Financial Aid Loans

A student loan functions like most other types of loans. You borrow money and must later repay it with interest. If you are offered a student loan as a part of your financial aid award, it is important to consider the potential impacts borrowing money may have on your finances before you accept the loan. There are a few different types of student loans that can help you cover the cost of attending Madison College.

To determine if you qualify for student loans, you must complete the financial aid application process, beginning with submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to the basic financial aid eligibility requirements and the eligibility requirements for specific loan programs, you must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for student loans. You must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time (6 credits).
  • Have remaining eligibility in your cost of attendance. The total of aid from all sources cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance. 

There are different types of loans that you may be eligible for: Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans, Alternative (private) loans.

Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education to eligible students. There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. For complete information about the Federal Direct Loan program, including current interest rates, annual limits and aggregate limits, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Eligibility for a subsidized loan is based on financial need as determined by your Cost of Attendance and estimated family contribution (EFC). With this loan, the government will pay the interest while you are enrolled at least half time (6 credits), during your grace period (unless you received a subsidized loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014) and during any periods of deferment. 

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

A FAFSA is required to receive an unsubsidized loan, but eligibility is not based on financial need. The amount will be determined based on your cost of attendance, any other aid received, and the federal annual loan limits. With this loan, interest will start accruing as soon as it is disbursed.

Before Disbursement

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
  • You must not exceed federal aggregate loan limits.
  • Once you receive your Award Offer Notification in your student email, go into your myMadisonCollege Student Center and accept or decline your awards. Awards usually include both the fall and spring semester for that aid year. When accepting your loans, be sure you are accepting enough for the entire aid year.
  • Complete Entrance Counseling to better understand your responsibilities and obligations by borrowing student loans.
  • Complete a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is a legal document in which you are promising to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • View the disbursement page for additional information on when you will receive your funds.

If you received a Federal Direct Loan(s) and you graduate, drop below half-time or withdraw, you are required to complete Exit Loan Counseling. You may do this online at the Student Loans website. The purpose of exit counseling is to inform you of your obligations and options regarding the repayment of your Federal Direct Loan(s).

Affordable Repayment Plans

Direct loan repayment plans are designed to provide flexibility for any budget.

PLUS Loans

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (often referred to as Parent PLUS) is a credit-based loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education. The loan is available to parents of dependent students who need help paying for education related expenses.

The PLUS loan is in the name of the parent and cannot be transferred to the student (regardless of personal payment arrangements between the parent and student). Repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement. Parents may request a deferment if the student is still enrolled at least half time (6 credits) or up to six months after the student is less than half time or is done attending school.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The parent must meet the Direct PLUS loan eligibility requirements.
  • The parent must be the biological, adoptive or, in some cases, stepparent of a Madison College student enrolled in an eligible program .
  • The parent must not have an adverse credit history. (Some exceptions may apply.)
  • The student must be dependent.
  • The student must be awarded financial aid.

How Do Parents Apply?

  1. Go to and, under the Parent Borrowers tab, select Apply for a PLUS Loan to access the application and conduct the credit check. If the decision is denied, the parent has the option to reapply using an endorser (co-signer). A PLUS Credit Counseling requirement applies when there is an endorser.
  2. Complete the Loan Agreement for a PLUS Loan (MPN) upon an approved credit decision.
  3. Submit the PLUS Loan Request to Madison College's Financial Aid Office for awarding purposes.

The PLUS loan can be awarded up to the cost of attendance after other estimated financial aid is considered. Interest starts accruing on the loan at disbursement. Interest rates are subject to change every year on July 1 for every new disbursed loan.

Loans are disbursed through the student’s account at Madison College to pay off any tuition and fees owed (in addition to any funds for which permission had been granted). Any funding left over after paying off the balance owed will be refunded directly to the parent in the form of a check.

Private Loans

Private or alternative student loans or private parent loans are offered through a variety of lending institutions. They are not considered federal loans. These loans can be taken out by a student, parent, family member, or sponsor (any creditworthy individual). These loans should only be considered when all other aid options (grants, work study, and other loans) have been exhausted. Loan amounts may not exceed the student’s remaining financial need up to the cost of attendance.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements for financial aid and have received an Award Notification in your student email.
  • You must have a credit score high enough to qualify for the loan or a cosigner with an eligible credit score.
  • Each lender may have additional requirements. Follow the application procedure below to find out what loans you may be eligible for and the eligibility requirements.  

Be sure to pay attention to interest rates, repayment obligations and repayment plan options before applying for a private or alternative loan. If you have questions regarding the loan, contact the loan provider.

Preferred Lender List

The Financial Aid department utilizes FASTChoice, a loan comparison tool offered by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation that allows students to compare up to three different loans side-by-side.

You can also visit FASTChoice to see our preferred lender list. 

Preferred Lender List Disclosures

In an effort to provide better counseling services to our students, Madison College has entered into a preferred lender arrangement (PLA). Federal and state law mandates that we must provide the following disclosures in association with this process:

Method and Criteria for Lender Selection

Madison College evaluates and selects lenders based on requested information from lenders. Factors considered include competitive interest rates and origination fees, borrower benefits, electronic application and processing, co-signer release options, deferment and repayment terms as well as the most widely used lenders by current and former students, and high quality of servicing the loans.

After reviewing the information submitted by each lender, we felt the lenders represented on our list best fit the criteria we set forth. Each year we review our list of preferred lenders. 


This list does not contain affiliated lenders.

Code of Conduct

Madison College has a published Financial Aid Code of Conduct that must be followed (see next tab).

Making the Decision

You may borrow from any lender you choose and are not required to use a lender on Madison College’s preferred lender list. Madison College will process loans from any eligible lender you select.


