Explore Student Loan Options

When you apply for financial aid, you may see loans included as part of your financial aid offer. Accepting loans is a personal choice and not required if offered. It is important that you fully understand how interest has the potential to stack up and what your options are for repayment. The more you know and prepare, the more successful you will be at managing student debt.

What does "This" Mean?

If you are a first-time borrower, some of the language surrounding loans may be unfamiliar to you. We have compiled a short glossary of frequently used terms to help.

Learn Financial Aid Terminology


Average MSU Texas student loan debt upon graduation

Six Months

You are not required to start paying back your Federal Student Loans for up to six months after leaving school


Of students at MSU Texas graduate without student loan debt

What Kinds of Loans Are Available?

Not all loans are created equal. It is important to know the basic aspects of each loan type before you lock in with a master promissory note. If you have questions, we are here to help you understand.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direction loans are the most common loans that students acquire. In order to receive these loans, you need to be enrolled at least half-time. You cannot borrow in excess of the total amount of your cost of attendance, including all other financial aid received.

Read More about Federal Direct Loans

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Subsidized Loans

A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan does not begin to accrue interest while you are in school at least half-time or in deferment. These loans are need-based.

Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans begin to accrue interest as soon as they are issued to you. Eligibility for these loans are not based on a student's financial need.

PLUS Loans

Federal Direct PLUS loans are available to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. These loans are not need-based, but they do require a credit check.
A graduating student holds up the Mustangs Hand Sign during the commencement ceremony.

Options Beyond Federal Direct Loans

College Access Loan

The College Access Loan (CAL) is a Texas-based loan. Similar to PLUS loans, these loans are not need-based, but do require a credit check. Interest begins to accrue from the date of disbursement.

Alternative Private Loans

Private loans should be only considered once all other loan options have been exhausted. Each lender has different eligibility and repayment options. Interest typically is higher, and they do not offer the same flexibility with repayment or potential with forgiveness.

Book Loans

You may qualify to apply for a book loan if your financial aid refund check is less than $1,000 or if you are not receiving financial aid but still need help in order to afford your text books for the semester.

(Note: The following link will have application information available only during the time we are accepting applications.)

A group of smiling students walk through the quad, while several hold up the Mustangs Hand Sign.

Explore Payment Plans

Payment plans, or Emergency Tuition and Fee Loans (ETFL) are short-term loans available to you that allow you to pay your tuition and fee expenses over the course of the semester.

This is a great option for students who want to avoid taking out federal student loans and stay on top of covering their college expenses in real time.

These loans are administered through the MSU Texas Business Office.

Repayment of Student Loans

While we are responsible for disbursing your loans, repayment is entirely your responsibility. That said, we are here to help you understand your options. The information provided below is limited to Federal Direct Loans.

What are the different types of Repayment Plans?

You have several options for repayment and each is designed with different needs in mind:

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan

Get the Specifics for All Federal Repayment Plans

What will my loan payment be each month?

This varies based on what repayment plan you select. Fortunately, there is a Loan Simulator that you can use to get estimates to compare and weigh your options.

How much loan money have I borrowed?

Log in to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) using your login information used when you set up your FSA ID for the FAFSA.

Who is my Loan Servicer and where do I send payment?

This information may be found in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Log in with the login information you used when you set up your FSA ID for the FAFSA? Here, you will find your loan servicer. We encourage you to check out the servicer's website. Many loan servicers have apps that can help maintain communications, allow you to easily submit renewal forms, observe your account balances, and even make payments.

What Is Loan Consolidation?

Loan Consolidation is essentially what it sounds like — it combines all of your student loans into a single loan.

Why would I want to consolidate my loan?
There are a number of reasons to consider loan consolidation:

  • If you have multiple accounts (loans from undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, parent PLUS loans, etc.) consolidating with a lower fixed rate might make more sense for you.
  • If you are considering a loan forgiveness or cancellation option, it may be necessary for you to consolidate your loans.
  • If you need to lower your monthly payment, loan consolidation can help with that. But note that consolidation generally extends the life of your loan, so you pay more in interest as you will be making more payments overall.

