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What is a Student Loan?

A student loan is a low-interest loan extended by the federal government to help you pay for your education. To qualify for a loan, you must be enrolled at least half-time in classes at National Louis University. Like any other loan, student loans need to be paid back over time with interest. Unlike other loans, you don’t have to start making payments immediately. For most student loans, you begin making payments six months after you graduate or cease half-time enrollment.

Types of Student Loans
The U.S. Department of Education offers a number of different student loans designed to meet different education and financial needs. Learn about your loan options below. You can also visit the direct student loans FAQs page for more information and contact the Office of Student Finance with any questions:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan – The amount of this loan is based on your demonstrated financial need. It’s called a subsidized loan because the government will pay all interest on the loan until six months after you graduate or cease half-time enrollment in your program.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan – This loan is a supplemental loan for students who don’t qualify for need-based aid or for whom need-based aid isn’t sufficient to cover all educational expenses. The loan is called unsubsidized because the government does not pay any of your interest. 
  • Federal Perkins Loan – This low-interest loan is reserved for undergraduate or graduate students with exceptional financial need. Unlike other federal loans, a portion of the Perkins Loan is funded by NLU. The grace period for making loan payments is nine months after graduation or ceasing half-time enrollment in school.
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Parents – If you are under 24 years of age, unmarried and do not have children for which you provide more than half the support, then your parents can apply for a low-interest loan to help cover your education expenses.
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Degree Students – If you are no longer a dependent of your parents and fully admitted to a graduate program, you may apply for a PLUS loan to cover additional education expenses.  Approval for a PLUS loan is based on your credit history, not financial need.

How to Apply for a Student Loan
Each type of federal student loan has its own application process and requirements. Consult the links above for detailed application information or contact the Office of Student Finance with any questions. You can also go directly to the government Web sites below for application information and online forms:

Student Loan Disclosure
Students and parents who apply for a Federal student loan will have their information submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions. All Federal loans you borrow, Stafford, Grad PLUS, PLUS and Perkins are listed under the National Student Loan Database system. This database includes federal loans borrowed while attending other institutions. If you would like to check the interest rate, current balance or servicer information for any of the federal loans you have borrowed, visit the National Student Loan Database web site at: You will be required to create a Federal Student Aid Identification - FSA ID (username and password) if you have not already established one.

Questions? Contact Us
Contact the Office of Student Finance today. We have helped tens of thousands of NLU students apply for federal student loans.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »