Student Loan Exit Counseling

Federal regulations and MSU-Northern Financial Aid policies dictate that borrowers under the Federal Student Loan program must complete exit counseling upon graduation or when dropping below half-time enrollment. This requirement is in place to ensure that you receive essential information regarding your specific loans, balances, and repayment options. Exit counseling answers important questions such as, when and where to make payments, what to do if you are unable to make payments, and what happens if you are in default.

You need exit counseling if you have a:

  • Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • Federal or Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students
  • Federal Supplemental Loan for Students
  • Perkins Loan
  • TEACH Grant

You do not need exit counseling if you have a:

  • Federal or Direct PLUS Loan for Parents
  • Private and/or Alternative loans (although some lenders may still require exit counseling)

Before you begin, you should gather your financial details (such as monthly living expenses and income). You are also required to provide contact information (names, email addresses, and phone numbers) for yourself, your next of kin, two (2) references who live in the US, and your employer (if possible).

You will NOT be able to save your Exit Counseling and return at a later time! Progress will NOT be saved if you leave your Exit Counseling session. Please plan to spend about 30 minutes for your online Exit Counseling session.

Instructions for accessing Exit Counseling on the Federal Student Aid (FSA) site

  1. login button
    Click the Exit Counseling link above to access Federal Student Aid (FSA) website.
  2. Click the green Log In button on the Student Loans website and sign in to your student account.
    Note: As of May 10, 2015 you must have a verified FSA ID (Username & Password) instead of a PIN to log in to If you don't have an FSA ID, you can click a link on the same page to create one.
  3. Click the Complete Counseling link from the list of options.
  4. Click the Start button to begin Exit Counseling.
  5. Select MONTANA from the School State dropdown menu, and then select MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY – NORTHERN from the School Name dropdown menu.
  6. Click the Add School button.
  7. Montana State University Northern (002533) should appear in the upper portion with a checkmark. Click the Continue button to begin Exit Counseling.
  8. Each page requires some brief reading and multiple follow-up questions to check your understanding of the topics being presented. The Check Your Knowledge questions are found in a purple box at the end of each section.
  9. Follow the directions and prompts provided to complete each page of Exit Counseling.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (406) 265-3787,, or stop by our office in Cowan Hall (on the east end of the second floor).