Financing Your Education

An investment in your future

Borrowing student loans is an integral part of financing an education. It should be considered an investment in yourself.

Here are some important tips to follow when borrowing student loans:

  • As a student loan borrower, be aware of your rights and responsibilities.
  • Be a responsible borrower and only borrow what you need to cover your educational expenses. If you have borrowed more money than you need for the semester, you can always return it. There are no penalties for early repayment.
  • Know your allotted grace period for each loan. If you go below half-time status or withdraw from school, you will enter your grace period. If your grace period elapses and you are not enrolled, you will begin your repayment period.
  • Pay off accruing interest to avoid interest capitalization when entering repayment.
  • Avoid defaulting on your student loan. If you have trouble making monthly payments, contact your student loan provider or school for help and information.

Perkins Loan Scholarships


students walking

Our financial aid pros work with every family individually to customize a package that maximizes financial aid for each student.

Learn how SAU is Affordable


The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal and state aid. SAU's federal school code is 001889.

Start Your FAFSA Application

More Information

Federal Student Loans

All students filing a FAFSA are eligible for federal loans.

The SAU Financial Aid Office determines which types of federal loans you are eligible for, and the loans will be listed on your official award letter.

Federal Direct Loan

This is a federally guaranteed loan. There are two types of Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

  • A subsidized loan is a loan in which the government waives the interest accrual while the student is enrolled at least half-time.
  • An unsubsidized loan is a loan in which the government does not waive the interest and it does accrue while the student is in school.

You will have the option to pay this interest or to have it capitalized. The Subsidized portion of the loan will depend on the need that is determined from your FAFSA information. If you have no need or low need, you will receive the Unsubsidized portion instead.

For both loan types, the principle loan payments are deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time and repayment on the loans does not start until 6 months after the student drops below half-time enrollment, graduates or withdraws.

Loan TypeBorrowerStarting July 1, 2018
Subsidized Undergraduate fixed 5.05%
Unsubsidized Undergraduate fixed 5.05%
Unsubsidized Graduate fixed 6.6% 

*See the graduate student loan accordion for more information regarding federal loans available to graduate level students.

There is a 1.066% origination fee on all unsubsidized and subsidized loans if the loan is disbursed on or after December 1, 2017, and a 1.062% origination fee if the loan is disbursed on or after October 1, 2018. For more information visit the Federal Direct Loan website.

Federal Parent Loans

Parents can borrow a loan to help pay for the cost of their child's education. The loan will be in the parent's name and will be based on credit history.

Loan Terms

  • 7.6% fixed interest rate
  • 4.264% origination fee deducted from the principal loan amount at the time of disbursement if the loan is disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2017
  • 4.248%.origination fee deducted from the principal loan amount at the time of disbursement if the loan is disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2018
  • Repayment begins within 30 days of final disbursement.
  • In-school deferment is available.
  • To apply for a Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan, a parent will need to sign in with their FSA User ID and password complete the PLUS Request Process at
  • The Financial Aid Office will be notified when it is complete.
Private Alternative Loans

Private alternative loans are designed to assist students who need additional funding to meet the gap between the cost of attendance and any financial aid they have already received for that year/term.

Private loans are not part of the federal education loan program. Any student considering a private loan to help cover costs is urged to speak with their financial aid counselor first, to ensure that the most beneficial aid has been awarded prior to researching any alternative loan options.

  • If you are considering a private educational loan to help finance your college education, there are a few things to be aware of. As a private loan borrower, it is your responsibility to research which loan will be best for you. You should pay close attention to interest rates, fees, and repayment terms.
  • If a lender approves the amount of money you requested, that same amount may not be approved by the University. The amount of money you may borrow (your loan) will be determined by both the University and based on other aid you receive. The loan also must fit within your Cost of Attendance budget set by the University according to Department of Education guidelines.
  • Private alternative loans are credit-based loans. This means that the company will run your credit history. If your credit does not pass, you may be required to have a co-signer in order to receive that loan. The majority of private educational loans also have variable interest rates. This means that the rates will vary with fluctuations in the market over the life of the loan.
  • Many private educational loans also have associated fees. These are processing or origination fees that are charged to you and taken off the top of your loan. For example: if you needed to borrow $1,000 and the loan you chose had a 5 percent origination fee, you would only receive $950 because $50 of that would have gone to pay the fee.
  • Once you apply, our office will be notified and we will certify your loan. In most cases, this is all done electronically, but you can expect that these types of loans will take several weeks to complete because of the credit underwriting that the lenders perform.

Preferred Lenders

Preferred Lender Disclosures

The link to FastChoice at the bottom of this page will direct you to our preferred lenders. This list has been established by the St. Ambrose University Financial Aid Office.

