The Federal Direct Student Loan Program provides low-interest loans to post-secondary students and their parents. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program is issued and managed by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Demonstrate financial need (for most programs).
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
- Have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
- Be registered with the Selective Service, if you're male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25).
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Be enrolled at least half-time.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
- Complete the FAFSA.
- Go to the Federal Student loans website and log in with your FSA ID.
- Click Complete Counseling and select Entrance Counseling. This quiz is required by the Department of Education and must be completed in one sitting.
- Click Complete Master Promissory Note and select Subsidized/Unsubsidized.
- Complete a Loan Request Form, which will be emailed to your BC3 account once we receive your application information.
- Processing of the loan takes 2-4 weeks. You will receive an award letter in your BC3 email account once the loan has been certified and the amounts are made available on the student portal.
Students are limited to two loan changes per academic year.
It is important you plan your financial needs ahead of time to ensure you receive the loan funds you need to cover the entire enrollment period.
Loans cannot be processed after the semester deadline:
- Fall: November 15
- Spring: April 15
- Summer: June 30
Annual Federal Maximum Limits (Total for Fall, Spring, & Summer)
- Grade Level 1 (0-29 credits earned) $5,500 If eligible, no more than $3,500 of this may be subsidized
- Grade Level 2 (30+ credits earned) $6,500 If eligible, no more than $4,500 of this may be subsidized
- Grade Level 1 (0-29 credits earned) $9,500 If eligible, no more than $3,500 of this may be subsidized
- Grade Level 2 (30+ credits earned) $10,500 If eligible, no more than $4,500 of this may be subsidized
- 4.45% Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.
- 7% Direct PLUS Loans for Parents of undergraduate students with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.
Note: Rates are subject to change.
- Go to Federal Student Loans website and log in with your FSA ID.
- On the left-hand side, click on Request Direct PLUS Loan.
- Click Parent PLUS and complete the PLUS Loan Request for Supplemental Information. This section performs the required credit check and will ask how much you want to borrow and for what loan term.
- If the credit check is approved, click Complete Master Promissory Note and select Parent PLUS. The school will be notified of your application.
- If denied, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan through one of these two options:
- Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it. The endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.
- Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history.
- If you are approved through one of the two options above you must also complete credit counseling for PLUS loan borrowers through the Federal Student Loans website.
- The loans are offered by private lenders.
- Eligibility may be driven by the applicant’s and co-applicant’s credit score.
- Private education loans tend to cost more than federal education loans - variable interest rates
- Parents who are considering a private alternative education loan often consider a Federal Direct PLUS Loan.
To select a private alternative education loan, it’s best to do your own research:
- Ask lenders for comparison charts.
- Go online. Entering “private student loans” or “alternative student loans” on any search engine will yield quite a few sites.
- You may also want to read the information on “Private Education Loans” on www.finaid.org.
Students applying for a private alternative loan must complete the Private Loan Self Certification Form and submit it to your lender.
Are you thinking about taking out a federal student loan to help pay for college or career school? Check out this video to learn about your responsibilities as a borrower and what you should consider when taking out loans for college.