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Student Loans

Student loans, unlike grants and work study, are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Before you take out a student loan consider carefully the amount that you will have to repay in the years after graduation. Financial aid recipients are eligible for either a Direct Subsidized Loan, a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, or a combination of both loans. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of six credits to be eligible.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Students must complete entrance counseling and a master promissory note before loans can be disbursed. Exit counseling is required when a student graduates or has a change of status during the school year.
Nicolet College will process all Federal Student and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) through the William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) Program.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

These loans are offered to undergraduate students on the basis of financial need. While attending school, the government pays the interest that accrues on these loans. Payments can be made at any time before repayment begins. Repayment of principal and interest begins:

  • Approximately six months after graduation
  • When attendance goes below half-time status
  • When withdrawn from program

150% Limit on Subsidized Direct Student Loans
Only first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the new provision. Generally, a first-time borrower is one who did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or on a FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013.

Background: On July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Public Law 112-141) was enacted. MAP-21 added a new provision to the Direct Loan statutory requirements (see HEA section 455(q)) that limits a first-time borrower’s eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of the borrower’s educational program. Under certain conditions, the provision also causes first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150 percent limit to lose the interest subsidy on their Direct Subsidized Loans. This new provision is in addition to the aggregate limit on Direct Subsidized Loans of $23,000.

What it means: For first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that Direct Subsidized Loans can be received. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies, students may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of their program. This is called “maximum eligibility period” and is based on the published length of the current program in which a student is enrolled. For example, if enrolled in a two-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is three years (150% of two years = three years).

Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.

Certain types of enrollment may cause you to become responsible for the interest that accrues on your Direct Subsidized Loans when the U.S. Department of Education usually would have paid it.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

These loans are offered to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. The student is responsible for paying all interest of any Unsubsidized Loan from the date of disbursement until the loan(s) is paid in full. If the student chooses not to pay interest while attending school, the interest will accrue and be capitalized. Repayment of principal and interest begins:

  • Approximately six months after graduation
  • When attendance goes below half-time status
  • When withdrawn from program

Loan Limits and Interest Rates

A student's award is based on eligibility, and additional steps may be required in order to receive the maximum amounts. The combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans cannot exceed the federal direct loans limits.
Direct Loan Basics for Students (PDF)

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.


Loan Entrance Counseling

Loan Borrowing Requirements

If a student is a new loan recipient at Nicolet College and awarded a Federal Direct Loan, the student is required to complete: Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.

Loan Entrance Counseling

The purpose of the Loan Entrance Counseling session is to inform students of their rights and obligations as Direct Loan borrowers. Nicolet College will be notified when the Loan Entrance Counseling requirement has been met.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The MPN is a legally-binding contract between the U.S. Department of Education and a borrower. The promissory note contains the terms and conditions of the loan, including how and when the loan must be repaid.

Loan Entrance Counseling

Master Promissory Note

Accept/Decline your Student Loans

Accept/Decline your Student Loans by logging into MyNicolet

Loan Exit Counseling

It is a requirement that any student who receives a loan(s) must complete a Loan Exit Counseling session prior to graduating or if there has been a change of status during the school year. Examples of a change of status would be withdrawing from school, falling below half-time status, not meeting satisfactory progress, or transferring to a different college.

Complete Loan Exit Counseling 

Exit Counseling Guide for Direct Loan Borrowers (PDF)

Know What You Owe (PDF)

Parent Plus Loans

Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are education loans for parents of undergraduate dependent students (students required to provide parent information on the FAFSA application) who are pursuing an education. PLUS loans are available to parents regardless of income or assets, but a credit check is performed. Parents may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance, minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) derived from the FAFSA, minus any other financial aid, scholarships and other assistance the student has already received.

The PLUS Loan goes into repayment 60 days after it is fully disbursed for the year and is the financial responsibility of the parents, not the student. If the student agrees to make payments on the PLUS Loan, but fails to make the payments on time, the parent will be held responsible.

To ensure that your PLUS loan is processed in a timely manner, you will need to complete the Nicolet Area Technical College PLUS Loan Request and Authorization Form, the Online PLUS Request Process, and the Online Master Promissory Note (MPN) as follows:

Step 1: Complete the NATC PLUS Loan Request and Authorization Form

Step 2: Complete the Online PLUS Request Process

Step 3: Complete Online Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Parent Plus Loans (PDF)

Wisconsin Nursing Student Loans

Nursing Student Loans are available to students accepted into either the Associate Degree Nursing or Licensed Practical Nursing programs. Students must be Wisconsin residents and demonstrate financial need as determined by completing the FAFSA. For nursing program graduates who become licensed RN or LPN and work in Wisconsin for a least two years, 50% of this loan may be forgiven.

Alternative Loans

Alternative or ‘private’ student loans can be an important funding source for students who need more loan funds than the federal programs can supply or who are ineligible for federal student loans. Alternative loan programs have various interest rates and terms of repayment. Alternative loans are not federally guaranteed and can take several weeks to process. All alternative loan programs require a credit check on either the borrower, co-signer or both. Before applying for an Alternative Loan, we suggest meeting withthe Nicolet College Financial Aid Director to assess eligibility and to obtain more specific information regarding the application process.


The National Student Loan Data System, or NSLDS, compiles all data involving federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Because the NSLDS is keeping the personal, financial and loan information of every student, the question of who can retrieve your information might be a privacy issue that you are worried about. Below are questions and answers tackling the privacy and security matters of your student loan information.

What Data Is Found in the NSLDS?

The data that can be retrieved in the NSLDS are the student's full name; Social Security number; date of birth; address; gender; citizenship; family income; school enrollment and status; course of study; and types of student loans obtained, including the amount and the status of the loan.

Who Can Obtain Student Information in the NSLDS?

The following private and government agencies as well as entities with the kinds of disclosure notices indicated may gather information from the NSLDS about a student account:

  • Agencies under the federal and state governments
  • Accredited consumer reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union)
  • Labor organization disclosure
  • Administrative disclosures
  • Contract disclosure
  • Enforcement disclosure
  • Department of Justice disclosure
  • Congressional member disclosure
  • Freedom of Information Act advice disclosure
  • Employee grievance, complaint, or conduct disclosure
  • Litigation and alternative dispute resolution disclosure

When Can the Student Loan Information Be Shared with the Above-Mentioned Agencies or in Response to the Listed Kinds of Disclosures?

Private or government groups will be given the right to collect student loan information only when the purpose of the request adheres to the provisions stated in the Privacy Act. Any purpose for gathering the information that does not comply with the law is not allowed by the Department of Education.

You can access your NSLDS information at