A number of Loyola alumni noted that just days before the fall semester began, the university was accepting unneeded student loans on their behalf. Loyola officials said this is standard practice and students can adjust or remove loans added to their account for up to a month after the loan is accepted.
Loyola student Claire Lockard completed a free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) – a form used to apply for federal funding for higher education – earlier this year as it was required to access COVID-19 aid for college Students by the federal government in the CARES law.
Lockard, a 27-year-old Ph.D. Student who had already paid her tuition and did not need a loan. But when the FAFSA showed the school that it was entitled to one, Loyola accepted it on their behalf – and only removed it after four days and a couple of calls to Lockard’s Financial Aid Office.
“I was shocked that they took me out on student loans that I don’t need without my consent,” Lockard said. “It’s just wild for me because I didn’t even have a balance in my account that would require money, so I don’t see why that should be the policy.”
Tobyn Friar, vice president and director of the Loyola Financial Aid Bureau, said that because of its “passive acceptance policy“Then notifies the students by email and gives them 30 days to adjust the loan as they see fit. Friar said this has always been Loyola’s policy.
Before the federal personal loan can be paid out, new students must take out the federal personal loan Master promissory note (MPN) – the legal obligation to repay loan funds – and Entry advice (EC) to inform students of what to expect when taking out loans. The Master Promissory Note is completed once for each type of loan a student receives through the US Dept. of Education after a student completes the FAFSA and does not need to be re-submitted every year.
Megan Wines, another 27-year-old graduate student for whom Loyola was accepting an unnecessary loan, told The Phoenix that she had never completed the Federal Stafford Loan’s MPN and was surprised when she received a loan the week before the fall semester began paid $ 10,000 to their account.
Wines, a Ph.D. Theology student, was able to take the loan off her account as well, but said she spent a full morning figuring out what happened and how to fix it.
“It sounds like everything is going to work out, but it’s just a lot of paperwork and extra things to do while I try to prepare for the courses I’m taking and doing my PhD. extensive exams in October and the rush to prepare for the start of the semester, ”said Wines.
Friar said it is impossible for a federal loan from Stafford to be paid into a student account unless the student has completed both the MPN and the EC. However, he said the MPN and EC will remain active for ten years. Wines said she used a loan to partially fund her masters education at Loyola.
“The MPN has been active for 10 years. So if a student completes the MPN as an undergraduate and then completes a degree or professional qualification at Loyola, they don’t have to complete a new MPN or EC, ”said Friar. “Only new or first-time Stafford borrowers at Loyola would have to fill out the MPN and EC. Again, they would only do this once unless their previous MPN has expired. “
About 92% of students receive financial assistance to attend Loyola, according to the university website. Students can access their financial information in LOCUS – under the Financial Aid tab – to Adjust any donations for financial aid accepted on her behalf, said brother.
“If the student wishes to decline or cut all loans, they still have the option and must do so within 30 days of the withdrawal,” Friar said in an email to The Phoenix. “The Financial Aid Office recommends that students always carefully review their scholarship grants and determine what they would or should not have paid out for their specific programs in advance of the stated payout dates.”
Lockard said she was concerned that younger students who are less experienced with financial aid may not realize that loans have been taken on their behalf or may not understand how to reverse them.
“I still feel confused and taken advantage of by the university because I don’t understand why it is in their best interest to forgive student loan debt,” Lockard said. “This means that the PhD students, who are very busy, have a duty to take it upon us and, in addition to everything else, to take on a completely different task.”
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