How to Become a Responsible Borrower

If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your financial aid package.  A student loan is a big commitment that should be considered carefully.  Determining if you really need a student loan and if so, how much student loan money you need, are both very important decisions that should be thought out before deciding to accept your loans.  If you have any questions, about student loans or other financial matters please schedule an appointment with our financial aid office today by emailing or calling 409-882-3317.

What is a Student Loan?

A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest.  Student loans may come from the federal government, a state government, or private institutions such as banks.  It is important when borrowing student loans that you are aware of the terms and conditions of the loans.  Things such as interest rates, repayment options, deferments, and grace periods should all be taken into consideration.  

What is Interest?

Interest is additional money that you pay to a lender as a cost of borrowing money. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount that you borrowed.

Unlike other forms of debt, such as credit cards and mortgages, Direct Loans are “daily interest” loans. On daily interest loans, interest accrues (adds up) every day.

If your loans are subsidized, you are not responsible for paying the interest that accrues while you’re in school. If your loans are unsubsidized, you’re responsible for all the interest that accrues, even while you’re in school.

Learn more about Interest Rates and Fees for Federal Student Loans.

Determine if You Need to Borrow a Student Loan

You may be offered a student loan in your financial aid package; however, this does not mean you need it.  You should analyze your expenses and exhaust all other sources of aid; such as scholarships, grants, and work-study before deciding to borrow a student loan. 

Only Borrow What You Need

If you decide that you need to borrow a student loan to help with your college cost, you are not required to accept the full amount of the loan(s) offered to you.  You can accept a partial amount of the loan on your Gator Self-Service Account.  If you accidently accept too much, contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible.

Subsidized or Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan?

If offered both a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan, you must accept the subsidized loan before accepting the unsubsidized loan.  This is because the subsidized loan has better terms.  Learn the difference between a subsidized loan and unsubsidized loan.

Managing Your Student Loan Debt

If you choose to borrow loans, it is important that you become an informed borrower.  You may accomplish this by being aware of your student loan debt and knowing what resources are available to help you manage and repay your debt.  Use the resources below to help you manage your loan debt.

  • Complete Entrance Counseling to help you understand your responsibilities as a borrower.
  • Understand the terms of your loan and keep copies of your loan documents.
  • Keep track of how much you’re borrowing by viewing your student dashboard at We strongly encourage you to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment each year you accept a new federal student loan to help you understand your loans and how they affect your financial future.
  • Complete Loan Exit Counseling if you are graduating or will no longer be enrolled in at least six semester credit hours. This counseling provides vital information needed to prepare you to repay a federal student loan(s).
  • Use the Loan Simulator to help calculate your student loan payment and choose a Loan Repayment option that best meets your needs and goals.
  • See if you qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness.
  • Keep your contact information current with LSCO’s Admissions and Records Office.
  • Keep in touch with your loan servicer, notifying them when you:
    • change your name, address, or phone number;
    • need help making your loan payment;
    • have a question about your bill;
    • have other questions about your student loan; or
    • graduate or if you will no longer be enrolled in six semester credit hours.
  • *For loans held by the U.S. Department of Education, you find out who your loan servicer is by visiting your account dashboard at and scrolling down to the “My Loan Servicers” section, or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

Right to Cancel Federal Student Loans

You have the right to cancel an entire loan or any portion or specific disbursement of any Federal Direct Student Loan. You will be notified via email of your right to cancel a loan once loan funds are credited to your account. You may submit a request to cancel a specific loan disbursement prior to the date of crediting your account or within 14 days of the notification email. Submit your request to cancel your loan via your LSCO student email account to

If a refund has already been generated, your request may be denied. If the request is denied, you must repay the funds to the U.S. Department of Education in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Master Promissory Note you signed.

Next Steps