As required by state and federal law, the preferred lender list has the following disclosures:

  • In conjunction with lenders reviewed and used by our students, the SAU Financial Aid staff generated a list of lenders and compared those lenders' loan product details such as: fees, interest rates, rebates, etc. After evaluating those loan products, the staff generated a list of preferred lenders.
  • Evaluation and Selection Criteria: After compiling a comprehensive list, lenders were evaluated and selected based on interest rates, origination fees, cosigner options, out-of-state borrower options, efficiency of loans processing, customer service, loan limit criteria, non-degree seeking loans options, past due balance options, and repayment options/incentives.
  • Each lender on this preferred lender list is unaffiliated with the other.
  • A student is not required to borrow from a lender on this list and may apply for a private student loan with any lender. 


By clicking FastChoice you will be directed away from the St. Ambrose University Financial Aid website and begin viewing private loan products that are part of our preferred lending arrangement.

FastChoice is a loan comparison tool offered by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and allows students to compare up to three different loans side-by-side. It's important to remember that some lenders offer more than one loan product, so give careful consideration to the lenders and various loan products.

FastChoice Link:

Graduate Student Loans

Graduate students may use student loans to finance their education. Federal Direct Loans, Federal Grad Plus Loans, and private educational loans are available.

Federal Direct Loans

A Direct Loan is a federally guaranteed loan.

An unsubsidized loan is a loan in which the government does not waive the interest and it does accrue while the student is in school. You will have the option to pay this interest or to have it capitalized. The principle loan payments are deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time and repayment on the loans does not start until 6 months after the student drops below half-time enrollment, graduates or withdraws.

  • A graduate level student may be eligible for $20,500 in unsubsidized loans per academic year.
  • The current interest rate on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan is 6.6% with an origination fee of 1.062%

To qualify for this loan, you must file a FAFSA. The Unsubsidized Loan is a non-need based loan and the majority of students will be eligible for this loan. Once we have reviewed your FAFSA information, this loan will be listed on your award letter.

To complete the application process as a first time borrower, you will need to complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. Visit and sign in to complete the process.

Federal Direct Grad Plus Loan

The Federal Grad Plus Loan is a federal loan with a fixed interest rate of 7.6% with an origination fee of 4.248%. You must file a FAFSA and borrow the maximum amount of loan through the Direct Loan program before you will be eligible for a Grad Plus. This loan is also based on your credit history, so it is possible that you may be required to have a co-borrower.

Payments on this loan may be deferred while you are in school and enrolled at least half-time in a graduate program (5 hours per semester during Fall and Spring terms and 3 hours during the summer term). Interest does accrue on this loan during the deferment period. There is no grace period for the Grad Plus loan. It will go into repayment as soon as you drop below half-time enrollment, graduate, or withdraw from school.

  • The maximum a student may borrow in this program is your cost of attendance minus other financial aid you have received. If you are unsure of the amount you are eligible for, contact our office for help
  • To apply for a Federal Grad Plus Loan you will need to sign in and complete the PLUS Request Process at
    • If approved, you will need to complete a Grad PLUS Master Promissory Note AND Grad PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling at
    • The MPN and Entrance Counseling only need to be completed the first time you are applying for the Grad PLUS Loan and it is not necessary to complete in subsequent years. However, you do need to Apply for the Loan each year you wish to receive it.

For more information about loans, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Summer Financial Aid

Summer financial aid is not automatically awarded to students. You must request summer financial aid by completing a Summer Loan Request Form (pdf). There is no institutional aid for summer sessions. 

However, if you are enrolled during the summer for at least half-time (6 hours for an undergraduate or 3 hours for a graduate level), you may be eligible for Federal Direct Loans.

  • Make sure you have filed your FAFSA for the current academic year. We will need this information to process your loan.
  • The amount of loan you request may not be the amount you are eligible for. Eligibility for an undergraduate student will be determined by the amount of loans borrowed previously in the academic year. Eligibility for the year may have been exhausted.

If you aren't enrolled at least half-time, you may consider taking a Private Alternative Loan to pay for your class. Visit the Private Alternative Loan section for more information on Private Loans.

Loan Forgiveness

You may be eligible for a portion or all of your student loan to be forgiven (not repaid) depending on your area of study, how your loan is financed, or where you work.

Information on this page is not exhaustive, so inquire with your loan provider or servicer.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you plan to teach – and the world needs more teachers – you may qualify for a portion of your loan to be forgiven or completely paid (canceled). You may also qualify for cancellation of a Federal Perkins Loan if you meet certain conditions.
Loan type: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Working in certain public service jobs and making continuous payments on your Direct Loan may qualify the balance of your loan to be forgiven. Examples of public service include government jobs at any level, attorneys in certain fields, non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, and other non-profit groups. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and VISTA also count.

Health Care Professionals Loan Repayment

Several programs offer loan repayment or forgiveness to those working in medical professions, usually in low-income or health professional shortage areas (HPSA).

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, there are several types of occupations that may qualify you for loan forgiveness or cancellation. Some of those jobs include, but are not limited to: firefighter, speech pathologist, nurse, librarian, and others.
View the circumstances and conditions

Financial Aid

Financial Aid Office
Ambrose Hall, 1st Floor
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!