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Financial Aid

Important Loan Information

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Stafford Loans 

The Office of Financial Aid automatically awards Stafford loans to students who have applied for federal aid and meets all criteria to receive Federal Title IV funding.

Stafford loans amounts are subject to federally mandated limits. Learn more about loan limits by clicking here. There are also enrollment requirements for stafford loans: undergraduate students must enroll in a minimum of six credits hours per semester and graduate students must enroll in a minimum of four credit hours per semester to be eligible for any stafford loan disbursement.

Entrance Loan Counseling

U.S. Department of Education regulations require all first time borrowers of Federal Subsidized Stafford and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans to complete Entrance Loan Counseling.  You must complete Entrance Loan Counseling only once during your undergraduate career. This is required before a school can disburse federal loans to your student account. 

Master Promissory Note

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). This is required before a school can disburse federal loans to your student account. 

You may receive more than one loan under an MPN over a period of up to 10 years to pay for your or your child’s educational costs, as long as the school is authorized to use the MPN in this way and chooses to do so.

Exit Loan Counseling

U.S. Department of Education regulations require Federal Stafford and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan recipients to complete Exit Loan Counseling when graduating from or when leaving Southern Miss. Students who borrowed Stafford and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans can meet this requirement online, please click here.

Please note that you will be required to provide three personal references for Exit Loan Counseling. One of these references must be the address of your immediate next of kin. All references should be adults who live at separate addresses. Addresses must include street and/or P.O. Box numbers, city, state, zip codes, and complete phone numbers.

Cohort Default Rate

A cohort default rate is the percentage of a school's borrowers who enter repayment on certain Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans during a particular federal fiscal year (FY), October 1 to September 30, and default or meet other specified conditions prior to the end of the second following fiscal year.

You can view The University of Southern Mississippi's Official Cohort Default Rate by entering 002441 in the OPEID search box here

How can I view my aid history?

The U.S. Department of Education has a central database for student aid.  It receives data from schools, agencies that guaranty loans, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs. It provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell grants that are tracked through their entire cycle: from aid approval through closure. To view your history, click here to login to your federal student aid account using your FSA ID and Password. 


A Deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue (accumulate), unless you have an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. In that case, you must pay the interest.

How do I qualify for a deferment?

The most typical loan deferment conditions are enrollment in school at least half time, inability to find full-time employment ( for up to 3 years), and economic hardship ( for up to 3 years). Other deferment conditions are loan-specific.

You must continue making payments on your loan until you're notified that your deferment or forbearance has been granted. If you don't, and your request is denied, you'll become delinquent and could end up in default.

What is loan consolidation?

You can consolidate (combine) multiple federal student loans with various repayment schedules into one loan. Your payments might be significantly lower and you can take a longer time to repay (up to 30 years) if you consolidate. Also, you might pay a lower interest rate than you would on one or more of your existing loans.

Please compare the cost of repaying your unconsolidated loans with the cost of repaying a consolidation loan. Consolidation can double total interest expense because you can have a longer period of time to repay, you'll repay more interest.

For a list of your loans eligible for consolidation, contact your lender.

For more information, visit Hover over the "Loan Repayment" tab, then click on "Consolidate Loans."

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Kennard-Washington Hall (KWH) 101
118 College Dr. #5101 Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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Fax 601.266.5769

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Long Beach, MS 39560

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