Entrance Counseling | Federal Student Aid

Before your federal student loan is paid out to you, your college or career school might ask you to complete entrance counseling.

Be sure you take care of this requirement right away so you can get the money you need to help you pay for school.

Entrance Counseling

The goal of entrance counseling is to help you understand what it means to take out a federal student loan.

What is entrance counseling?
Who has to complete entrance counseling?
When do I go through entrance counseling?
How do I complete entrance counseling?


What is entrance counseling?

During entrance counseling, you will learn about the following:

  • What a Direct Loan is and how the loan process works
  • Managing your education expenses
  • Other financial resources to consider to help pay for your education
  • Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower

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Who has to complete entrance counseling?

All students taking out Direct Subsidized Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans: If you have not previously received a subsidized or unsubsidized loan under the Direct Loan Program or a subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford Loan under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, you’ll be required to complete entrance counseling.

Graduate students taking out Direct PLUS Loans: If you have not previously received a PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, you’ll be required to complete entrance counseling—even if you previously completed it for a subsidized or unsubsidized loan.

Federal Perkins Loan borrowers: If you’re going to receive a Perkins Loan, check with the financial aid office at your school to see what requirements you must meet.

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Parents taking out a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for their children’s education expenses do not have to complete entrance counseling.

When do I go through entrance counseling?

You must complete entrance counseling before your school can make the first disbursement of your loan.

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How do I complete entrance counseling?

Your school will tell you how to complete your entrance counseling. Your school may require in-person counseling, or you may be able to complete the counseling online. (The school will provide the URL for your counseling if it’s available online.) If your school tells you to use www.studentloans.gov to complete entrance counseling, you should expect it to take you about 30 minutes.

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