A Westminster education is worth investing in, but figuring out which loan is right for you can be daunting. So this page is your one-stop-shop to understanding the loans on your award letter—or any other loans you’re considering.
International students may be eligible for loans sponsored by US lenders provided they apply with a loan co-signer who is a US citizen or a permanent resident.
Applying for Federal Loans
Applying for loans is straightforward. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Basically, it’s a chance to get money to pay for college. Who wouldn’t want that?
First-Time Loan Borrowers
If you have never borrowed a Federal Direct Student Loan, you will be required to complete loan entrance counseling. This will provide you with useful information regarding what your loan terms are and how loan repayment will work. You can complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online.
Types of Loans
Federal Direct Student Loans are long-term, low-interest loans awarded to students by Westminster's Financial Aid Office. Eligibility for these loans is not based on credit history or income. There are 2 types of Federal Direct Student Loans:
- Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loans: Subsidized loans are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. These loans are interest-free while the student is enrolled at least half-time at Westminster or during authorized deferment periods. Interest is charged when the loan is in a repayment or forbearance status.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans: Unsubsidized loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. These loans generate interest charges as soon as they are disbursed. The interest charges may be deferred during enrollment (at least half-time) and deferment periods, but they will be capitalized (added to the outstanding loan balance).
Most students who submit a FAFSA qualify for a Federal Direct Student Loan. This is a loan offered by the government that will need to be repaid beginning 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. You are not required to make any payments while enrolled at least half-time in an eligible educational institution, however, you may choose to make regular or interest-only payments while enrolled.
These loans are funded through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
Perkins Loans are low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. New loans are no longer offered under the Federal Perkins Loan program, but if you have an existing Perkins loan, repayment information is available.
Please make Perkins Loan payments and inquiries directly to UNISA Inc., Westminster’s Perkins Loan Servicer.
7400 E Arapahoe Rd. Ste 10
Englewood, CO 80112-1279
800.875.8910 (Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. MST, with English and Spanish assistance available)
UNISA Inc.'s website
Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students
Federal Direct PLUS Loans are federally-funded loans offered to parents of dependent undergraduate students to meet the costs of higher education. Parents of dependent undergraduate students may choose to apply for an unsubsidized federal PLUS loan to assist in meeting the cost of education if the student is attending school at least a half-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students) in an approved program. Each year, parents can borrow up to the student’s annual cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid). Parents who wish to apply for a PLUS loan must first complete a FAFSA form.
Approval for a PLUS loan is based on a credit check. However, this credit check is more modest as it is not usually debt-to-income or credit score driven; rather, it determines whether the parent has an adverse credit history. An adverse credit history is defined as being 90 or more days late on any debt or having Title IV debt (including a grant overpayment) within the past 5 years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off. Students whose parent is unable to obtain a credit approval for a PLUS loan may qualify for additional funding through the Federal Direct Student Loan program.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans are federally-funded loans offered to graduate students to meet the costs of higher education. Graduate or professional students enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a graduate or professional degree or certificate may be eligible to receive a graduate PLUS loan. The yearly borrowing limit is equal to their cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. Eligibility for a graduate PLUS loan is based on a soft credit check.
Alternative loans are private loans offered to students to help pay for college by private lenders. A private loan comes from a lender such as a bank, credit union, or state-affiliated organization. Since the loans are privately funded, the terms and conditions will vary based on the lender. This also means that interest rates and fees are not federally regulated and are set by the individual lenders.
Students are highly encouraged to carefully review the details of private loans before applying as they differ from Federal Direct Student Loans. Whenever possible, students considering alternative loans are encouraged to first consider federal student loans as the terms and conditions of federal loans may be more favorable than the provisions of alternative loans.
Westminster College adheres to a Code of Conduct for Private Education Loans.
The Higher Education Act requires Westminster College (referred to throughout this document as “the institution”) to develop, administer, and enforce a Code of Conduct with respect to private education loans. This Code of Conduct addresses standards of business for the working relationships between college officials and private loan lenders.
A private education loan is any loan that is not under Title IV of the HEA and is issued to a borrower expressly for postsecondary education expenses, regardless of whether the loan is provided through the institution that the student attends or directly to the borrower from the lender.
I. Revenue-sharing Arrangements with Any Lender
The institution will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender. Specifically, the institution will not recommend a lender or loan products of a lender in exchange for a fee or other material benefit, including revenue or profit sharing.
No agent for the institution who is employed in the Financial Aid Office or who has responsibilities with private education loans may solicit or accept any prohibited gift from a lending institution. Prohibited gifts include: any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment (including expenses for shows, sporting events, or alcoholic beverages), hospitality (including private parties of select training or conference attendees), loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount. A gift includes services, transportation, lodging or meals whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.
An agent of the institution may accept items of a de minimus amount from a private education lender that are offered as general marketing or advertising or to create good will. Examples of de minimus gifts include, but are not limited to: pens or pencils, notepads, sticky-notes, rulers, calculators, small tote bags, calendars, and other office supply items.
III. Philanthropic Gifts and Contributions to the Institution
The College will not accept any philanthropic contributions from a lending institution that are related to the loans that are provided to our students, or that is provided to gain an advantage related to private education loans. In addition, we will not accept scholarships or grants from a private lending institution in exchange for loan applications or referrals for applications, or for a specific volume or dollar amount of private loans received.
The College may accept philanthropic contributions from a lender that are not related to the loans provided to our students, or that is not provided in exchange to receive an advantage related to private education loans.
IV. Consulting or Other Contractual Arrangements
An agent of the institution who is employed in the Student Service Center and/or has direct responsibilities with the private education loan programs may not accept from any lending institution any compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to or on behalf of the lender. An agent of the institution can be permitted to engage in these consulting activities as long as they are not employed in the Financial Aid Office or as long as they do not have direct responsibilities related to private education loans.
V. Choice of Lender
Agents of the institution will not:
- Assign the student’s loan to a particular lender
- Encourage or influence the student to choose a specific lender
- Show preference for one lender over another
- Refuse to certify, or cause delays in loan processing for a borrower based on their choice of lender
VI. Opportunity Pools
For purposes of this document, an opportunity pool is defined as a private education loan made by a lender to a student attending this institution or the student’s family member that involves the College paying points, premiums, additional interest, or financial support to the lender for the purpose of that lender extending credit to the borrower.
The institution will not request or accept an offer of funds from an opportunity to be used for private education loans.
VII. Staffing Assistance
The institution will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
VIII. Advisory Board Compensation
An agent for the institution with direct private education loan responsibilities may not accept anything of value in exchange for service on an advisory board established by a lending institution. If an agent of the institution without private education loan responsibilities does serve on an advisory board established by a lending institution, the agent may accept compensation for reasonable expenses incurred by that service
Eligibility for an alternative student loan is determined by the lender. In most cases, a student will need a co-signer in order to be approved. The lender will provide the student with an applicant self-certification form. Once the loan has been approved by the lender, the Westminster College Financial Aid Office will need to certify the loan amount.
More Alternative Loan Details
The amount available to be borrowed in alternative loan funding will vary by student. The certified loan amount cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance less any other financial aid received. If the amount approved by the lender is higher than the allowable maximum, it will be reduced by the school.
Students should contact the lender of their choice for application instructions. Additional information about alternative loans and a historical list of lenders that Westminster has worked with in the past can be found on ELMSelect.
Most lenders have online applications. We advise students to pursue all other source of funding before applying for an alternative loan. Please be sure to carefully review all terms and conditions before completing an application.