Optional Loan Programs

Note: WSU does not endorse specific lenders or loan products. Please contact the lender directly for the terms and conditions of the loans.

The optional loan program limit listed on your financial aid award letter is calculated by taking the cost of attendance minus the other financial aid listed on your award letter. The financial aid office recommends that you view the cost of attendance and determine what costs can be covered out of pocket, then look at what other financial aid you are eligible for to determine how much you might need to borrow from an optional loan. 

Loans are sources of funding that allow you to spread the cost of education over time. They are available from various sources, including federal and state governments, and private lenders. Federal and State loans must be accepted prior to the end of the enrollment period to allow sufficient time for school certification and to meet half-time or more enrollment disbursement requirements.

Loans are first credited to your student account with any remaining money disbursed to you through direct deposit. Your loans may be canceled if you do not complete the required documents (i.e., master promissory note and entrance counseling).

When you take out a student loan, you must pay it back--even if you do not complete your education.


The MN SELF Loan and various Private Educational Loans require a wide range of application materials and processing steps. Due to the extent of loan processing conducted outside of the University, WSU is not able to ensure when any individual alternative loan would become available. For step by step instructions please visit Instructions on Applying for an Optional Student Loan.


The MN SELF Loan is a private educational loan through the state of Minnesota. This loan may be used as an optional loan up to the SELF loan limits. The MN SELF loan requires that borrowers be officially accepted into a degree seeking program prior to borrowing. (If you completed Graduate Special application, or an Additional Major application, you are not officially accepted into a degree seeking program.) 

Who is eligible:

  • Eligible students are Minnesota residents and non-Minnesota residents attending Winona State University.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time for each semester the loan disburses (6 credits for undergraduate students and 3 credits for graduate students).
  • You must not be on Financial Aid Suspension or Academic Suspension.
  • You must have a credit worthy co-signer.
  • Complete a FAFSA application.

How to apply for a MN SELF Loan

  • Visit the MN SELF Loan website.
  • This will take you into the MN Office of Higher Education website where you can apply for the SELF Loan.
  • Follow the instructions on this website to complete the MN SELF Loan process.

Private Educational Loans

Private Educational Loans are student loans offered through private lenders for families that have exhausted free money (grants and scholarships), and federal and state financial aid (loans and work study).  These loans are underwritten by a bank or credit union.  Most of these loan will require the student to have a credit worthy co-signer.  To prevent over-borrowing please check out the cost of attendance and money management areas of the website.

How to apply for a Private Education Loan

  • The Private Education Loans link with take you to the "FASTChoice" website.
  • You can learn more about private educational loans through "Borrowing Essentials".
  • Completing Borrowing Essentials is not a requirement for borrowing a private education loan. You can bypass Borrowing Essentials and skip right to the private lender list by clicking on "I've already completed Borrowing Essentials".
  • You can compare summary information about each loan listed.
  • If you are interested, click "Apply" to visit that lender's application website.

Federal PLUS Loan

PLUS loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students and graduate degree seeking students can use to help pay education expenses.  For more information click on the Federal PLUS Loan link.