MaconCatalog : Financial Information : Loans
WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT LOANS - William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans are low-interest (variable rate) loans awarded by the school and provided by the federal government. The interest rate is adjusted each July 1 but will not exceed 8.25%. These loans may be either subsidized or unsubsidized.
Interest rates for July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2021:
Direct Subsidized Loans - Undergraduate Students – 2.75%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans - Undergraduate Students – 2.75%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans - Graduate Students – 4.30%
Direct Parent or Graduate Plus Loan – 5.30%
Federal Direct Loan amounts are based on the cost of attendance at a particular school and the student's grade level. Dependent students may borrow the following amounts:
$3,500/year for 1st-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.
$4,500/year for 2nd-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.
$5,500/year for 3rd or 4th-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.
The aggregate limit that an undergraduate dependent student can borrow is $31,000.
Independent students may borrow the following amounts:
$9,500/year for 1st-year undergraduates (at least $6,000 must be unsubsidized).
$10,500/year for 2nd-year undergraduates (at least $6,000 must be unsubsidized).
$12,500/year for 3rd or 4th-year undergraduates (at least $7,000 must be unsubsidized).
$20,500/year for graduate students (unsubsidized only).
The aggregate limit that an undergraduate independent student can borrow is $57,500.
The amounts listed above are maximums. Remember, a student may not borrow more than Mercer's Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid and/or scholarships.
All first-time borrowers at Mercer are required to complete entrance counseling before funds can be disbursed. Also, if they have not done so already, a student is required to complete a Master Promissory note for their Federal Direct Loans. Students are encouraged to complete these required processes electronically at to expedite the loan process.
Graduate Students
Effective for periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Direct Subsidized Loans. The $65,500 subsidized aggregate loan limit for graduate or professional students includes subsidized loans that a graduate or professional student may have received for periods of enrollment that began before July 1, 2012, or for prior undergraduate study. A graduate student’s aggregate limit is $138,500 and includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are awarded to undergraduate students only based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The interest on this loan is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time (six hours for undergraduates), and during the “grace period” (the first 6 months following withdrawal or graduation from school). After this period, the student is responsible for paying the loan payment. Please note if a student’s first disbursement was made between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, the student will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during the grace period.
For undergraduate students, all subsidized eligibility must be used before a student can receive an unsubsidized loan.
If a student is a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct Plus Loans. The “maximum eligibility period” for a Direct Subsidized Loan is based on the published length of a student’s academic program. A student cannot receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of their program.
For example, if a student is enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which the student can receive a Direct Subsidized Loan is six [6] years (150 percent of four [4] years = six [6] years).
Because a student’s maximum eligibility is based on the length of his/her current program of study, the student’s eligibility can change if they 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 towards your new maximum eligibility period. The Dept. of Education will be calculating student’s maximum eligibility period for subsidized loans. Graduate students are NOT eligible for subsidized loans.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are not awarded on the basis of financial need. Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until the loan is paid in full. The student can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accumulate. If the interest is allowed to accrue, it will be added to the principal amount of the loan, thereby increasing the amount of money the student is required to repay. Students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours to be eligible to receive this loan. Although unsubsidized loans are not awarded based on need a student is required to complete a FAFSA to receive the loan.
WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT PLUS LOANS - These loans are available to credit-worthy parents of dependent undergraduate students. To apply, a separate application must be completed every year by a parent or legal guardian. The annual limit a parent may borrow is equal to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student is receiving. Interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made, and repayment begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement each year.
Parent Plus Loan and Graduate Plus Loan Credit Requirements
All Plus loans required credit checks. Once a credit check has been run it is valid for 180 days. Credit check responses are approved or denied based on credit history.
Approved credit checks: Absent any other adverse credit history finding a PLUS loan applicant whose credit check shows that the total of any debts that are 90 or more days delinquent or that have been placed in collection or charged off is $2085 or less will not be considered to have adverse credit and therefore, will be approved and eligible for a PLUS Loan.
1. Approved credit check status means the borrower has been approved for the PLUS loan and that status will not expire for 180 days. As a result, any additional Plus Loan added within the 180-day approved credit check standing will be approved. COD will not run another credit check before the expiration date.
2. To complete the PLUS loan process, the borrower must complete a Master Promissory Note for Parent Plus Loan or Graduate Plus Loan on line at
Denied credit check due to adverse credit conditions: A denied credit check means that the student was found to have adverse credit history.
Adverse Credit History as defined by the Department of Education:
Applicant found to have adverse credit condition such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax lien, or a default determination etc.
The applicant has one or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent, in collection or have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the applicant’s credit report and the total combined outstanding balance of those debts is greater than $2,085.
Options for Adverse Credit Conditions: If you have received an adverse credit decision, you may still be eligible to receive a Direct Plus Loan. To become eligible, you may take one of the following actions:
1. Obtain an endorser and complete Plus Counseling.
An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.
If you are a parent borrower, the endorser may not be the student on whose behalf you are requesting the Direct Plus Loan.
2. Document to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that:
The information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect
There are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history (NOTE: Endorsers are not eligible for this option)
Complete Plus Counseling (available on Counseling will match the valid stand of the credit check. If after 180 days, a student applies for another PLUS Loan and is originally denied but then approved based on extenuating circumstances or endorser, another PLUS counseling will need to be completed. If a student complete the Plus Counseling more than 30 days prior to the credit check, Plus Counseling will need to be completed again.
If you feel that the information your credit decision is based on is incorrect or you believe you qualify for a review based on extenuating circumstances, you may begin the process in one of the following ways:
1. Log in to and select "Document Extenuating Circumstances" on the left navigation bar. Follow directions. Applicant Services will contact you with further instructions.
2. Contact Applicant Services between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Applicant Services may be reached toll-free, at 1-800-557-7394.
3. Contact Applicant Services between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday via Live Chat on the Contact Us page.
OTHER UNIVERSITY LOAN FUNDS - There are several very limited loan funds administered through the University. These funds are awarded on a restricted basis. Application for these funds is the same as for all other funds administered directly through the University. A listing of these loan funds is provided as follows:
Agnes M. and Oscar Lee Bridges Fund
Chaffin-Dickey Memorial Student Loan Fund
Aquilla J. Cheney Fund
Coachman Brothers Trust Fund
George Boyce Connell Memorial Fund
John Cleveland Dukes Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar O. Hawkins Student Loan Fund
McWhorter Fund
Oliver S. Porter Loan Fund
William H. Prior Fund
Joseph M. Terrell Fund
J. Ovid Stewart Memorial Loan Fund
Mary Wilder Emergency Loan Fund