Many students take out loans to fund a portion of their college expenses. Loans must be repaid, so be sure to plan your finances carefully and borrow only what you can afford to repay. And when you look at student borrowing among our colleges’ graduates, it mirrors levels at public institutions.

Major loan programs

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
    Also known as Direct Stafford Loans, these loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank. If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest while you're in school. Unsubsidized loans require that you pay the accrued interest. Learn more about this program.
  • Direct PLUS Loan (parent loan)
    The PLUS Loan is a federal loan for parents of dependent students. They are disbursed through the U.S. Department of Education with a fixed interest rate. Learn more about this program.
  • SELF Loans
    The Minnesota Student Education Loan Fund (SELF) requires a credit-worthy co-signer and payment of interest while the borrower is in school. Learn more about this program.
  • Private loans
    There are non-federal private loans for students who need to borrow more than their subsidized/unsubsidized loan amounts. Students pursuing private loans will need to apply separately with the lender of their choice. Loans are based on credit; students will generally need a credit-worthy co-signer. There are also non-federal private loans for parents, family members or other individuals who may want to borrow to help a student with their educational financing.

How much should you borrow?

It’s best to avoid borrowing more than you’ll be able to repay after graduation. A reasonable monthly student loan payment should not exceed 8% of your monthly income. See the additional resources on the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website.