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Loans are types of aid you borrow and must be repaid. Your award letter may include any combination of loans, grants, work-study and/or scholarships.

All financial aid programs are dependent upon your completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which opens each year beginning October 1. Financial aid programs also require that students be enrolled at least six hours in a degree or certificate program at ACU and meet eligibility requirements as set forth in the ACU Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Explore the various types of federal and private loans available.

Accepting Your Loan(s) on Banner Self Serve

You must accept, reduce or decline each loan or work-study listed on your financial aid award or your funds will not pay into your account. All grants and scholarships are already at an “accepted” status because they do not require repayment; therefore, if you have grants and/or scholarships only, you are not required to complete the following steps.

  1. Log in to your myACU account using your username and password. If you have been admitted and do not have a myACU username and password, please click here.
  2. Select the “Banner” tab at the top of the page.
  3. Click in the “Student Services and Financial Aid” tab.
  4. Click on “Financial Aid.”
  5. Click on “Award.”
  6. Select Award Year 2020-21 (or 2019-20 for currently enrolled students) from the drop-down menu.
  7. Click on the “Award Overview” tab to review your awards.
  8. Select “Accept Award Offer” tab.
  9. Determine if you plan to accept, reduce or decline each award and mark accordingly.

To accept all awarded loans and amounts:

  • Click the “Accept All Awards” button.

To decline a loan(s):

  • Select “Decline” from the drop-down box next to the loan(s) you do not want.
  • Click “Submit Decision” button.

To accept a lesser amount of your student loan(s) than you were awarded:

  • Enter the decreased amount of loan you desire in the entry field under the heading “Accept Partial Amount”.
  • Select “Accept” from the drop-down box next to the loan.
  • Click “Submit Decision” button.

Note: If you have accepted your student loan(s), you are not done yet. Your student loan(s) will remain awarded, but will not be disbursed (paid) to your account until you have completed the application (if applicable) and Master Promissory Note (MPN).

While you can view your award online at any time, once you click on “Submit Decision,” you cannot make any changes through your myACU account without contacting the Helpline by calling 800-460-6228 or via email (

Types of Loans Available

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans

The Federal Direct Loan Program consists of subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Repayment of these loans may be deferred while you are attending the university on a half-time or full-time basis.

The subsidized loan is awarded according to demonstrated financial need. Interest is paid by the federal government as long as you are enrolled at least half-time at the university and during your six month grace period. Repayment of the loan begins at the end of the six month grace period after leaving school or dropping below half-time.

The unsubsidized loan is awarded regardless of demonstrated need. Interest begins accruing from the date of disbursement. By making interest payments while in school, capitalization of the interest can be avoided. When interest is capitalized, it is added to the principal amount of the loan upon which further interest charges are based.

Direct Loan Limits

Dependent undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-seeking program may borrow per year up to:

  • $5,500 as a freshman
  • $6,500 as a sophomore (at least 30 credit hours earned)
  • $7,500 as a junior or senior (at least 60 credit hours earned)
  • Maximum amount allowed to borrow while in school: $31,000

Independent undergraduate students and dependent students whose parents have been denied access to a Federal Direct PLUS Loan may borrow per year up to:

  • $9,500 as a freshman ($3,500 of which may be subsidized loans)
  • $10,500 as a sophomore ($4,500 of which may be subsidized loans)
  • $12,500 as a junior or senior ($5,500 of which may be subsidized loans)
  • Maximum amount allowed to borrow while in school: $57,500

Graduate students are generally allowed to borrow up to $20,500 each academic year.

Interest Rates for 2020-21
Student Type Subsidized Rates Unsubsidized/Graduate Rates
Undergraduate 4.53% Fixed 4.53% Fixed
Graduate  – 6.6%

Loan interest rates for the next academic year are set by the federal government by July 1.

Accept your award online. Students accepting a Direct Loan for the 2020-21 academic year must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) with the federal government before funds will be disbursed (paid) to their account.

Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loans

Parents of dependent students (who are enrolled at least half time) may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. This loan can be used to supplement other financial aid awarded to a student, such as the Direct Stafford Loan. Repayment of the Direct PLUS Loan is not automatically deferrable. Parents must begin repayment within 60 days after the entire loan has been disbursed if a deferment is not requested.

Interest Rates for 2020-21: 7.08% Fixed Origination Fees: 4.26%

Parents seeking a PLUS Loan for students enrolling in the 2020-21 academic year may apply after June 1, 2020. Loan applications are available on the Federal Student Loan website.

