Overview of the Aid Process
The United States Department of Education offers the Federal Direct Loan Program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. The Department of Education does not provide Pell Grants to graduate students.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Students can borrow up to $20,500 each academic year in direct unsubsidized loans. The maximum total debt from subsidized (undergraduate) and unsubsidized loans is $138,500 for graduate or professional students. No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans while the combined subsidized loan aggregate limit is $65,000. The graduate debt limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
- Available to undergraduate and graduate students
- No requirement to demonstrate financial need
- Meridian determines the amount you can borrow by considering the cost of attendance
- Has a fixed interest rate 4.306% (July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022)
If you have questions about your current Direct Loan debt relative to the $138,500 limit, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Please note that your student loan(s) will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education provides the loans only to borrowers through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program, like Meridian.
- The U.S. Department of Education is your lender
- The student may not have an adverse credit history
- Has a fixed interest rate 5.30% (July 1 2021, June 30, 2022)
- Students may be able to utilize a cosigner/guarantor if they do not meet credit history requirements.
How do I apply?
- Apply for a FSA ID Number before you start your FAFSA application.
- Complete the FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov and submit it to Meridian University. Meridian’s Federal School Code is G42711
- Complete the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov
- Forward confirmation that you have completed Entrance Counseling and MPS to email@example.com.
- Students who wish to apply for a Federal Graduate PLUS loan submit the application at studentloans.gov. Please inform the Financial Aid Office in writing if you plan to apply for a Grad PLUS loan. Be sure to complete the Entrance counseling and MPN specific to the Grad PLUS loan and forward confirmations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Eligibility Criteria: How Do I Qualify?
The Federal Direct Loan program is not based on your income or assets; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
The eligibility criteria to qualify are:
- Be enrolled and registered on an at least half-time basis in an eligible program at Meridian (all of Meridian’s graduate degree programs are eligible programs)
- Must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
- Complete the FAFSA each year to determine eligibility for federal financial assistance (Use Meridian’s School Code: G42711)
- Must be in good standing in order to qualify for federal financial assistance (Student may not be in default on or owe a refund for any federal financial aid programs or federal liens)
- Provide proof of compliance with selective service registration and drug conviction regulations
- Must be making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FSAP) toward the completion of degree requirements
- Students are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If a student chooses not to pay the interest while they are in school or during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, interest will be added to the principal amount of the student’s loan).
Student Loan Counseling
Students borrowing from the Federal Loan programs are required to complete an Entrance Counseling session prior to receiving their first loan disbursement. They must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Students are required to complete Exit Counseling when leaving Meridian University (graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below half-time registration).
The loan counseling sessions are intended to inform the student of his/her rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower as well as about student loan indebtedness. The MPN E-Sign (Master Promissory Note) is an electronic signature via which the student is agreeing to borrow the loan(s). Loans will not process to a student’s account until the necessary steps are completed. Students are responsible for tuition payments on the applicable due dates if they have not completed the Entrance Counseling Session and the MPN. Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT).
Cost of Attendance
Cost of Attendance (COA) is a budget determined by Meridian University to estimate the cost of education for the academic year. This estimated budget includes both direct costs, which include applicable bills from the University such as tuition and residential fees, as well as estimates of indirect costs, which include expected expenses that may be incurred by the student but are not directly paid to the University such as living expenses (outside of the fees associated with Meridian’s Residential Accommodation Plan), books, travel, personal, and/or miscellaneous expenses. The cost of attendance is an estimate of educational expenses for the period of enrollment.
The estimated figures of the indirect costs listed are based on both California regional and metropolitan budgets developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as benchmarked against other comparable graduate programs. These are only estimates. Individual student costs may vary based on the standard of living and where the student lives. A breakdown of the COA is available here (based on full-time registration status).
Financial Aid Offer Notification
Once your FAFSA is processed, Meridian will confirm receipt of the FAFSA by either sending you a FAFSA receipt confirmation email or an email letting you know if there are any issues with the FAFSA that need to be resolved. After you have officially enrolled, we will email you a Financial Aid Offer Notification for you to sign and return. The Financial Aid Offer Notification discloses your Direct Loan Borrowing Information and Remaining Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Education. Your Financial Aid Offer Notification will indicate the full loan amount(s) for which you are eligible. When signing your offer notification you will have the opportunity to request less than the maximum amount if you wish.
