A loan is financial assistance that enables students and parents to borrow money from the federal government, state government or private lenders. These loans must be repaid. Borrowers are responsible for signing a Master Promissory Note for each loan program. When signed, the Master Promissory Note is a binding, legal document through which the borrower agrees to repay the loan. The promissory note should be read carefully and a copy retained for the borrower’s records. Please note that students who are non-degree seeking or who are seeking teacher certification after graduation are only eligible for alternative loans in most cases. Students and /or parents processing federal direct loans will have information submitted to NSLDS and will be accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

Federal Direct Loans

College Access Loan (CAL)

Texas B-On-Time Loan

Federal Perkins Loan

Alternative Loans

Semester Loans

Defaulted Loans




Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution.

Student loan borrowing cannot exceed the cost of attendance, nor may you borrow over the annual and lifetime aggregates that are set for the Direct Loan. The Department of Education assesses an origination fee on each loan upon disbursement. The type of loan you are offered is based upon the results of the FAFSA.

With Direct Loans, you

  • Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact-the Direct Loan Servicing Center—for everything related to the repayment of your loans, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
  • Have online access to your Direct Loan account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Direct Loans on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.

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Types of Direct Loans

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan (Sub)
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Unsub)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Parents of Dependent Students

             In order for the PLUS loan to be processed, you MUST complete the following:

    • The parent must login to and complete the "PLUS Loan Request Process".
    • The parent must complete PLUS Counseling at
    • The parent must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on  If you believe you have a valid MPN, please login on, and check under completed MPNs.

Direct Loan Counseling

  • Entrance Counseling: Each student receiving a Direct Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) at Sam Houston State University must complete Loan Entrance Counseling. This is also true for students that have completed Entrance Counseling on a previous FFELP Stafford Loan (prior to Summer 2010).
  • Exit CounselingUpon withdrawing, graduating, dropping below half-time, or simply not returning, you will be sent information on how to complete exit counseling. 

Note:  Online counseling may require the used of specific browsers and/or browser settings.  If you encounter difficulties completing a counseling session, please notify the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.


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Processing Your Federal Direct Loans

If you have been offered a FEDERAL DIRECT LOAN (subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS or GradPLUS), you must complete the following steps.

STEP 1:  Accept or reject your loan offer

  • Go to: My Sam; My Account; Financial Aid Awards
  • Select the Academic Year
  • Review EACH tab, from left to right!
  • On the "Resources/Additional Information" tab, scroll down to complete all fields and select the "Submit Information" button.
  • On the "Terms and Conditions" tab, scroll down to review and complete all fields.
  • "Accept Award Offer" tab will then become available.
  • Review award(s) and the Options for accepting.
  • "Accept" full amount or "Submit Decision" if you will only accept some items, but not all.

STEP 2:  Loan Entrance Counseling (ALL NEW BORROWERS AT SHSU)

STEP 3:  Complete Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN) for Direct Loans

An eMPN can be completed in approximately 30 minutes.  Make sure you allow enough time to complete the entire process in a single session.  If you exit the website before submitting your signed MPN in Step 8 and return later, you will have to start over beginning with Step 1.

  1. FSA ID registration
  2. Disclosure and Consent
  3. Provide Name and School
  4. Complete MPN
  5. Review/Read Draft MPN
  6. Sign your MPN
  7. Review signed MPN/enter Confirmation Code
  8. Confirm Acceptance of MPN Terms and Submit MPN
  9. Success!  Now print your MPN for your records (Do NOT submit to your school)

Once you complete the eMPN process correctly, SHSU will receive notification electronically that you have completed your MPN.  This will allow the Financial aid and Scholarships Office to continue processing your loan.  Applications completed timely should be disbursed to pay University charges 5 business days before the 1st class day for Fall and Spring semesters.


College Access Loan Program (CAL)

The College Access Loan Program provides alternative educational loans to Texas students who are unable to meet the cost of attendance. 

For eligibility and additional information: THECB website. 


Texas B-On-Time Loan

The Texas B-On-Time Loan is a no-interest loan for eligible Texas students with the added benefit that if the borrower meets specified goals, the entire loan amount can be forgiven upon graduation. This loan is funded by the State of Texas, with repayment made to Hinson Hazelwood, The Texas Higher Education Co-ordinating Board (THECB).

For eligibility, renewal and other information: THECB website. 


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Federal Perkins Loan Program

Loans made through the Federal Perkins Loan Program are low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.

For eligibility and other information: Federal Student Aid website.

***Effective for the 2015-16 academic year, Perkins Loan is only available to students who have previously received this loan at our institution.


Defaulted Loans

SHSU will not automatically award or process any loans for individuals who have defaulted on their student loans. 

Students submitting documentation that the defaulted loan has been repaid or satisfactory repayment arrangements have been made may be considered for grants and work study. 

The letter (from the respective guaranty agency) must also state that the student is now eligible for further financial aid. 


Alternative Loans (Private)

Alternative loans should be considered once you have explored the options available through the Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and/or PLUS loan programs. Some families turn to alternative loans when the federal loans don't provide enough money, they need more flexible repayment options, or when the student is not eligible for federal funding.


Sam Houston State University utilizes ELMSelect, a neutral lender and product comparison tool.  Click to view our suggested Lender List for Undergraduate and Graduate students.  We recommend these lenders based on the products and services they provide to students.  However, if you wish to use another lender that is not on this list, you have the right to do so.


Determining How Much to Borrow

Use your award letter on your MySam account to view your Budget, or contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office to determine your maximum alternative loan eligibility. You should only request loan funds to cover your specific educational needs rather than the maximum allowed for the enrollment period. We recommend you borrow for the full academic year, rather than one semester at a time. Interest does not begin accruing on each portion of the loan until that portion is actually disbursed. Calculate how much you need to borrow for the semester and double that amount to cover both the fall and spring semesters.


Advantages of a Co-signer

Eligibility for alternative loans often depends on the student's credit score; therefore, a cosigner is most often required. Even if a cosigner is not required, the student can usually receive a more favorable rate with a cosigner.  Alternative loans generally cost more than the education loans offered by the federal government but are less expensive than credit card debt.  A parent might be willing to cosign a note for the student, but may want the student to bear primary responsibility for repaying the loan.


Loan Periods

Use the following dates for the 2015-2016 loan periods on your application. Please note, some programs may have different loan periods. Contact our office or your lender if you have questions.

Undergraduates and Graduate Students


8/15 - 5/16


8/15 - 12/15

Spring ONLY

1/16 - 5/16

Full Summer

6/16 - 8/16

Summer 1

6/16 - 7/16

Summer 2

7/16 - 8/16

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Semester Loans

A semester loan, also known as an emergency loan (ETFL) or a book Loan (STL), is a short-term funding option to assist with educational expenses.  These loans are disbursed through the University, and they differ from Federal Direct Loans.  Prior to receiving a semester loan for a Fall or a Spring semester, University charges (tuition & fees, and related expenses) must be in installments. 

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