefore will not be represented in the outputs. Students can analyze pre-qualified rates, terms and eligibility rules side-by-side for those lenders that participate with Credible in just a matter of minutes with a single application. This application runs a soft credit check and credit score will not be impacted.
FastChoice is a database of private lenders that we are familiar with and have worked with extensively in the past. This is not an exhaustive list and will not include every lender. Students can compare various lenders side-by-side before applying. Since students will be applying for each individual loan to receive a specific rate, credit score may be impacted.
Cornerstone employees are committed to the highest standards of professional conduct. As a participant in student loan programs, CU is required to have a code of conduct related to student loan activities applicable to the institution’s officers, employees and agents. In addition to the university conflict of interest policy, the Code of Conduct Related to Student Loan Activities is an additional requirement specific to certain transactions and financial aid related matters.
Lenders in the Cornerstone student loan program are selected and approved by Student Financial Services staff on the basis of whether or not the lender chooses to participate in the electronic process through Scholarnet and the Great Lakes Central Disbursing system. Lender disclosure statements are on file in the Student Financial Services office.
Code of Conduct
CU employees will abide by the following Code of Conduct Related to Student Loan Activities. This Code of Conduct is supplemental to existing university policies related to conflicts of interest.
How We Select Lenders
Cornerstone seeks to connect our students with lenders who will provide them the best service and borrower benefits. We review our lenders’ performance and benefits annually.
For the current list of preferred lenders, we reviewed the information provided by several lenders to select the lenders who would best serve our students. In the process, we rated items such as service to the student, service to the school, business model and other items to determine which lenders would be selected.
Students are welcome to select lenders not included on the lists and have the right to do so under federal rules. If you select a lender that is not on our list, you will need to provide Cornerstone the information necessary to process a loan with the lender. To determine what information is needed, please contact the Student Financial Services office at 616.222.1424.
Violations of university policies, including the failure to avoid a prohibited activity or disclose a conflict of interest in a timely manner, will be dealt with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the institution.
When you have graduated or are no longer attending Cornerstone, you need to update your records for the Federal Student Loan Program. This includes your contact and reference information. Please complete the exit counseling form. This is an online form and does not need to be done in the Student Financial Services Office.
Joelle Henry (’22)
My parents don’t pay for a penny of my schooling, and Cornerstone did an amazing job financially to help me to come to the school that I fell in love with.