Graduate students scramble to cancel unnecessary loans Loyola accepted on their behalf

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A number of Loyola graduate students noticed that the university was accepting unnecessary student loans on their behalf just days before the fall semester began. Loyola officials said this is standard practice and students can adjust or remove loans added to their account for up to a month after accepting the loan.

Loyola graduate student Claire Lockard filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a form used to apply for federal financial aid for higher education – earlier this year because it was required to access COVID-19 assistance provided to college students by the federal government in the CARES Act.

Lockard, a 27-year-old doctor of philosophy. student, had already paid her tuition fees and did not need a loan. But when FAFSA showed the school she was eligible for one, Loyola accepted it on her behalf – only withdrawing it after four days and a few phone calls to Lockard’s financial aid office.

“I was shocked that without my consent they put me in student loan debt that I don’t need,” Lockard said. “It’s just crazy to me because I didn’t even have a balance in my account that would have required money to pay, so I don’t understand why that would be the policy.”

Assistant Vice President and Director of Loyola’s Financial Aid Office, Tobyn Friar, said Loyola automatically accepts all Federal Stafford loans on behalf of students due to its “Passive Acceptance Policy” and then advises students by email and give them 30 days to adjust the loan as they see it. adjust. Brother says it has always been Loyola’s policy.

Before Federal Stafford Loans can be disbursed, new students must complete the Federal Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) – the legal commitment to repay loan funds – and Entrance Counseling (EC) to notify students what to expect when taking out loans. The primary promissory note is filled out once for each type of loan a student takes with the United States Department of Education after a student has completed FAFSA and does not need to be resubmitted every year.

“I was shocked that, without my consent, they put me in debt with student loans that I don’t need. … I don’t understand why that would be the policy.

Claire Lockard, graduate student

Megan Wines, another 27-year-old graduate student for whom Loyola took an unnecessary loan, told the Phoenix that she had never completed the Federal Stafford Loan MPN and was surprised to see a loan of 10,000 $ paid into their account the week before the start of the fall semester.

Wines, a third year doctorate. a theology student, was also able to have the loan withdrawn from her account, but said she spent an entire morning figuring out what had happened and how to fix it.

“Looks like everything is going to work out, but it’s just a lot of extra paperwork and stuff to sort out while I’m trying to prepare for the classes I’m attending and studying for the PhD.” complete exams in October and rush to prepare for the start of the semester, ”Wines said.

Brother said it was impossible for a Federal Stafford loan to pay into a student account unless the student had completed both MPN and CE. However, he clarified that the MPN and the EC remain active for ten years. Wines said she used a loan to partially fund her master’s studies at Loyola.

“The MPN has been active for 10 years, so if a student completed the MPN as an undergraduate student and then continued at Loyola for a graduate or professional degree, they would not need to complete a new MPN or EC, ”said Friar. “Only new or new to Loyola Stafford loan borrowers should complete the MPN and CE. Again, they would only do this once, unless their previous MPN expires.

About 92% of students receive financial aid to attend Loyola, according to the university’s website. Students can access their financial information in LOCUS – under the Financial Aid tab – to adjust any financial aid accepted on their behalf, Friar said.

“If the student wants to decline all or reduce their loans, they still have the option to do so and must do so within 30 days of disbursement,” Friar said in an email to The Phoenix. “The Financial Aid Office recommends that students always carefully review their financial aid awards and determine what they want or don’t want to disburse by the disbursement dates specified for their specific programs.”

Lockard said she was concerned that younger students who are less experienced with financial aid might not realize the loans were accepted on their behalf or might not understand how to cancel them.

“I always feel confused and exploited by the university because I don’t understand why it’s in their best interest to pay off student loans,” Lockard said. “It’s up to the busy graduate students to take that upon us and take on a whole other task to navigate on top of everything else. ”

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