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In order to be eligible for any Federal Aid, a student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.

Direct Loan Basics for Students

Federal Student Loans

  • Federal Direct Student Loan (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)* Actual amount depends on need for Subsidized loans only. Repayment begins six months after the student ceases half-time enrollment. Eligibility for a subsidized loan is based on need and features deferment of principal and interest. For an unsubsidized loan, principal is deferred, but the student is billed quarterly for the interest only. Students must be enrolled for at least 6 credits (half time status) of enrollment to be eligible for a federal loans.

Students must complete the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Annual loan maximums are:

DependentIndependentCredits Earned
$5,500 $9,500 0 - 29
$6,500 $10,500 30 - 59
$7,500 $12,500 60 or more credits.

*Graduate students annual loan maximum is $20,500.

Federal Direct Student Loans have a lifetime limit as follows:

Dependent UndergraduatesIndependent UndergraduatesGraduate Students
$31,000 $57,500 $138,500
  • Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS)* Available to parents of dependent undergraduate students. Parent borrower can opt to defer repayment in the application process. If the parent borrower chooses this option, repayment of principal and interest begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time (six credits). Annual maximum is the cost of education minus other financial aid. Parents can apply for this loan.

If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the dependent undergraduate student will be awarded additional unsubsidized loan dollars. The student must meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements to be eligible.

*In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations (HEOA 489 amended HEA Sec.485B), East Stroudsburg University Office of Financial Aid Services acknowledges to students and parents that when the student enters into an agreement regarding a Title IV (HEA) loan, i.e.: Direct Student Loan and Direct Parent PLUS Loan that the loan will be submitted to NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

  • Federal Direct Grad Plus

A graduate student can apply for a Graduate PLUS

Initial Loan Counseling for Student Borrowers

According to Federal regulations, a student is required to complete an entrance counseling session prior to the release of the first disbursement of their first Federal Direct Student or Graduate PLUS Loan. Counseling will inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Students can complete entrance counseling.

If at any time throughout your college career you have any questions concerning your student loan, feel free to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid Services or your loan servicer. You may also contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID with questions regarding the loan or any other federal aid.

Exit Counseling for Student Borrowers

Once a student is less than half time, withdraws from the university or graduates they must complete Exit Counseling for each federal loan program. You must complete the interview for each type of loan you received. You can review your total borrowing history by logging into The National Student Loan Database.

Other Types of Federal Aid:

  • Federal Pell Grant Actual amount is determined by need. Must be working toward first bachelor's degree.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Actual amount is determined by need. Must be working toward first bachelor's degree. Early FAFSA submission is essential. Limited to students with exceptionally high financial need.
  • Federal Perkins Loan Actual amount depends on financial need. Carries a five percent (5%) interest rate. Repayment of principal and interest begins nine months after the student graduates or drops enrollment to less than half-time (fewer than six credits). Early FAFSA submission is essential. Limited to students with high financial need.
  • Federal Work Study Offered first to students with high financial need. Early FAFSA submission is essential. Students must still seek an on campus part-time job. Openings are listed on the Human Resources page.

Special Programs & Aid Eligibility

  • Teacher Certification and Elementary/Secondary Counselor Certification Post-baccalaureate students attending East Stroudsburg University to receive teacher or elementary/secondary counselor certification from the state of Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for federal Stafford and alternative loans only.
  • Consortium Agreements An ESU student taking classes at another school may qualify for financial aid if the total enrollment is at least half-time and the other school agrees to participate in a financial aid consortium with ESU.
  • Study Abroad A student may receive aid for study outside the U.S. if the program is sponsored by East Stroudsburg University or another United States institution of higher education that agrees to participate in a consortium agreement with ESU. Credits earned at another institution must be pre-approved for transfer at East Stroudsburg University.
  • Lifelong Learning Students enrolled in Lifelong Learning are not considered to be enrolled in a degree or certificate program and are, therefore, ineligible for federal and state aid. A variety of private alternative loans are available to help cover educational expenses.

State Aid: PHEAA State Grant

Pennsylvania State Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who are residents of Pennsylvania. This program is available to eligible Pennsylvania residents who are enrolled in an eligible program of study at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) - approved post-secondary institution. The award value is determined by PHEAA and is based upon the financial need of the applicant. More information can be found on our grants page.

Institutional Aid: University Scholarship

Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement and financial need. A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarships are considered “gift aid” meaning the funds are not required to be paid back.

We encourage you to apply to as many scholarships as possible that you may be eligible for. This will help reduce the amount of student loan debt you would need to incur.

It should be noted that the selection criteria for the awards vary significantly.

A listing of available institutional scholarships are located on the ESU Foundation page.

Other Aid: Alternative Loans

Non-federal loans (or Private Alternative Student Loans) for educational purposes can supplement federal/state aid or may be used when the student is ineligible for Federal Direct Student Loan/PLUS loans due to insufficient financial aid progress, or having exhausted federal/state aid for the year. Please be sure to explore your eligibility for all federal and state financial aid options before requesting an alternative loan. Deferment of principal and interest may be an option. A creditworthy co-signer (or endorser) with a stable income and established residence is usually required. Some alternative loans offer a co-signer/endorser release from repayment responsibility after the student borrower makes a specific number of on-time payments and they can provide proof of income, employment verification and have established credit.

The Office of Student Financial Aid Services at East Stroudsburg University has the best interests of our student and parent borrowers as our primary concern and take student loan counseling very seriously. While there are a multitude of student loan companies offering hundreds of different products, features, benefits and incentives, we know that the average student/parent does not have the time, knowledge or resources to research all of the available options. We also know that promotion materials on websites developed by some lenders may appear misleading.

View ESU's recommended lender list for alternative loans at Borrowers have the right to select any lender they choose. Recommended lenders have been selected based on competitive pricing, borrower benefits, and service to borrowers.

Payment Plans

You may setup a payment plan with the Student Account Office via your myESU portal. More information can be found through our Student Account Office webpage.

External Scholarships

An external scholarship is a type of aid that is not required to be paid back. However, external scholarships vary with eligibility requirements. Some external scholarships can be found via

Employer Assisted Tuition Reimbursement

More information is available through our Student Account Office webpage.