Understanding Loans 


While Berry College desires that students receive all of the grants and scholarships possible each academic year, many students will still need to take out loans to help finance their education goals.

About Student Loans 

Educational loans are the largest financial resource available to students pursuing postsecondary education, as nearly two-thirds of students attending 4-year institutions will graduate with student loan debt. Student loan programs allow students to borrow money at low interest rates, with no collateral, and generally no co-signer (with the potential exception of Private Loans). Additionally, most student loans do not need to be repaid until the student graduates or drops to below half time status.

Students are reminded that borrowing money for college is a serious financial obligation. In addition to the principal borrowed, interest is charged for the use of the funds. It is important to remember that when money is borrowed, it must eventually be repaid. You are required to sign a promissory note, a legal document that obligates you to repay the loan. Think about this commitment carefully when taking out a loan, and consider how much you can reasonably afford to repay.

From a financial standpoint, it is wise to pursue loans in the following order: 

  1. Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (for students) 
  2. Federal Perkins Loans (need-based, if eligible)  
  3. Federal Direct Parent PLUS (for parents)
  4. Private Loans (for students; must be school certified)  

How to Apply:

At Berry College, eligibility for student loans requires that students apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents of dependent students must obtain a FAFSA PIN to complete the FAFSA. A week or so after completing the FAFSA, the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will confirm the information that has been entered on the FAFSA. It is important to review the SAR for any errors and messages. After the FAFSA is processed, the Office of Financial Aid sends each student a Financial Aid Award letter.

Students accept the loan(s) awarded online through VikingWeb. After accepting their loans online, students will be instructed to continue with the process to complete the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), and to complete the one-time online Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. The MPN is complete once and is good for 10 years unless the student changes schools.
For Direct Parent PLUS, the borrower completes a separate online application including a credit check with the U.S. Department of Education.