Private/Alternative/Outside Loans

Private loans are designed specifically to help you fill any gap that exists between your financial aid award, your federal loans and your total education costs. In some cases, federal loans may be more affordable than the terms of a private loan. Comparison shopping is recommended.

As part of Abilene Christian University’s commitment to providing educational funding options to students and parents, ACU’s Office of Student Financial Services will certify private loans for any lender that a borrower chooses.

To aid students and families in the process of choosing a private lender, Student Financial Services has compiled a Preferred Private Lender List.

Please review the following prior to deciding on a lender:

Student Financial Services evaluates lender services annually, in areas including customer accessibility, technical capability, default rate and borrower benefits. Those who excel in these areas are included in our Preferred Private Lender List. ACU uses TG’s List Assist Survey to compare lenders for placement on the Preferred Lender List.

Abilene Christian University does not receive benefits in exchange for placing a lender on our preferred list and encourages borrowers to visit the lenders’ Web sites to compare terms and conditions of origination and repayment.

Student or parent borrowers may choose any lender and are not restricted to a lender on our preferred lender list.

For the most up-to-date information regarding changes in the student loan industry and lender participation, borrowers should visit

Cancellation Policy

If you choose to cancel all or part of any loan offered to you, please indicate in writing your preference of canceling the full loan or reducing the amount offered.

This statement can be sent by mail to Student Financial Services, ACU Box 29007, Abilene, TX 79699-9007, or by email to

After the loan disbursement is applied to the student account, the student will be notified by email of the amount that was paid. The student then has the right to cancel all or a portion of the disbursement by replying to the email notification indicating his/her preference. ACU will gladly cancel or reduce the loan upon receipt of that request.

Federal Direct GRAD PLUS Loans

Graduate students (post-baccalaureate) may apply for a GRAD PLUS Loan. This loan can be used to supplement other financial aid, such as the Direct Stafford Loan. Repayment of this loan begins within 60 days after the entire loan has been disbursed. The GRAD PLUS Loan is subject to in-school deferment, but it is not automatic. Deferment can be granted by the lender after providing proof of at least half-time enrollment. Interest accrues upon disbursement and continues to accrue during periods of deferment or forbearance.

Loan applications are available on the Federal Student Loan website.

Federal Perkins Loans

Perkins Loan Program

If you are a Federal Perkins Loan recipient through ACU and would like more information regarding your loan, you can view information at the University Accounting Service website. This is the link to the loan servicer being used by ACU. Through this site, you can update your address and phone number, find benefit forms, make payments, and research loan cancellation eligibility.

If you are a current or prospective student and interested in a Perkins loan, please contact the office of Student Financial Services. Loan funds are limited and awards are based on financial need.

Perkins Loan borrowers are required to complete a Master Promissory Note, Entrance and Exit Counseling. Please see below for more information on these requirements:

Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling: Each student who is approved by Student Financial Services for a Perkins loan for the first time must complete the Perkins Master Promissory Note (MPN). This is a paper process. Entrance Counseling forms will be attached to the MPN packet. Entrance Counseling will explain the use of the MPN that is required to receive a Perkins loan, the seriousness of the repayment obligation, the consequences of default, and the obligation to pay the Perkins loan when it is due for repayment. If a student does not complete the MPN and Entrance Counseling, ACU will not be able to disburse (pay) the loan funds to the student’s account. The completed MPN and Entrance Counseling forms must be returned to Student Financial Services.

Perkins Loan Exit Counseling: Each student who received a Perkins loan and ceases to be enrolled at ACU on at least a half-time basis must complete exit counseling. Exit counseling will explain the seriousness of repayment of the loan, consequences of default, available repayment options, possible deferment or forbearance of repayment, or loan cancellation, and will also gather current and expected contact information of the student. ACU will place a transcript hold on each student’s account who ceases to be enrolled and will lift the hold when confirmation of completed exit counseling has been received. Click on the following link to complete Perkins Exit Counseling.

Perkins Loan Cancellation: Upon making a properly documented written request to the School, the Perkins loan borrower is entitled to have up to 100 percent of the original principal loan amount of this loan canceled if he/she performs qualifying service in the areas listed in paragraphs A through K in the cancellation document (PDF)Other cancellation percentages apply if qualifying services are performed in the areas listed in paragraphs L and M of the cancellation document (PDF). Qualifying service must be performed after the enrollment period covered by the loan.

College Access Loan (CAL)

The College Access Loan is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are Texas residents and/or are eligible to pay in-state tuition. This loan can be used to supplement other financial aid awarded to a student and requires a cosigner. For additional information, please visit CAL applications for the 2020-21 academic year will be released in June.