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Financial Aid


How to Apply for Federal Student Loans and Parent Loans

Since the Summer 2010 Semester, SUNY Niagara participates exclusively in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Under this program, students and parents borrow directly from the federal government to pay for college costs, rather than a bank or credit union.

The starting point for all financial aid is the FAFSA application. Students must first complete this application first (every year) before student loan eligibility can be determined. If you have not already completed the FAFSA Application and received an award package from SUNY Niagara, please refer to our how to apply for financial aid Webpage for instructions for getting started on the financial aid process. You can return to this page later – once your financial aid applications have been processed.

Federal Stafford Student Loans – How to Apply

Step 1. Submit the SUNY Niagara Federal Stafford Loan Application to the Financial Aid Office

The award letter that you received from SUNY Niagara indicates the maximum dollar value of your eligibility for a student loan. You do not have to borrow the full amount, but you cannot borrow more than your eligibility. If you have decided to borrow a student loan under the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program, you must first complete the William Ford Federal Direct Loan Application which you can access and print on the FORMS tab. Submit the completed application form to the Financial Aid Office after completing the required online steps which are listed below in steps 3 and 4. Please wait until this application is processed by the Financial Aid Office and you have received your approval before continuing to the next step.

Step 2. Prepare to Complete the On-Line Direct Stafford Loan Application Process

Once you have received your loan offer from the Financial Aid Office, you’ll need to access the Internet to finish the on-line processing. The entire process should take less than one hour, but be prepared to give yourself plenty of time. You will also need a few pieces of information to speed the process along.

You will need to electronically sign your loan application with your user name and password. If you have misplaced your username and/or password, you can go to the website.

Step 3. Complete an On-line Entrance Counseling Session

First-time Direct Stafford loan borrowers must complete student loan entrance counseling. Borrowing a student loan is a serious financial obligation, and the entrance counseling session will provide you with important information and teach you about your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. It will contain a few quiz-type questions to ensure that you understand these rights and responsibilities. Read the text carefully and thoroughly. This is your loan and your future, so be sure you know and understand the rules.

Following this link to complete your entrance counseling on the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling website.

Step 4. Complete and Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) is the contract for your student loan. Completing the MPN online is very simple and easy, but you’ll want to finish it all in one session. If you exit the site prior to signing the MPN, you will have to start over from the beginning.

In addition, be prepared to provide two references (name, address, and telephone number). These should be people who have known you for at least one year (preferably relatives) who live at different addresses. You will also need your social security number and full legal name (exactly as it appears on your social security card). So if you are ready, you can go on to the next step.

Following this link to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on the Federal Direct Loan MPN website.

Student Loan Exit Information

It is a federal regulation that you must complete an exit interview when graduating, transferring, withdrawing, or if you have stopped attending SUNY Niagara. The exit counseling needs to be completed even if you plan on returning to SUNY Niagara in the future or attending another school.

You need to complete the exit interview online at Sign in with your FSA User ID and password. Select the Complete Exit Counseling and follow the directions. Follow the steps on each page until you have completed and submitted the Exit Counseling. Click here to access the Direct Loan Exit Counseling Guide.

As a borrower, you must repay your student loans. If you are experiencing difficulty with your repayment obligation, please contact your servicer as they can assist you with repayment options.

Federal Parent PLUS Loans – How to Apply

Parents of dependent undergraduate students may also borrow to help meet the student’s educational expenses. The application process is online through the Federal Direct Loan Program. To learn more about the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Study (PLUS) Program (including a program description and eligibility criteria), click here for Program Information for the Parent PLUS Loan Program

Ready to Apply? Instructions for Parents

Your parent will need to complete their PLUS loan application online at by logging in with their username and password.

If you have everything you need, you are ready to start the application process. Please do not apply more than four months (120 days) before your son or daughter is planning to begin classes (or before May 1 prior to the beginning of the new school year), because your application may expire before school starts (and you’ll have to do it over again).

After applying for the PLUS loan, you will need to complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) by clicking here

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office by phone at 716-614-6266 or email


Financial Aid Office
Fax: 716-614-6820
Location: Enrollment Center (Notar Admin Bldg)
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm*

*New and current financial aid advisors receive training from the follow professional financial aid organizations in an effort to train new financial aid advisors and keep updated on both federal and state financial aid regulations: