Financial Aid

Loan Process & Promissory Note Completion

In addition to accepting loans as part of your financial aid award, loan borrowers have additional processes that need to be completed in order to have loan funds available.

Promissory Notes

The master promissory note (MPN) is a legal document. It is your promise to use the money for educational purposes and to repay the loan.

Borrowers complete the appropriate promissory note for each loan program they accept through the online award process.

New student borrowers will need to complete promissory notes. Returning students can always sign onto the individual promissory websites linked below to check to see if they have a completed, active promissory note on file.

  • Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: MPNs should be completed with the Department of Education (ED) online after accepting the loan on your award offer within Catalyst. You will have to "log in" to the federal student loan website using your FSA ID username and password and follow the appropriate links.

  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans: Parents or step-parents of dependent students can borrow the Federal Parent PLUS Loan. Parent borrowers must pass a credit check when these loans are processed. 
    • "Log in" at, and online tabs will provide links for the Parent PLUS application (credit check) and MPN processes.
    • The application (credit check) will need to be completed each year the parent wishes to borrow.
    • More detailed information on the Parent PLUS process is also available.
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans: Graduate students are the borrowers of the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. Though this is a student loan, graduate student borrowers must pass a credit check to secure funding under this program.
    • "Log in" at, and the tab "in school" will provide links for the PLUS application for graduate school (credit check) and MPN processes.
    • The application (credit check) will need to be completed each year the student wishes to borrow.
    • More detailed information on the Graduate PLUS process is also available.
  • Nursing or Health Professions Student Loans: These loans are managed through UC on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Department of Education. Students awarded these loans will need to accept them as part of their award offer in Catalyst. Within 48 hours, the student will then be assigned To Do items within Catalyst, including the appropriate MPN. 

All documents for the Nursing or Health Professions Student Loans must be completed and submitted before the loans can be disbursed.

Federal loans all use Master Promissory Notes (MPNs). These open-ended loan documents allow multiple year borrowing for that individual loan program.

If a Master Promissory Note has a disbursed loan attached to it within a year of signing by the borrower, it is then active for 10 years of borrowing thereby making the aid process much easier in subsequent years.

However, while the promissory note allows for multiple years, the FAFSA must be completed each year as soon after October 1 as possible.

Loan Entrance Counseling

First-time UC Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan borrowers and new Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers also must receive detailed information on the responsibilities of taking out an educational loan prior to the arrival of loan funds. A 20-30 minute online loan counseling session completes this requirement.

If this federal requirement is not met, loan monies received for the student will not be able to be applied to the student bill.

NOTE: Financial Awareness Counseling on the same Website, while a helpful tool with valuable information, is NOT  the same as required Loan Entrance Counseling. Be sure to select the appropriate counseling session.

Loan Arrival

Loans, like other aid, will appear as anticipated aid prior to the start of the term. Ten days prior to the term, funds will begin posting on bills based on eligibility.

While anticipated aid will show simply by accepting loan funds on the award offer, posting to the bill will occur only if you have completed the appropriate promissory note and any required entrance counseling. Loans will be applied to the online bill approximately 10 days prior to the start of each term assuming all steps above have been completed and enrollment deems the student eligible.

Anticipated aid will appear on bills prior to the beginning of a term. Borrowers must ensure they have completed loan counseling and promissory notes in order to make these estimates a reality. Students must also be in good academic standing and be registered for at least half-time (or co-op) to be eligible for their loan funds for the term.

Loan Borrowing History Review

The FAFSA Submission Summary received after you file your annual FAFSA details your aggregate (total) loan borrowing to date.

Additionally, loan borrowers (both students and parents) can use the optional student loan acknowlegement process at any time to understand how much you have borrowed and anticipate repayment costs. While not a required process, many borrowers find an annual review helpful in better understanding their loan use and plan for future borrowing as federal student loans also have aggregate borrowing limits.