If you are not eligible for grant funding, Loans are monies that you and/or your parents will repay with interest over a specified period of time. Often, students are not eligible for grant funding, but they still need funding for college. Loan programs are the answer. They allow you and your parents to finance an education that may not have otherwise been affordable.

Federal Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan Program was phased out on September 30, 2017.  No new loans can be made after September 30, 2017.

What is the Perkins Loan?
The Perkins Loan is a low interest loan program that is funded by the Federal government and administered by the University. Loans are made in the student's name.

How do I apply for a Perkins Loan?
In order to apply for the Perkins Loan, you must complete the FAFSA application by Pitt-Johnstown's April 1 priority filing deadline. If we determine that you are eligible to receive the Perkins Loan, you will need to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at
NOTE: Your FAFSA FSA ID is required to complete this process. If you do not have a valid FSA ID (or don't remember your FSA ID), you can get assistance at the Department of Education site:

How much can I borrow?
The award amount and the eligibility requirements for the Perkins Loan are determined by the Financial Aid Office; therefore, it is not uncommon for award amounts to vary from school to school, since each institution is responsible for developing its own eligibility criteria.

What is the interest rate?
The interest rate on a Perkins Loan is fixed at 5%.

When does repayment begin?
Repayment on the Perkins Loan begins 9 months after the student graduates, withdraws, or enrolls less than half-time (6 credits).

Federal Direct Student Loans

What are Direct Loans? 

Direct Loans are an available resource for students who are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) and are either subsidized or unsubsidized.

  • Direct Subsidized Loan-a Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. The Federal government makes the interest payment on this loan while you are enrolled in school; therefore, you will not be charged any interest before you begin repayment or during any deferment periods.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan-a Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You are responsible for the interest that accrues on the loan from the time of disbursement until it is paid in full; however, you may elect to capitalize your interest, which takes the interest that accrues during the year and adds it to the principal of the loan.

How much can I borrow?

You may borrow a maximum of $31,000 as a dependent, undergraduate or $57,500 as an independent, undergraduate in the Federal Direct Loan program. As you complete credits, the amount of loan money that you are permitted to borrow increases:

Completed Credits

Dependent Students

Independent Students


$ 5,500 (of which $3,500 can be subsidized)

$ 9,500 *(of which $3,500 can be subsidized)


$ 6,500 (of which $4,500 can be subsidized)

$ 10,500 *(of which $4,500 can be subsidized)

54 or more

$ 7,500 (of which $5,500 can be subsidized)

$ 12,500 * (of which $5,500 can be subsidized)

*Amounts include additional unsubsidized loan funds which are available to independent students and to dependent students whose parents are denied the PLUS loan. Also, please note that lenders can take origination fees ranging from 1%-4% of your loan which is deducted from the amount borrowed.

What is the interest rate? 

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

  • 4.45% for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018
  • 3.76% for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017

When does repayment begin?

Repayment begins following the six month grace period, meaning that six months after you graduate, withdraw from the institution or drop below half-time status (less than six credits), you will begin repayment.

How do I apply for the Direct Student Loan?

You can apply for the Direct Student Loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once your financial aid file is complete, we will certify your Direct Student Loan. If you are a first-time borrower, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. You will also need to complete entrance counseling, which can be done online at

How do I choose a lender?

The University of Pittsburgh participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This means that all Direct loan borrowers, including students at the Johnstown campus, will borrow Direct Student Loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Federal Direct Plus Loans

What are Direct PLUS Loans?
Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are federally guaranteed loans available to help pay for your child's educational expenses. In order to be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, you must have an acceptable credit history and your son or daughter must be enrolled at least half time (at least 6 credits) and making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree. Both the borrower and the student must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.

How much can I borrow?
The annual limit on a Direct PLUS Loan is equal to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid that the student is receiving. For example, if the cost of attendance is $15,000 and the student is receiving $7,000 in other financial aid, then you could borrow up to -- but no more than -- $8,000. A 4.264% origination fee is deducted from each Direct PLUS loan. 

What is the interest rate?
The interest rate on a Direct PLUS Loan is fixed at 7.00%. Interest is charged on a Direct PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full.

  • Because credit checks are only valid for 180 days, PLUS loan requests will be available at according to the following schedule:
    • Academic year (August - April) - Approximately mid-March
    • Summer (May – August) – Approximately mid-January

When does repayment begin?
Two repayment options exist:

  • Begin repayment of the principal and interest 60 days after the loan fully disburses.
  • Defer principal and interest payments until six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits). Deferments must be requested on an annual basis, and interest accrues during deferment periods. To request deferment, call 800-848-0979.

How do I choose a lender?
You will not select a lender. Pitt-Johnstown participates in the Direct Loan program, so you will borrow from the U.S. Department of Education. 

How do I apply for a Direct PLUS Loan?

