Important Loan Information

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

Stafford loan amounts are subject to federally mandated limits.  Learn more about loan limits by clicking here.

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.  We are unable to release your Student Loan funds until you have completed this requirement.  We are now able to offer entrance counseling online.

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 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 telephone numbers.

What is NSLDS?

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid.  It receives data from schools, agencies that guarantee loans, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs.  NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell Grants that are tracked through their entire cycle - from aid approval trough closure.  For more information on NSLDS, click here.


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(s) until you are notified that your deferment or forbearance has been granted.  If you don't, and your request is denied, you will 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 the total interest expense because you can have a longer period of time to repay which results in repaying more interest.

For more information, you can go to and click on Repay your Loans and Understanding Repayment.  At the bottom of the page is a link for Loan Consolidation.