Preferred Lender Arrangements are required to be reviewed annually to ensure that competitive products that are in the best interest of the borrower are being offered.  Please provide us with feedback regarding any positive and/or negative aspects that may have been experienced when working with a particular lender.  Feedback can be sent to

How to Apply

You may apply for a private or alternative loan at the financial institution of your choice, but doing so will significantly delay the time frame in which you receive those funds. We recommend you follow the steps below to apply for the most common loans taken out by Madison College students.

  1. Go to FASTChoice and select "Student - Private Loan Options" (for students) OR select "Parent - Private Loan Options" (for parents, family members, or sponsors)
  2. (Student's only) Complete Borrowing Essentials to learn about borrowing money.
  3. Select Continue.
  4. Read and understand the Loan Product Disclosures.
  5. Use the filter option to select undergraduate and select filter Loans.
  6. Compare the different student loan options that are provided.
  7. Once you find a loan you are interested in, select Apply.
  8. Provide the lender with all required information and submit your application.
  9. The lender will receive your application and review it to determine if you qualify. They will contact you regarding the outcome of the loan application. If your loan is approved, the lender also notifies the Financial Aid Office at Madison College.
  10. The Financial Aid Office will review your account, and if you meet the eligibility requirements, your loan will be certified.
  11. It will then take at least 14 business days for the loan monies to come to Madison College pursuant to Section 155 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) and to satisfy the requirements of Section 128(e)(3) of the Truth in Lending Act .
  12. See our disbursement page for information about what happens after the money is received.
Code of Conduct

As a method of formal guiding principles to insure the integrity of the Federal Student Aid program and ethical conduct of employees regarding student loan practices, Madison Area Technical College has adopted this Student Loan Code of Conduct as an official document for the institution.

The Student Loan Code of Conduct encompasses all employees who work in the Student Financial Support Services Department, and all other employees of the college, including internal and external agents of the university who serve in capacities related to educational loan, or other forms of Federal Student Aid programs. Adhering to the primary requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, this Student Loan Code of Conduct was created.

Contents within this Student Loan Code of Conduct assist to provide additional standards of conduct for employees who have responsibility for student financial aid and do not, by any means, replace any existing or future requirements imposed by the State of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Technical College System, or Madison Area Technical College related to codes and conduct, conflict of interest policies, ethical training, or other such requirements.

The Student Loan Code of Conduct also confirms that Madison Area Technical College does not have preferred lender arrangements, of any kind, or a preferred lender list. The contents below assist in the establishment of Madison Area Technical College’s stance regarding code of conduct:

  1. Revenue Sharing: Madison Area Technical College and its employees will not enter into any type of revenue sharing arrangement with any lender, guarantor, or loan servicer to protect the integrity of the federal loan program.
  2. Gifts: All employees within Student Financial Support Services are prohibited from soliciting or accepting any gift from a lender, guarantor, or loan servicer of education loans. Gifts are defined as being gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan or other items. Student Financial Support Services employees will also not accept or receive gifts of services, transportation, lodging, or meals; whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has incurred. Any gift to staff or family members of Madison Area Technical College are prohibited if the gift is given with the knowledge and consent of the employee and there is specific reason to believe that the said gift was based on the official position of that employee of the college.
  3. Contracting Arrangements: Employees of Student Financial Support Services shall not accept, at any time, from any lender or affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefit – this includes the opportunity to purchase stock – as compensation for any consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender, or on the behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
  4. Preferred Lender Status: As a participant of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, Madison Area Technical College, provides student and parent loans through the U.S. Department of Education. Private education loan lenders will not be given a preferred status. Madison Area Technical College does not have any preferred lender arrangements that give any lender an advantage in securing business from our students, nor does the institution provide students with a preferred lender list from which students should select a lender for private student loans – students will always have the option to borrow from an institution of his or her choice. All loans are processed without regard to lender or mode of transmission processes (electronic or paper). The institution will not recommend a private loan lender nor accept any material benefits including revenue or profit sharing to the institution, an officer, or an employee of the institution or an agent.
  5. Private Loan Certification: Upon the intent/decision for students to seek private student loans, Madison Area Technical College will not assign a borrower’s private student loan to a particular lender. A borrower, utilizing free will, has the authority for all decisions made in his or her independent review of borrower benefits and lender services. The institution will not refuse to certify or delay certification of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a specific lender or guaranty agency.
  6. Borrower Opportunities: Madison Area Technical College’s Student Financial Support Services prohibits offers of funds for private loans to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of Federal Student Loans, a specified loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement. This is in compliance of Section 140 of the Truth in Lending Act.
  7. Staffing Assistance: Madison Area Technical College will not request or accept from any lender, guarantor, or servicer of student loans any assistance (consulting arrangements or contract to provide services to or behalf of a lender relating to education loans). Services include call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
  8. Advisory Board Compensation: In the event of employees of Student Financial Support Services, who serve on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors; those individuals are prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving such advisory board, commission or group.
  9. Educational Training: Lenders, guarantors, and loan servicers may provide college financial literacy outreach activities to Madison Area Technical College students but are prohibited from conducting in-person, school-required entrance and exit counseling.
Default Rates

Madison College 3-Year Cohort Default Rates (CDRs)

The cohort default rate is the percentage of a school's students who had certain federal student loans enter repayment in a federal fiscal year and then default before the end of the next two fiscal years. 

Cohort Year: Represents loans that first entered repayment during this first federal fiscal year.
Year Published: The official cohort default rate was calculated and announced to the public during this calendar year. 
Rate: The cohort default rate for loans used to attend Madison College.

Cohort Year: 2016
Year Published: 2019
Rate: 13.1%

Cohort Year: 2017
Year Published: 2020
Rate: 9.5%

Cohort Year: 2018
Year Published: 2021
Rate: 6.5%