One of the most common questions I hear at financial aid offices is, “have you completed your FAFSA?” Most students, this time of year, have. However, there may be other requirements that you need to complete before receiving your federal loans. Your financial aid is sent to the institution, but before they disburse the funds, you may need to sign the master promissory note and complete entrance loan counseling. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the Master Promissory Note?
According to the Federal Student Aid website, the Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. This step must be done if you plan on taking out any federal loans. The process takes about 30 minutes, you will need your FSA ID, contact information on two references with their mailing addresses, phone numbers, and emails – the references cannot be from the same household. You will need to add your school(s) on the MPN and they will be notified that you completed it. To complete your MPN go to: studentloans.gov.
What is Entrance Loan Counseling?
The Federal Government requires you to complete Entrance Loan Counseling (ELC) to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming when you take out a student loan. This counseling teaches you about interest rates, repayment plans, and living expenses. Entrance Loan Counseling is required if you plan on taking out any federal loans. The process takes about 30 minutes; you will need your FSA ID, school name(s), and details of your income and financial aid. According to studentaid.ed.gov, your school will tell you how to complete your entrance counseling – some require in-person counseling, or you may be able to complete the counseling online (the school will provide the URL for your counseling if it’s available online).
Who should fill out the MPN or ELC?
All first time federal loan borrowers will be required to sign the MPN, and either the ELC with the federal government or through their institutions financial aid office. Additionally if a parent plans on taking out the Parent PLUS Loan, they will also need to complete their own MPN, after completing the PLUS application. Just like the student, the parent must also use their FSA ID that was created during the FAFSA process to log into the MPN.
Where can I get Help?
If you need help filling out the MPN or the ELC, you can contact your institutions financial aid office. Additionally, if you need any help navigating the college process and/or developing a plan for your postsecondary goals, contact the ACPE Success Center 907-269-7980 or ACPESuccessCenter@alaska.gov for free assistance!