Federal Student Loans and Private Student Loans

In addition to scholarships and grants, student loans represent another potential resource for funding your education. Loans must be repaid per the repayment timelines set forth by the loan lender. Be aware that federal student loans must be repaid even if you do not complete your degree, are unable to secure a job related to your program of study or were unsatisfied with your educational experience.

For more detailed information about the loan program, see the University Policy Handbook.

For the latest student loan updates due to COVID-19 and the CARES Act, visit studentaid.gov/coronavirus


View Policy Handbook

Contact Us

GCU’s Student Loan Assistance Team can help answer questions regarding federal student loans you have already borrowed. This includes:

  • Identifying your servicer
  • Repayment
  • Past Due Payments
  • Postponement
  • Default
  • Consolidation
  • Forgiveness

Call us at 602-639-6777 or email us at studentloanassistance@gcu.edu.

For financial aid questions while attending school, reach out to your Student Services Counselor at 855-GCU-LOPE.

Loan Repayment

Upon receiving a loan disbursement to your account, you should receive notification by mail or email from the loan servicer assigned to your loan. If you do not receive an email or letter, you can view your loan servicer information at studentaid.gov

Upon entering repayment on your student loan, your servicer will automatically place you in a Standard Repayment Plan. If you want a different plan, you must contact them as soon as possible. If you are experiencing difficulties repaying your student loan, you may be able to change your repayment plan to one that lowers your monthly payment and, in some cases, will be based on your income. If you do not make arrangements with your servicer, they will report any delinquency to the credit bureaus.

Postponement of Payments: Deferments and Forbearances

The U.S. Department of Education allows you to temporarily suspend payments if you are experiencing financial difficulties. If you choose to use postponement, consider paying the interest that accrues to avoid a higher balance also referred to as capitalization.

Your loan servicer should automatically be notified if you are attending at least half-time and payments should be suspended during that time. If you are not in deferment after attending at least 30 days, contact your Student Services Counselor at 855-GCU-LOPE.

Loan Consolidation

Consolidation is a free process which combines multiple federal student loans into one loan with a fixed interest rate based on the average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated. Once completed, you will have a single monthly payment on your new consolidated loan instead of multiple monthly payments on the loans you consolidated.

  • Perkins Loans are eligible for consolidation.
  • PLUS loans received by parent(s) cannot be consolidated with a student’s federal student loans.
  • Private loans cannot be consolidated with federal student loans.

Exit Counseling

Exit counseling prepares you to repay your federal student loans. It includes understanding your federal student loans, available repayment plans, prioritizing your finances and how to avoid default.

You will need to complete exit counseling if you:

  • Drop below half-time enrollment.
  • Graduate.
  • Withdraw.

Log into your account at studentaid.gov to complete your exit counseling. It should take about 20-30 minutes to complete.

Forgiveness Programs

The U.S. Department of Education offers programs that may forgive a portion of your student loan debt if you enter fields such as teaching or public service. To learn more about loan forgiveness, please visit studentaid.gov or reach out to your servicer for free assistance.


If you do not repay your federal student loans, your loan(s) may go into default. Once in default:

  • You are ineligible for additional financial aid.
  • Your wages and your tax refund may be garnished.
  • Your delinquency will be reported to credit bureaus.
  • Your academic transcript may be withheld.

To avoid going into default, contact your loan servicer as soon as you begin experiencing financial difficulties.

Subsidized Versus Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

Both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are originated and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education. You are required to begin repaying both loan types six months after you graduate, withdraw or your enrollment falls below half-time. Please be aware there is an origination fee for both loan types.

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need per the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, but you are not required to demonstrate financial need. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest immediately upon disbursement to your account. The federal government does not pay the interest on your behalf at any time.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Direct Grad PLUS loans are awarded to students based on credit. They are available to students enrolled in a graduate or professional program of study. For more information about Grad PLUS Loans, visit studentaid.gov.

The Direct Parent PLUS Loan is offered to the parent(s) of undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time. They are awarded based on credit. If your parent is denied a PLUS Loan, you may receive additional student loans. If your parent is approved for a PLUS Loan, repayment begins immediately unless your parent requests and is approved for a deferment. For more information about Parent PLUS Loans, visit studentaid.gov.

Federal Perkins Loan Program

The Department of Education ended the Federal Perkins Loan Program as of Sept. 30, 2017. While Perkins loans are no longer offered, students currently repaying Perkins loans can visit the servicer Heartland ECSI at borrowerefpls.ed.gov.

Private Student Loans

Arizona Student Loan Code of Conduct

Private student loans, also referred to as Alternative Loans, are credit-based consumer loans that can be used for education-related expenses. They are generally more expensive than federal student loans.

Please be aware you should exhaust your federal student loan eligibility before applying for a private student loan.

For more information, inquire with your Student Services Counselor at 855-GCU-LOPE.

The Arizona Student Loan Code of Conduct defines how a school’s Office of Financial Aid should interact with student loan lenders. The code, which GCU fully supports and complies with, was developed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with Arizona universities and colleges.


Below you will find a list of helpful forms you may need during the loan life cycle. For more information about filling out the forms, contact the Student Loan Assistance Team.

You will need to log into your account at studentaid.gov to complete your Master Promissory Note (MPN), Entrance Counseling and Exit Counseling. You can also fill out the following forms at studentaid.gov

Forbearance Request Forms +

  • General Forbearance
  • Mandatory Forbearance

Deferment Request Forms +

  • Cancer Treatment
  • Economic Hardship
  • In-School
  • Military
  • Parent PLUS
  • Unemployment

Repayment Request Forms +

  • Income Driven Repayment Plan
  • Repayment Plan

Consolidation +

  • Consolidation Application

Forgiveness +

  • Employer Certification

Private Loan Document +

  • Private Education Loan Self-Certification
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