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

All student and parent borrowers
for Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans
who have not previously borrowed these funds in
the Direct Loan Program must complete
a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

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

New students 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.
    • Accept the Graduate PLUS Loan amount you wish to borrow within the award offer in Catalyst.
    • "Log in" at and online tabs will provide links for Grad PLUS MPN process.
    • Prospective borrowers can also complete the online application (credit check) if they want to know in advance if the loan will meet approval criteria.
    • Borrowers will automatically be reviewed for credit when UC processes any accepted Graduate PLUS Loan.
  • Federal Nursing or Health Professions Loans: Students will complete part of the process online and then will be directed to print, sign, and mail a paper promissory note from the Website. Please select your awarded loan program to complete the appropriate promissory note:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of 5/10/2015, the U.S. Department of Education discontinued the use of the PIN that was used for e-Signatures on the Nursing and Health Professions MPN. While the UC Websites for Nursing and Health Professions Loans you are about to go to still refers to using the PIN, that is not an option.

Please complete your Nursing or Health Professions MPN using the UC site linked above, and print and sign your MPN in order to complete the process.

Students seeking to complete these MPNs can complete the process online but must print and sign a copy of the MPN to bring into One Stop.

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.

Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment

Starting fall 2021, all federal student loan borrowers must complete the required loan acknowledgment annually. The requirement is for students borrowing Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, or Graduate PLUS Loans and for parents borrowing Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans. 

As a first-time borrower, you are acknowledging that you understand your responsibility to repay your loan. In future years, you will be acknowledging that you understand how much you owe and how much more you can borrow.

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.


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.

Remember, while the promissory note allows for multiple years, the FAFSA must be completed each year as soon as possible. Website

IMPORTANT: Borrowers who had a past MPN for Federal Stafford or PLUS Loans will need to complete a new Direct Loan MPN for each program if they have not borrowed loans since 2009-10 due to the change in loan programs at UC. "Log in" as indicated on the government's student loan page.