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Carrington College Blog

What is a master promissory note?

November 1, 2013

Student Loan ApplicationAfter completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as FAFSA, and determining your financial aid eligibility, you may be asked to sign a master promissory note (MPN) if you have chosen to borrow federal student loans. While it may sound complicated, filling out an MPN isn’t as difficult as you may think. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a MPN?

A master promissory note is essentially your promise to the government that you will repay your student loans when it comes time to do so. MPNs are legal documents and are typically not school-specific. Two common forms are: Direct Stafford Loan MPNs and Direct PLUS Loan MPNs (for parents or graduate PLUS borrowers). Make sure you fill out the proper form depending on the type of loan you plan to use.1

Where should I fill it out?

MPNs can be filled out online or sent in the mail. While it is recommended that you complete the form electronically on the website, you have the legal right to complete and sign a paper MPN.2 If you fill out your MPN online, it will take approximately 30 minutes to complete the process. You must also finish the form in one session.3

What information will I need to include?

Before you begin the process of filling out an MPN, make sure you have the following information on hand: your federal student aid PIN, address, telephone number, email address, employer name and address and school name. You will also need contact information for two references with U.S. addresses who have known you for at least three years. One of them can be your parent, legal guardian, or spouse.4

1 U.S. Department of Education, ‘Master Promissory Notes – MPN Basics,’ 2013 –
2 U.S. Department of Education, ‘Master Promissory Notes – MPN Basics,’ 2013 –
3 U.S. Department of Education, ‘Master Promissory Note,’ 2013 –
4 U.S. Department of Education, ‘Master Promissory Note,’ 2013 –