The Catholic University of America

Financial Aid >Types of Aid >Federal Direct Stafford Loans




What is a Stafford Loan?

Federal Stafford Loans are need based (no credit check required) government loans provided by the Department of Education for students. Stafford Loans are generally low interest, have a variety of deferment/forbearance options, and several repayment plans. Federal Stafford Loans are processed through the Direct Loan Program.

How much Federal Stafford Loan can I borrow?

The maximum Federal Stafford Loan for graduate/professional students is $20,500* per academic year. The aggregate loan limit (total amounts allowed to be borrowed during your educational career) is $138,500. This amount includes any loans borrowed at the undergraduate level. Columbus School of Law Financial Aid Office processes all Federal Stafford Loans in compliance with Federal Title IV regulations in accordance with the Higher Education Act, as Reauthorized in 2006.

* The maximum amount allowed increased from $18,500 to $20,500 as of 07/01/07.
** The interest rate of all loans disbursed after 07/01/06 is fixed at 5.41%
*** Any Stafford Loans borrowed before 07/01/06 will remain at the variable rate unless consolidated. The Subsidized Stafford Loan for Graduate and Professional Students was eliminated August 2nd, 2011. More information can be found here.

Look for more information on our website:

How do I apply for a Federal Stafford Loan?

  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Enter our Federal School Code E00131.
  2. When you receive your FAFSA results and acceptance into Columbus School of Law, an award package detailing your eligibility for financial aid will be made available to you. Review the package and determine the loan amount you wish to borrow (up to $20,500).
  3. Accept/Adjust/Decline your financial aid awards by utilizing the online Financial Aid Award Letter in Cardinal Station. An email will be sent to students beginning in mid-April with instructions on how to accept financial aid.
  4. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). An MPN is required for first time borrowers at Columbus School of Law. The MPN allows you to receive multiple Federal Stafford Loan disbursements over a maximum 10-year period without requiring a new promissory note each time the borrower is approved for a loan.
  5. Complete Entrance Counseling. Federal law requires completion of student loan entrance counseling for all new students prior to disbursement of loan funds.

Transfer Students should cancel all loans and other aid at their prior institution for the period of desired enrollment at Columbus School of Law. Be sure to notify your lender(s) or servicer(s) of your decision to transfer and any changes in your new expected graduation date from the Columbus School of Law.

Returning Students do not need to complete another MPN or Entrance Counseling if one was already completed for the Columbus School of Law within the last academic year. A MPN is valid up to 10 years at the school of your choice.


How will my loan funds be delivered?

CUA will receive the loan funds via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and credit the funds to your student account. You will receive funds in two equal disbursements, one in the fall and one in the spring. Federal regulations restrict delivery of the first loan disbursement. Origination fees of 1.051% will be deducted by Direct Lending prior to disbursement, thus reducing the amount received by the school.

If loan funds exceed the charges on your account, the excess funds will be refunded to you in the form of a check (or refund) and may be picked up at the Office of Enrollment Services in McMahon Hall. Refund checks are normally processed around the end of the second week of school for each semester. You may also utilize Direct Deposit Option for refunds. To sign up, please review the CardinalPay information page or contact Enrollment Services (202-319-5300) directly.

Students should be aware that some charges (ie health insurance or enrollment changes) do not appear on the student's accounts until after the refund check has been issued. You need to be prepared to pay for any subsequent charges after having received a refund check. You have 24-hour access to your account via Cardinal Station.

What would Hold-Up Delivery of My Loan Funds?

  • No FAFSA on file
  • No valid MPN on file
  • No Entrance Loan Counseling
  • Enrollment status below half time when loan funds are disbursed
  • Overlapping/conflicting loan period due to incomplete transfer process
  • Federal Loan Default

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