Graduate Student Loans

federal and alternative loans


By completing the FAFSA a student is automatically applying for federal student loans.  Loan eligibility will appear in the students financial aid offer. Once the loan has been accepted, if the student is a first time loan borrower at MMA, they must complete Loan Entrance Counseling as well as sign a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note, promising to repay the loan. These steps are required to finalize the loan offer.


Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per year, based on their costs,  through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program.  Students are awarded on an annual basis.  The loan is approved for the total cost of the first year of the program.  Students must re-apply for aid in the late spring/early summer (by filing a new FAFSA) for the second year of their program and will be awarded additional loan to assist with second year costs.

  • Unsubsidized - Interest is the responsibility of the student from the very beginning.  Interest not paid while in school is capitalized and added to the principal amount at the end of the 6 month grace period.  The interest rate is based on the 10 year Treasury Bill and is variable-fixed, with a cap of 9.5%. The interest rate for 2022-2023 is 6.54%.
How to Use Your Federal Loan

There are required steps prior to and after using your loan. If you have any problems completing this information, please contact the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Loan Coordinator, Marissa Barros at 508-830-5222 or

All first time Massachusetts Maritime Academy borrowers must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling before their loan can be finalized. 

Visit and log in using the box in the upper right corner of the page.  Once signed in, you can select 'complete entrance counseling' and follow the on line instructions to complete the counseling session.  This counseling will provide the student with important information about borrowing through the federal student loan program. The Office of Student Financial Services at MMA will receive an electronic notification when the counseling has been completed.  Students are encouraged to maintain a copy of the confirmation that they receive once the process has been completed.

If your financial aid offer includes a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you are required to sign a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note in order to finalize your loan(s).  Parents who are borrowing through the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program must also sign a Master Promissory Note to finalize the PLUS Loan.  

All first time loan borrowers at Massachusetts Maritime Academy are required to fulfill this requirement.  Once a student has completed the Entrance Counseling and signed the Master Promissory Note, there is no need for the student to repeat this process in future years at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Go to and log in using the box located in the top right section of the page.  You should log in using your (student) FSA user id and password (the same one that you used to file your FAFSA each year).

Any student who has had a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan as part of their financial aid offer is required to complete Federal Loan Exit Counseling before they graduate or withdraw from MMA. The counseling session is performed online. This process will take you through your detailed loan summary for the years you were enrolled, as well as give important information regarding repayment, consolidation, and other loan options. 

Complete Exit Counseling at You will need an SFA User ID in order to complete the exit counseling.   You may already have this ID, as it is required to file the FAFSA.  It is very important that you complete this before you leave the Academy. If a student does not complete Exit Counseling, the student will automatically be assigned a standard repayment term and not be given the option to select the plan that best fits the student's individual situation.

Please note:  This Exit Counseling Process only covers any Federal Loans that you have borrowed.  It does not include any private, alternative loans that you and/or your parents have borrowed in addition to the Federal Loans that you were awarded as part of the financial aid application process.  Students are welcome to contact our office to determine if you have borrowed any loans in addition to these federal loans.

Private Alternative Loans

The FastChoice website has an easy to read chart that gives you important lender information including current interest rates.  You can also click to apply with the lenders shown right from the chart.


  • Credit based loan
  • Student is primary borrower and will most likely need a credit-worthy co-signer for approval
  • Interest rate is usually based on credit-worthiness of co-signer
  • Most lenders require that the student is enrolled at least 1/2 time (6 credits)
  • Interest rate is often variable
  • Usually the most expensive way to finance an education
  • Most lenders allow deferment of payment as long as student is enrolled at least half time (6 credits)
  • Some states have a state sponsored loan authority.  These non-profits may be able to provide you with cost effective loan options
  • Alternative loans may not be used as credit against your tuition bill until all paperwork has been completed with the lender and certified by the loan coordinator in the MMA Office of Student Financial Services.
  • This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending upon the lender. 
  • Once the loan has been certified by MMA's loan coordinator, the loan will show as 'pending financial aid' on the student's e-bill.
  • You are encouraged to borrow the full amount that you will need for the entire academic year.
  • Students are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as they determine that additional funds are needed to avoid late fees on their billed charges and/or disruptions to their enrollment status
  • If you choose to borrow on a semester by semester basis:
    • For the fall semester, this should be done no later than early July
    • For the winter semester, no later than early November
    • For the spring semester, no later than early January