If you do not understand how much aid you would be accepting by signing the Financial Aid Offer Notification, or don’t understand how to note that you want to borrow less than the total offered, contact the Financial Aid Office before signing your Financial Aid Offer Notification.
NOTIFICATION OF RIGHT TO CANCEL ALL OR A PORTION OF YOUR AID:
If you choose to borrow a different amount, or want to cancel the loan offer, you will need to sign the applicable form. By signing your Financial Aid Offer Notification, you are accepting all of your financial aid offered, unless indicated otherwise.
Student Consumer Information Disclosures
All postsecondary institutions participating in Federal Student Aid programs are required to make available certain information to assist consumers in making better-informed decisions about their educational options. Please visit Meridian’s Student Consumer Information section for this information and required disclosures.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Deadlines
All financial aid application items should be accurately completed and received by the Financial Aid Office at least three weeks prior to the start of the quarter. For example, if you are enrolling in Fall 2021 your deadline is August 11, 2021. Students who do not submit the required items in a timely manner must be prepared to meet their tuition and fee obligations by the payment deadlines, even if they plan to receive aid later in the year.
Quarter Start and End Dates:
Meridian University uses the quarter system.
|Fall Quarter||September 1, 2021 - November 30, 2021|
|Winter Quarter||December 1, 2021 - February 28, 2022|
|Spring Quarter||March 1, 2022 - May 31, 2022|
|Summer Quarter||June 1, 2022 - August 31, 2022|
Student loans disburse on a quarterly basis. Loan funds are received by Meridian University and are posted to the student’s account via the Student Services Portal. Funds are generally disbursed during the first three to four weeks of the quarters (after the add/drop deadline) for those students who provided all requested information at least three weeks prior to the start of the first quarter in the loan period. Credit balances (if applicable) are disbursed within 14 days of the actual date of disbursement. Factors affecting disbursement include (but are not limited to) registration status, satisfactory academic progress, and receipt of other aid. Students are required to notify the Financial Aid Office of any other aid received or anticipated for the loan period.
In-school Loan Deferment
In-school deferments allow students to temporarily stop making or reduce payments on student loans while registered in school at least half-time. You should request the applicable form from your loan servicer.
Complete Section 1: Borrower Information and then email the form to email@example.com or via postal mail to:
Financial Aid Office
47 Sixth Street
Petaluma, CA 94952.
The Financial Aid Office will complete the bottom of page two; Section 4: Authorized Official’s Certification and return it to you.
Note: Meridian cannot submit the form on the student's behalf. The student must submit it to their loan servicer.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible for federal loan disbursements. Please refer to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress page for complete details.
Students who register as Continuation Students and are not enrolled in the initial eight-quarter PhD/EdD dissertation period, the four-quarter PsyD Clinical Case Study (CCS) period, or the four-quarter dissertation/CCS extension periods are not eligible for financial aid or in-school deferments on student loans. This includes students in the Fieldwork process. See Doctoral Project Fees and Financial Aid.
Change(s) of Personal Information
It is each student’s responsibility to make sure that Meridian University and the U.S. Department of Education have the most current and correct address, phone number, and email information. If this information changes, the respective representatives must be notified.
In the event of a legal name change, notify the Meridian Academic Records and Financial Aid Offices. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education requires notification of your legal name change. Call the Federal Student Aid Loan Department at 1-800-848-0978, and go to NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System).
It is important to understand the details of federal loan repayment. To learn more about when repayment starts, how to make your payments, repayment plan options, and more, click the links below to review important U. S. Department of Education webpages.
- Student Loan Repayment
- Repayment Plans
- Extended Repayment Plan
- Income-Based Repayment Plan
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
- Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
- Student Loan Forgiveness
Meridian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation or identity, physical or mental disability, citizenship status (within the limits imposed by law), marital status, medical condition, or age in any of its policies, procedures or practices.