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Student Loans

Loan Information

The key to responsible borrowing is to learn the basics and manage your loan debt. Watch the video Responsible Borrowing to learn about your responsibilities as a borrower and what you should consider when taking out student loans. Watch Repayment: How to Manage Your Student Loans to learn about changing repayment plans, postponing or reducing your payments, or combining your federal student loans. Also visit StudentLoans.gov and then click on Managing Repayment at the top of the page for more information.

Federal Direct Loans

The Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan programs carry both annual and cumulative (lifetime) limits. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) generated from FAFSA, lists your cumulative loans, but it is important that you also keep records of all your loan transactions. You can view your loan history online at nslds.ed.gov.

Subsidized Loans

The Direct subsidized loan enables undergraduate students who show financial need to borrow money for educational expenses. Generally, interest does not accrue until the student graduates, withdraws from school or drops below half-time. Students who receive Direct Subsidized Loans for the first time on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the 150% Subsidized Loan Limits.

Unsubsidized Loans

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan enables undergraduate students to borrow money to pay for their educational expenses regardless of financial need. Interest accrues on an unsubsidized loan while a student is in school. The student may choose to pay the interest while in school to avoid paying interest on interest. 

Eligibility

Students must complete the FAFSA, be enrolled in a minimum of six credits, and meet all other financial aid eligibility requirements to be considered for a Direct Loan.

Student loans are awarded to all eligible students. You may decline, accept or reduce the loans offered through your Online Student Center. To set up your account on your Online Student Center account, go to login request and submit requested information. First time borrowers need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. Your award letter contains student loan instructions to guide you through the process.

Borrowing Limits 

Yearly Maximums (beginning 2008-2009)

Student Level
& Dependency Status

Maximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized

Maximum Subsidized

Dependent freshman

$5,500

$3,500

Dependent sophomore

$6,500

$4,500

Independent freshman

$9,500

$3,500

Independent sophomore

$10,500

$4,500

Lifetime limits (beginning 2008-2009)

Student Level
& Dependency Status

Maximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized

Maximum Subsidized

Dependent undergraduate

$31,000

$23,000

Independent undergraduate

$57,500

$23,000

If you reach your lifetime loan limit, you cannot receive any more of that type of loan. If you exceed your limit, aid already disbursed will be returned to the federal government and you will be billed. You will have to find alternate ways to finance your education. Therefore it is to your advantage to borrow only what you need for educational expenses and to keep track of your cumulative debt. Financial Aid representatives are happy to work with you to find ways to minimize your borrowing.

Interest Rates 

Interest is “variable-fixed” rate. This means that students may receive a new rate with each new loan, but the rate will be fixed for the life of the loan. New interest rates will be set each July 1 through the following June 30 by the Department of Education.

The following interest rates are effective for all Direct Loans with a first disbursement on or after July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.

The Federal Direct Loan interest rate for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students is 3.76%.

Student Loan Origination Fee Update

The U.S. Department of Education recently decreased the student loan origination fees for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans and for Parent PLUS loans. These decreases will take effect for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2015.

Due to federal sequestration, Subsidized and Unsubsidized origination fees will decrease from 1.073% to 1.068% of the loan principal.  Parent PLUS origination fees will decrease from 4.292% to 4.272% of the loan principal.

There are examples available of how the student loan fee is calculated.

Disbursements

Visit our disbursement and refund webpage for more information. 

Federal Direct Parent Plus Loans 

Enables parents with good credit history to borrow funds to help pay for the cost of their child's education. Students must be dependent as defined by the federal government on FAFSA, enrolled at least half-time and maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Interest accrues beginning with the first disbursement. Repayment of principal and interest begins while the student is in school — within 60 days after the final loan disbursement is made for the period of enrollment for which the funds were borrowed.

Apply

To request a Plus loan, log in to StudentLoans.gov and click on request a Direct Plus Loan.

  • Interest rate is 6.31%.
  • Loan origination fee is 4.272 %.
  • Repayment begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement is disbursed for the period of enrollment for which the parent has borrowed for their student.
  • No grace period. Interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made.
  • Parents who have Plus loans must begin repaying both principal and interest while student is in school or request deferment on the payment(s) of this loan as long as the student is maintaining half-time enrollment. studentloans.gov
  • No loan counseling is required by the school. Based on your credit check the Federal government may require you to complete counseling.
  • The maximum a parent can borrow is equal to the cost of attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid the student receives.
  • To complete a Direct Parent Plus Loan, visit studentloans.gov and go to Complete Plus Request Process.
  • To endorse the Direct Parent Plus Loan after the Request Process, visit studentloans.gov and go to Endorse Plus Loan.

Students whose parent has been denied a PLUS loan based on credit may qualify for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans.

Private Education Loan Disclosures

GRCC does not provide information to students regarding borrowing funds from private lenders or have preferred lender arrangements with any private financial institutions. We will certify private loan applications that are submitted to GRCC by students via their lender. Please note: The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires that before a private educational lender may finalize a private education loan for a student in attendance at an institution of higher education, the private lender must obtain the signed, completed self-certification form. Most lenders will provide this form directly to students. If your lender does not, you can obtain a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form.