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Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between a subsidized Direct Loan and an unsubsidized Direct Loan?
No interest is charged on a subsidized Direct Loan while you are in school attending at least half-time. Interest does not begin to accumulate until after your 6-month grace period after you cease enrollment. An unsubsidized Direct Loan begins accruing interest immediately after you receive the funds.

What are the interest rates for Direct Loans?
The subsidized Direct Loan interest rate for the 2016-2017 academic year is 3.76 percent. The unsubsidized Direct Loan interest rate is 3.76 percent. The Direct PLUS loan interest rate is 6.31 percent.

What is the maximum amount that I can borrow?

 Dependent Student Independent Student

0-29 credits  

$3,500 subsidized

$5,500 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.

$3,500 subsidized

$9,500 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.

30-59 credits

$4,500 subsidized

$6,500 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.

$4,500 subsidized

$10,500 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.

Maximum Total

$23,000 subsidized

$31,000 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.

$23,000 subsidized

$57,500 total subsidized and unsubsidized combined.


What is a Federal Perkins Loan?
The Federal Perkins Loan has a five percent fixed interest rate, and you do not begin repaying it until nine months after you leave school or enroll less than half-time.

The Perkins Loan is a subsidized type loan, with the interest being paid by the federal government during the in-school and 9-month grace periods. There are no origination or default fees, and the interest rate is 5%. There is a 10-year repayment period. If you are an undergraduate student, you may be eligible to receive up to $5,500 a year. Perkins loans may be forgiven for certain career fields including law enforcement, nursing, and medical technicians. Perkins Loan Forgiveness information.

Do I need to do anything to accept my financial aid?
Your grant funds and other gift aid will automatically be applied to your account at Minnesota West. You will need to apply for any loans that you are eligible for. You can do that on your e Services Student Account.

What is a book voucher and how do I know if I qualify for one?
If you have submitted a valid FAFSA to Minnesota West, you are eligible to use a book voucher to purchase required textbooks. If your financial aid does not completely cover the cost of your books, you will be required to pay the balance owed. To use a book voucher, please stop in the bookstore or visit the online bookstore site.  When making your purchase, if you are eligible, the system will allow the charge to be placed on your student account. Be sure to bring your printed class list with you to the bookstore.

When will I get my financial aid overage check/direct deposit?
If your financial aid paperwork is complete, your funds will be disbursed on the Financial Aid Overage Disbursement date found on the student calendar.

How do I know if I qualify for work study? 
If you indicated on your FAFSA that you were interested in Work Study AND you qualify, your Award Letter will reflect the amount you are eligible to earn.  If you have any questions contact a Resource Specialist or the Communication Center.

Will my financial aid be affected if I withdraw from one or all of my classes?
You receive financial aid based on the number of credits that you are taking so any change in your credits may affect the amount of aid that you are eligible to receive. You may have to return funds that were previously disbursed to you. If you withdraw after 60% of the semester is over, you may not have to return your financial aid. Check with your Advisor to discuss your individual situation before you withdraw from any classes.

What is an overaward?
Federal and State regulations prohibit you from receiving financial assistance that exceeds your calculated financial need or the cost of attending Minnesota West. Therefore, if you receive additional assistance that we were not aware of when we processed your application, you may be overawarded and we may reduce, cancel or collect back some of your awards.