Federal Loans

Mercer's Federal School Code is 001580

Loans are sources of funding that allow you to spread the cost of your education over time. Loans are available from various sources, including federal and state governments, the University and private lenders. As you progress toward your degree completion, the amount of annual loan eligibility typically increases.

150% Time Limit Rule for Federal Subsidized Loans for First-Time Borrowers on or after July 1, 2013

There is a time limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of your program. This is called your "maximum eligibility period". You can find the published length of any program of study in your school's catalog.

Click here for full details and examples.

When you take out a student loan, you must pay it back -- even if you do not complete your education. You can review Mercer University's Student Loan Code of Conduct online.

Federal Perkins Loans (program ended 2017-18)

Under the direction of the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Perkins Loan Program expired on September 30, 2017.  This expiration means that schools can no longer award Federal Perkins Loans to students.

If you have received Perkins Loans prior to 2018-19 award year, upon graduation you are still required complete Exit Counseling with the Student Loan Office at Mercer University and to repay your loan. For more information on exit counseling, contact the Office of Student Loans at (478) 301-2407.  Learn more on managing your loans.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans are low-interest (variable rate) loans awarded by the school and provided by the federal government. The interest rate is adjusted each July 1 but will not exceed 8.25%.  These loans may be either subsidized or unsubsidized. You can view interest rates online at www.studentaid.gov.

Interest rates for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019

Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans - Undergraduate Students - 5.05%

Direct Unsubsidized Loans - Graduate Students - 6.6%

Direct PLUS Loans - Parents and Graduate or Professional Students - 7.6%

Sample Federal Direct Loan Disclosure Statement


Federal Direct Loan amounts are based on the cost of attendance at a particular school and the student's grade level. Dependent students may borrow the following amounts:

$3,500/year for 1st-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.
$4,500/year for 2nd-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.
$5,500/year for 3rd or 4th-year undergraduates subsidized and $2,000/year unsubsidized.

The aggregate loan limit that an undergraduate dependent student can borrow is $31,000.

Independent students may borrow the following amounts:
$9,500/year for 1st-year undergraduates (at least $6,000 must be unsubsidized).
$10,500/year for 2nd-year undergraduates (at least $6,000 must be unsubsidized).
$12,500/year for 3rd or 4th-year undergraduates (at least $5,000 must be unsubsidized).
$20,500/year for graduate students (unsubsidized only).

The aggregate loan limit that an undergraduate independent student can borrow is $57,500.

The amounts listed above are maximums. Remember, a student may not borrow more than their program's Total Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid and/or scholarships.

Subsidized Federal Direct Loan

Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are awarded to undergraduate students ONLY. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are need-based loans. A student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students) to be eligible to receive a Subsidized Federal Direct Loan. 

The interest on this loan is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled in school and during the first 6 months following withdrawal or graduation from school. Interest starts accruing anytime that your enrollment status drops below half-time. The six months following departure from school is a grace period. A student is only given one grace period. After this period, the student must begin repayment of the loan.

Graduate students are NOT eligible for subsidized loans.

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are non-need based loans. Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until the loan is paid in full. The student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or allow it to accrue. If the interest is allowed to accrue, it will be added to the principal amount of the loan, thereby increasing the amount of money the student is required to repay.  The student must be enrolled on a half-time basis (6 credit hours for undergraduates & 5 credit hours for graduates/professionals) to be eligible and to receive the award. 

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

To receive a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, you must:

  • Be a graduate or professional degree student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a degree/certificate, OR
  • Be the parent (biological, adoptive, or in some cases stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at a participating school;
  • Not have an adverse credit history; AND
  • Meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.  If you are borrowing on behalf of your child, your child must also meet these requirements.

Repayment for Federal Direct PLUS loans generally begins within 60 days of the loan's disbursement. The interest rate is currently 7.0% (for PLUS loans disbursed 7/1/2017 through 7/1/2018).

In addition to the FAFSA, borrowers must complete a separate PLUS loan application each year. The maximum amount which can be borrowed each year  is equal to the Cost of Attendance for the enrolled program of study, minus any other financial aid the student is receiving.

If the loan is denied due to an adverse credit history, the borrower will be notified by the Direct Loan Servicing Center.

Adverse credit history is defined by the Department of Education to be the following:

Applicant found to have adverse credit condition such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax lien, or a default determination, etc.


Applicant has one or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent, in collection, or have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the applicant's credit report and the total combined outstanding balance of those debts is greater than $2,085.

If you have received an adverse credit decision, you may still be eligible to receive a Direct Plus loan. To become eligible, you may take one of the following actions:

1. Obtain an endorser and complete Plus Counseling.

An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.
If you are a parent borrower, the endorser may not be the student on whose behalf you are requesting the Direct Plus loan.

2. Document to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that:

  • The information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect, OR
  • There are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history (NOTE: Endorsers are not eligible for this option), AND
  • Complete Plus Counseling (available on www.StudentLoans.gov). If applicant completes the Plus Counseling more than 30 days prior to the credit check, Plus Counseling will need to be completed again.


For Parent PLUS loans, the student is not eligible to endorse the PLUS Loan. If the parent does not wish to pursue the PLUS Loan further, the student may be eligible to receive additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Planning for additional information.

Entrance Interviews

You must complete your entrance counseling before you receive funds from the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.   Entrance Counseling covers important information regarding your loan obligations.  The information includes your repayment schedule, disclosure, your borrower rights and responsibilities, and your personal information form.  Entrance counseling can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov. Then click on entrance counseling for borrowers.

Exit Interviews

If you are a Federal Loan recipient when you leave, withdraw, or graduate from Mercer, you will receive instructions for completing an  Exit Interview session that covers important information regarding your loan obligations. This information includes your repayment schedule, disclosure, your borrower rights and responsibilities, and your personal and confidential information form. The Exit Interview is completed online at www.studentloans.gov.