  • All Parent PLUS applications must be initiated with the Department of Education at
  • Parent borrowers must sign in using their own Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to complete the Direct Loan PLUS Request. If you do not have an FSA ID, visit
  • Because credit checks are only valid for 180 days, PLUS loan requests will be available at according to the following schedule:

Academic year (August - April) - Approximately mid-May
Summer (May – August) – Approximately mid-March

  • First-time borrowers, whose credit is approved, must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You may complete the MPN electronically at and use your federal FSA ID to sign the MPN (recommended), or you have the option to have a paper MPN mailed to you for completion.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at (if you have not already done so). Pitt-Johnstown will not process this request until a completed FAFSA is on file.

What happens if I am denied the Direct PLUS Loan?
If your application is denied due to adverse credit, two alternate options exist:

  • Seek a credit-worthy endorser for the loan. If an endorser is used, the MPN becomes a "single loan" note and is not valid for 10 years. By signing, the endorser promises to repay the loan if you fail to repay the loan.
  • The student may apply for additional unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan funds, up to $4000 for students who have completed 53 or fewer credits and up to $5,000 for students who have completed 53.5 or more credits. You must reapply for the Direct PLUS Loan each year and be denied in order for your child to receive the additional unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan. 
Loan Counseling
A new provision requires special loan counseling for any PLUS Loan applicant who has an adverse credit history but who qualifies for a PLUS Loan through the process of reconsideration due to extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an endorser for the loan.

Alternative Loans

Alternative Loans are private educational loans that are available to students in need of additional assistance after all other types of funding have been exhausted. You, the student, will be the borrower of the Alternative Loan; however, you may need a credit-worthy individual to act as a co-signer.

How much am I eligible to borrow?
Although some lenders limit the amount that you may borrow annually, the general rule of thumb is that you may borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid you may be receiving. For example, the cost of attendance is $20,000 and you are receiving $8,000 in other aid, you could borrow up to $12,000, as long as your lender approves you for that amount. We recommend that you be a savvy borrower and borrow only what you need to cover your education-related expenses. This is a loan that must be repaid with interest, after all!

When does repayment begin?
Repayment terms and conditions also vary from lender to lender. Some lenders offer delayed repayment options, while others require interest only or principal and interest payments while the student is enrolled in school. Please be advised that the interest on delayed repayment options begins to accrue immediately, so you should try to make payments on your Alternative Loan if possible.

How do I choose a lender?
You are able to apply for a loan through any lender that offers alternative loans. When choosing a lender, you should do your homework and choose a lender that best suits your needs as a borrower. You may find FAST CHOICE to be a useful tool in helping you make your decision.  FAST CHOICE offers loan comparisons, loan counseling and debt management resources, and borrowing options to fit your individual need.  Neither the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown nor the Financial Aid Office endorse, promote, or recommend lenders or any loan products. Please note that Federal Credit Unions generally require membership to be eligible for their loan product.

How do I apply for an Alternative Loan?
We anticipate approximately four to six weeks for complete loan processing. To ensure the timely delivery of your alternative loan, please apply early and respond quickly to any requests from your lender. The application process is outlined below.

1. Complete and submit an alternative loan application to the lender of your choice. Ensure all necessary information is included, such as co-signer information, proof of income, etc.

  • When you complete the application you are also signing the Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  • The lender will send an Application Disclosure Statement giving you general information about the loan terms.

2. The lender will perform a credit check and determine your eligibility. If all necessary paperwork is complete and the borrower and co-signer meet the credit requirement, the lender approves the loan; if not, the lender may request additional information from the borrower or co-signer.

  • If credit-approved, you must submit a completed Self-Certification Form to the lender before school certification will be requested. The Self-Certification form requires you to provide your estimated cost of attendance (COA) which may be obtained via the Financial Aid Fact Sheet or by calling the Financial Aid Office at 814-269-7045.
  • If credit-approved, you will also receive an Approval Disclosure Statement with the terms and agreements specific to your loan. Upon receiving the Approval disclosure, you and your co-signer, if applicable, must accept the loan within 30 calendar days. Federal regulations require that the borrower and co-signer actively accept the loan at this time. Each lender will determine the means as to how you and your co-signer will actively accept the loan.
  • Failure to actively accept the loan within 30 days will stop the loan process.

3. After the borrower actively accepts the loan, the lender notifies Pitt-Johnstown's Financial Aid Office to complete school certification.

  • Certification by the school can take approximately three weeks depending on the time of year.
  • The school provides the certification to the lender electronically.

4. After school certification is completed, the lender sends the Final Disclosure Statement to you.

  • Once the lender presents the Final Disclosure Statement to you and your co-signer, if applicable, the disbursement is locked and no changes can be made to the loan; however, the loan may be cancelled upon your request.
  • You or your co-signer, if applicable, have a three day period to cancel the loan. Please note that many lenders allow for a three day mailing period, giving you a total of six days to cancel the loan from the date printed on the Final Disclosure Statement.

5. The lender disburses the loan to Pitt-Johnstown after the Final Disclosure cancellation period has expired.

  • Watch for the loan to disburse to your Pitt-Johnstown account.