The Direct Loan Process

1. Every year, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • The preferred FAFSA completion deadline for Tulane University Financial Aid is six months before the student's semester or academic year enrollment begins.
  • The Tulane University Financial Aid FAFSA completion deadline for loan processing is one month before the student's semester enrollment ends.
  • Each FAFSA has a designated "from" year and "to" year (for example, 2020-2021), and may be completed as early as October 1st prior to the "from" year and as late as June 30th of the "to" year.
  • Designate Tulane University as a recipient of your FAFSA information.

2. Once for each type of Direct Loan, complete required (if any) Entrance Counseling

  • Entrance counseling is not required every year.
  • Entrance counseling is not required for Parent PLUS Loans.
  • You may complete Direct Student Loan and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan counseling simultaneously.
  • You may complete and check your completed entrance counseling sessions on

3. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each Direct Loan

  • The MPN completion process requires reference information, completion in one sitting, and takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Complete MPN's on
  • MPN completion is not required every year, but is generally required only once for each type of loan.
    • Exception: endorsed PLUS or Grad PLUS requires a new MPN for each endorsed loan
    • Exception: an MPN expires in one year if a disbursement is not made on the MPN
    • Exception: an MPN expires after ten years.

4. Complete the PLUS Request Process for each PLUS Loan

  • If you are borrowing or expecting to borrow a Parent PLUS or Graduate PLUS Loan, you must complete a request process for every period of enrollment.
  • The request process takes about 5 minutes if a PLUS MPN has already been completed.
  • An amount to be borrowed (either a specific dollar amount or "maximum") will be requested.
  • Complete the PLUS request process on
  • A credit report will be reviewed for the borrower to determine absence of negative credit.
    • Federal Direct PLUS loan approval is based on absence of adverse notations on the borrower's credit report as reviewed by the lender (the U.S. Department of Education). A borrower is not eligible to receive a Direct PLUS loan if the borrower has an adverse credit history as determined in accordance with the Department's regulations. A credit check is conducted on each Direct PLUS Loan applicant to determine if the applicant meets this eligibility requirement. A Direct PLUS Loan applicant is considered to have an adverse credit history if he or she meets one or more conditions for a denied credit check.
  • Direct Loan regulations provide that an applicant who is determined to have an adverse credit history may receive a Direct PLUS Loan if the applicant obtains an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history, or documents to the satisfaction of the Secretary the existence of extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit history. If a borrower is denied a PLUS loan, only the lender can discuss the reasons for a denial. On occasion, a denial due to discrepancies on a credit report can be resolved. A denied borrower has the option to re-apply with a creditworthy endorser (cosigner). Additional counseling is required if a denied borrower is subsequently approved either through reconsideration or obtaining a an endorser co-signer.
  • If a Parent PLUS is denied, the parent may obtain an endorser/co-signer for the loan.
  • If a Graduate PLUS is denied, the student may obtain an endorser for the loan.
  • If a Parent PLUS is denied and the parent obtains no endorser, the student may be eligible for a limited amount of additional Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

5. Monitor Financial Aid Application and Loan Disbursement Progress through the Tulane Gibson Online System

  • Tulane University maintains an online system called Gibson Online.
  • Through Gibson Online, a student may track his or her financial aid application file completion status (including any documentation requirements that need to be completed), accept or decline packaged loan eligibility (and other financial aid), and track the progress of loan disbursement. A student may also view his or herTulane Accounts Receivable (billing) credits (including loan disbursements) and charges.
  • Observe the deadline! Don’t delay! Please note that Tulane Financial Aid cannot process federal loans once the aid period for which the loans are intended has ended, or after the student has ceased attendance, whichever comes first. This deadline is in effect for federal educational loans for either a student or their parents. The federal deadline for federal educational loan origination is by the end of the award period for the loan, so federal educational loans in virtually every case must have disbursed while the student is still in attendance in the academic period for which the loans are intended. We strongly recommend that students and/or parents communicate and finalize their borrowing intentions at least one month prior to the end of each semester!

6. Note That Disbursed Loans May Be Revised: When Borrower is Overawarded; When Borrower Does not Complete Expected Enrollment and Earn At Least One Passing Grade; Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for Continued Eligibility

  • Disbursed loans may be partially or completely taken back (returned) if the student is overawarded with financial aid (it is found that the student's total financial aid exceeds their Cost of Attendance for the same period) or if the student does not complete expected enrollment and earn at least one passing grade for the loans' attributable semester.
  • Eligibility to borrow educational loans may be taken away if a student does not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

7. Exit Counseling

  • When a student Direct Loan borrower graduates or otherwise ceases enrollment, Direct Loan exit counseling is required.
  • Visit Exit Counseling to log-in and complete the U.S. Department of Education’s required loan "Exit Counseling.”.

8. Repayment, Forgiveness and Consolidation Options

  • A Direct Loan borrower may consolidate (combine) federal loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
  • A student Direct Loan borrower may repay Direct loans based on income (Income-Based Repayment Plan, or IBR) or through a variety of other repayment plans.
  • In some circumstances, forgiveness of Direct loan may take place for certain student borrowers repaying through an income-related repayment plan (Income-Based Repayment, or IBR).
  • You may explore repayment, forgiveness and consolidation options on

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