In addition to scholarships and grants, student loans represent another resource to help you fund your education. Either you or your parents may take out student loans for educational expenses to help cover the costs of attending college, including tuition, housing, books and other costs. Before taking out any loan, it is important to research the type of loan as well as the expectations for repayment. Loans must be repaid and follow the repayment timelines set forth by the lender.
For more detailed information about the loan program, see the University Policy Handbook.
Federal Student Loans
Federal student loans are developed specifically for students and many times offer a lower-than-typical interest rate and may contain an interest-free grace period before repayment begins. Please take time to review the loan requirements for these programs. Federal student loans must be repaid, even if you do not complete your degree, you are unable to find a job related to your program of study or you are unsatisfied with the education you paid for with your loan.
Loan Options and Eligibility
Federal Perkins Loan Program
The Department of Education ended the Federal Perkins Loan Program on Sept. 30, 2017. While GCU no longer awards Perkins monies to students, for those students who do have the Perkins loans, here is the information on the program and the repayment process.
GCU’s student loan assistance team can help answer your questions about:
- Postponement options
- Delinquent or defaulted student loans
- Loan consolidation options
- Forgiveness programs
Call 602-639-6777 for more information.
In-School Deferment (ISD)
While you are in school and attending at least half-time, any federal student loans in a repayment status are eligible for an In-School Deferment (ISD). The ISD puts a temporary hold on your federal loan payment requirements. To request this benefit, complete the ISD form and send the ISD request form to all of your federal loan servicers for consideration. Call 855-GCU-LOPE for more information.
Postponement of Payments: Deferments and Forbearances
There may be a time when making federal student loan payments becomes a hardship. The Department of Education offers postponement benefits that may ease your financial burden. You may need to meet certain qualifications, based on the postponement option. Request this benefit by completing the appropriate form and sending the request to all of your federal loan servicers for consideration.
Default and Loan Consolidation
Your prior student loans cannot be in default to be eligible for additional federal student loans. One way to remove a default is to consolidate your loans. Despite what some companies may say, loan consolidation is free.
Consolidation is a way of combing multiple federal education loans into one loan to assist in loan management. It is an option for defaulted and non-defaulted loans alike.
GCU’s student loan assistance team can help answer your questions about delinquent or defaulted student loans and help you explore your loan consolidation options. Call 602-639-6777 for more information.
The Department of Education offers programs that may forgive a portion of your student loan debt after you earn your degree. The Department of Education encourages college graduates to enter into fields of teaching and public service to take advantage of this forgiveness. Forgiveness may also be an option with certain repayment plans. Forgiveness does not happen immediately and entry into these programs is free, despite what other companies may say.
Federal Direct Loan
There are two types of Federal Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. Both loan types are originated and guaranteed directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly all students are eligible to receive them (regardless of credit score or other financial issues). Both types of loans offer a grace period of six months, which means that no payments are due from you until six months after graduation or enrollment of less than half-time.
Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need. For these loans, the federal government makes interest payments while you are in college. For example, those who borrow $10,000 during college will owe $10,000 upon graduation. Subsidized loans are not offered if you already have a bachelor’s degree.
Effective July 1, 2013 for all first-time borrowers* who are eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans, are eligible to receive Subsidized Loans up to 150 percent of the published length of the borrower's current educational program. This has no effect on eligibility for other federal student loan types.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans also accrue interest, but interest payments are not subsidized; rather, the interest accrues during your time in college. Those who borrow $10,000 during college will owe $10,000 plus interest upon graduation. Interest begins accruing immediately on the $10,000. The accrued interest will be "capitalized" into the loan amount; however, you can choose to pay the interest while still in college.
*A first-time borrower is defined as someone who on July 1, 2013 had no outstanding balance of principle or interest on a Direct Loan or FFEL.
Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
The Direct Grad PLUS Loan is offered to graduate and professional students enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program of study at GCU. PLUS Loans differ from other federal loans in that they can cover a larger amount of costs and are awarded based on approved credit.
Any student requesting a Direct Grad PLUS Loan for the first time is required to complete an entrance counseling session before student loan funds can be disbursed. All graduate students at GCU who are interested in taking out a Grad PLUS loan must complete a Direct Grad PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note and will be required to do so before loan funds can be disbursed.
Get more information about PLUS Loans at studentloans.gov
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
The Direct Parent PLUS Loan is offered to parent(s) of students enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate program of study at GCU. PLUS Loans differ from other federal and Perkins Loans in that they can cover a larger amount of costs and the commitment is undertaken by your parent, rather than you.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans are awarded based on approved credit. If a parent is denied for the Parent PLUS Loan, a student may receive additional loan eligibility and should discuss this option with a student services counselor. If a parent is approved for a Parent PLUS Loan, repayment of the loan starts immediately unless a deferment is requested and approved.
Learn more about this student loan or begin the application process at studentloans.gov
Before any loan funds can be awarded and disbursed, it is GCU's policy to have you complete both an entrance counseling session and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on the Department of Education’s website at studentloans.gov
Results of both the entrance counseling and MPN completion will be electronically sent to GCU. This action is required only once from you. Additional loans may be certified for up to 10 years (upon meeting eligibility requirements) using the initial entrance counseling and MPN results.
You must also complete Grad PLUS Entrance Counseling and a GRAD PLUS Master Promissory Note on the studentloans.gov site. In addition, if the applicant has an adverse credit history, obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history will be required for approval.
A parent requesting a Parent PLUS loan is not required to complete any entrance counseling but must complete a PLUS Master Promissory Note on studentloans.gov and is subject to the same adverse credit history regulations.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans, also called alternative loans, are credit-based consumer loans that can be used for any education-related purpose, including books, tuition, room, board, lab fees and transportation. In general, private loans cover the total cost of education, minus any financial aid you have received. They require no collateral, and they offer many of the same tax benefits as federal student loans. Many of these loans are credit-based.
In addition to completing a Master Promissory Note with the alternative loan lender, you may need to also complete the Private Education Loan Self Certification Form depending on the lender or servicer you choose.
Arizona Student Loan Code of Conduct
The Arizona Student Loan Code of Conduct is the defined code of conduct on how a school’s financial aid office should interact with lenders. This code of conduct was developed by the Arizona Attorney General's Office in conjunction with universities and colleges in the State of Arizona. GCU fully supports and complies with these provisions.