Skip to main content area Skip to main navigation Skip to institutional navigation Skip to footer

Financial Aid

Federal/State Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program provides loan funds to students to help pay college costs. This is a student loan, therefore the student is responsible for repayment. Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or stops attending half-time.

Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at to be eligible for Stafford loans. Students must also enroll at least half-time (8 credits for undergraduate students and 4 credits for graduate students) and be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). 

Students are eligible for either a Subsidized Stafford Loan (the government pays the interest while the student is in school) or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (interest is the responsibility of the borrower) or a combination of both. Interest accrues on the Unsubsidized Loan while the student is in school. The student may pay the interest while in school or capitalize it and pay it along with the principal upon leaving school.

The 2015-2016 interest rate for the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Undergraduate Stafford Loan will be 4.29%. New interest rates for the 2016-2017 award year will be announced in June 2016.

New borrowers must complete online Entrance Counseling and electronically sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at before funds can be disbursed.We encourage all students to complete these two action items as soon as possible before school begins.

After the electronic MPN and Entrance Counseling notifications have been received by the College, the net amount of the loan will be credited to the student’s account, half in each semester.

The federal government deducts an origination fee from the gross loan amount before forwarding the proceeds to the school. The Stafford Loan origination fee for 2014-2015 was 1.073%. The origination fee for 2015-2016 has not yet been confirmed. The amount that a student may borrow depends on the number of earned credits. 

Annual Stafford Loan Limits

  Dependent Independent
Freshman $5,500 $9,500
Sophomore $6,500 $10,500
Junior, Senior, 5th year $7,500 $12,500
Graduate Students n/a $20,500

Note: If your grade level changes in the middle of an academic year, and you wish to be considered for an increase in your loan, please contact our office.

Lifetime Stafford Loan Limits

  Subsidized Total Limit
Dependent Undergraduate $23,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduate $23,000 $57,500
Graduate Students $65,500 $138,500


Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loans

For the 2015-16 academic year, the Office of Financial Aid will not begin processing Parent PLUS loans until after July 1. Due to time limits on credit approval, parents must wait until after July 1 to apply for a Parent PLUS loan.

Loan applications submitted prior to July 1 may not be processed, and are subject to cancellation due to credit expiration. If a family’s Parent PLUS loan expires, the parent must re-apply.

Please note: If you have submitted more than one Parent PLUS loan application for an academic year, or if you have been approved with an endorser, please contact our office to ensure proper processing.

The Parent PLUS loan is available to creditworthy parents of dependent undergraduate students, and are not based upon financial need.  Parents may borrow up to the full cost of attendance less any financial aid, annually for each dependent, undergraduate student.  The first step in applying for a Parent PLUS loan is to be sure that the student for whom a PLUS loan is being processed has file the FAFSA. A completed FAFSA is required for all Parent PLUS applications.

The 2015-2016 interest rate for the Parent PLUS loan is 6.84% fixed. An origination fee is deducted from the loan before the funds are sent to the college. The origination fee for 2014-2015 was 4.292%. The origination fee for 2015-2016 has not yet been confirmed. Repayment begins 60 days after the final disbursement and is based on a 10-year repayment. The borrower may also contact the loan servicer to make interest-only payments, or defer payments until the student is no longer enrolled in school at least half-time.

Parents may apply for the Parent PLUS loan at Parents must electronically sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before the funds can be disbursed to the College. Parent PLUS must be evenly allocated over the course of the academic year, so the amount applied for will be automatically split in half for Fall and Spring. 

The recommended deadline for applying is at least 30 days prior to enrollment. Parents must apply using their social security number, date of birth and FAFSA PIN, and credit decision is determined by Direct Loan Applicant Services. Our office will receive electronic notification once your loan has been approved, and we will process all approved loans with a valid master promissory note. Once the loan is processed, students may view their financial aid or billing statement on myMack. 

Students whose parents are denied a Parent PLUS loan become eligible for an additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, in addition to their yearly annual award amount. For freshmen and sophomores, this is an additional $4,000 and for juniors and seniors, this is an additional $5,000 for the year.

Students may contact the Office of Financial Aid for further instruction about requesting additional Unsubsidized student loan funds as a result of a PLUS denial.

Federal Perkins Loans 

The Federal Perkins loan is available to students with exceptional financial need. Loan amounts range from $500 to $5,500 per year. These loans require no principal or interest payments while the student is pursuing a degree. Ordinarily, a repayment period of ten years is permitted at an interest rate of 5% on the unpaid balance beginning nine months after graduation. Funding is limited, and is not guaranteed for renewal.

Massachusetts No Interest Loan

The Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program is a state funded, no interest, deferred loan offered to qualified Massachusetts residents. Repayment does not begin until six months after graduation. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 per year. Students must file the FAFSA and have an EFC range of $0 to $15,000. Funding is limited, and is not guaranteed for renewal.

The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies

Students looking for financial assistance may submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at Please be sure to add the Merrimack College Federal School Code 002120. You will need to be accepted as a degree-seeking candidate in order to be considered for financial aid. For Stafford loans, you must enroll at least half-time (8 credits for undergraduate students, 4 credits for graduate students).

An award letter will be generated for students who have completed a FAFSA and are enrolled in a degree-seeking program. New and first-time borrowers at Merrimack College will need to complete Entrance Counseling and electronically sign their Master Promissory Note via before the loan can be disbursed.

Beginning in 2012-2013, graduate students may only borrow Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Subsidized Stafford Loans are no longer offered by the federal government. Students may borrow up to $20,500 total for the academic year. For 2015-2016, the interest rate for an Unsubsidized Graduate Stafford Loan is 5.84%. An origination fee for 2015-2016 has not yet been confirmed.