Learn More about Loan Consolidation

What if I have financial hardship and I am temporarily unable to repay my loan?

Life happens and you would not be the first person to face this dilemma. As such, there are safeguards in place to help.

If you anticipate your situation to be short term, you may qualify for either a deferment or a forbearance, which would allow you to temporarily suspend your payments. Note: You will continue to accrue interest during this time. Alternatively, you may want to consider switching to an Income-Driven Repayment plan to lower your monthly payments. These plans are based on your income and family size and, in some cases, you will not owe any payment.

The most important thing is to contact your loan servicer. They will be able to help you sort through your options.

Find Out More about Getting Temporary Relief

What are my options if I am delinquent on my student loan repayment?

Contact your loan servicer. If you are struggling to make payments, it is possible that a different payment plan is a better option for you. Your loan servicer can help you weigh your options and make good choices.

After 90 days of being delinquent, your loan servicer will report the delinquency to the three major credit bureaus, which can be detrimental to your credit. Additionally, the longer your loans remain delinquent, the more they risk going into default. This is avoidable — your loan servicer can help.

Get More Information about Delinquent Payments

What are my options if I am in default on my student loans?

Defaulted loans have devastating consequences. If you default on your student loans, you have a few options:

  • Check to see if you are eligible for a Fresh Start.
  • Repay the defaulted loan(s) in full. (This is often not a practical option.)
  • Rehabilitate your loan(s).
  • Consolidate your loan(s).

Read More about Getting Out of Default

Additional Resources from Federal Student Aid

The Federal Student Aid website — this is where you go to complete the FAFSA — hosts a number valuable articles and resources that may help you find more peace of mind when considering student loans. Below, we have highlighted two of our most recommended articles.

Money Management Checklist

No student wants to interrupt their education because of financial troubles. Here is a checklist to help you manage your financial life while in school.

Download the Checklist

Creating a Budget

Creating a budget may sound complicated, but all you need to do to get started is set aside some time to get organized – the benefits will make the effort worthwhile. The following steps will help you set up your budget and manage your finances by helping you track your income and expenses.

Learn About Budgeting

Be Money Smart: Increase Your Financial Literacy

The Tutoring and Academic Support Programs (TASP) offers resources to help students like you learn how to budget and manage your money. Stay ahead of the curve for a lifetime of financial security.

Will You Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?

There are programs that will forgive the remaining balance of your loan(s) after meeting certain eligibility requirements. The federal government understands that there is increased need for college-educated individuals to take on careers that may not offer the most lucrative pay – government employees, those who work for nonprofit organizations, and teachers. To offset your service, they have established the following loan forgiveness programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you plan to work for the government or a nonprofit organization, you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. If eligible, once you have made 120 qualifying payments, the remaining balance of your student loans will be forgiven.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Are you considering becoming a teacher? If so, you may qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Unlike the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness loan caps at $17,500.

Find Out If You Are Eligible for Loans

All government-issued loans require completion of a financial aid application. If you are considering a private lender, please consult with them to determine eligibility.
Two students laugh and shake hands during an event.


You must complete the FAFSA in order to qualify for federal student loans.


The TASFA can be used to determine eligibility for College Access Loan (CAL) loans.

Student Loans FAQs

What is Entrance Counseling?

Entrance Counseling is required before you can accept student loans. It ensures you understand the terms and conditions of your loan and your rights and responsibilities. You will learn what a loan is, how interest works, your options for repayment, and how to avoid delinquency and default.

Learn More about Entrance Counseling

What is Exit Counseling?

Exit Counseling is required for all graduates, students who drop to less than half-time, and those who withdraw from the university or leave under any other reason. Exit counseling offers invaluable information regarding the terms and conditions surrounding the repayment of student loans upon departure from the university.

Read More about Exit Counseling