If you find that your college expenses exceed your grants, scholarships, work study, federal loans and savings, the SELF Loan Program could be a good option to bridge your remaining tuition gap.
Short for the Minnesota Student Educational Loan Fund Program, SELF is a long-term, low-interest student loan. Because the SELF Loan is administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, a state agency, the interest rates may be lower than private loans and some federal loans. With the SELF Loan, you know before you apply what your interest rate is. Rates are the same for everyone and are not based on credit scores like most private loans.
Keep in mind that the SELF Loan is not free money. While the program does offer some benefits over other loans, be sure to borrow only what you need.
Visit the SELF Loan website for more information and start your online application.
SELF Loan is available to Minnesota residents attending any eligible institution and non-residents physically attending eligible institutions in Minnesota. They must be enrolled at least half-time in a certificate, associate, bachelor's or graduate degree program, and making satisfactory academic progress.
Before applying for a SELF Loan, students are required to seek other sources of federal, state, institutional, and private aid for which they may be eligible.
SELF is funded by revenue bonds, rather than through the state or federal government. Because of that, borrowers must have a creditworthy co-signer on their loan. They must make minimum payments on the loan while in school. These features allow the SELF Loan to offer low interest rates, as well as no application, processing or guarantee fees.
Current Interest Rates
Borrowers can choose either a fixed or variable rate. The variable rate can change every three months. There is a 3 percent cap on interest increases during any 12-month period. The fixed rate will not change over the life of the loan.
The current SELF VI interest rates (effective January 1, 2023) are:
- Variable: 6.0%
- Fixed: 6.35%
Interest rates are not tied to credit scores or income.
How much can I borrow?
Loan limits are determined based on the program the student is enrolled in. Depending on program, the maximum limits are $3,500, $10,000 or $20,000. Minimum loan amount is $500.00.
|Program Type||Annual Limit||Cumulative Limit|
|Programs shorter than 1 year||$3,500.00||$7,500.00|
How does repayment work?
There are four different payment periods for SELF VI Loans designed to make repayment manageable:
- School Period
- Transition Period
- Extension Period
- Repayment Period
The School Period is when you are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying SELF School. During the School Period, you are required to make monthly payments of up to $25 (currently set at $15) per SELF VI Loan. Any unpaid interest from your School and Transition Periods will be capitalized - added to the principal balance - at the end of the Transition Period.
The Transition Period begins:
- upon graduation,
- if your enrollment drops to below half-time, or
- if you transfer to a school which doesn’t qualify.
During the Transition Period (up to 12 months) you are required to make monthly payments of up to $25 (currently, set at $15) per SELF VI loan. Any unpaid interest from your School and Transition Periods will be capitalized - added to the principal balance - at the end of the Transition Period.
During the Extension Period (up to 24 months) you are required to make monthly payments of interest. The Extension Period is optional after the end of your Transition Period.
The Repayment Period begins:
- at the end of the Transition or Extension Period or
- nine years after you took out the loan if you are still in School, Transition or Extension.
- During the Repayment Period you are required to make monthly payments of principal and interest.
- There is a minimum payment of $50 a month on all your SELF Loans once you enter the Repayment Period.
- There are no grace periods or deferment options.
- SELF Loans cannot be included in a federal loan consolidation.
- Your maximum Repayment Period depends on how much you borrow from the SELF program.
maximum self vI repayment periods
|Total SELF Loan Balances||Maximum Repayment Period|
|Less than $20,000||120 months from when you enter the Repayment Period|
|$20,000 to $40,000||180 months from when you enter the Repayment Period|
|$40,000 or greater||240 months from when you enter the Repayment Period|