Student Loans

Learn about Student Loans before Applying

Student loans can be a valuable tool to help you realize your educational and career dreams. Loans should, however, be the last option you consider. Before accepting a loan, you should fully understand your options and responsibilities when borrowing and repaying student loans.

Federal Direct Loans are one type of financial aid that is available to help pay for the cost of your higher education.

Loan Requirements

In order to be eligible for Federal Direct student loans, you must meet specific requirements.

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits)
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, including:
    • A 2.0 GPA
    • 67 percent completion rate
    • Graduate within 150 percent of your declared degree or certificate program's published length
    • Complete at least one attempted credit per semester
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or eligible non-citizen
  • Be free from default on any federal student loans
  • Be free from any obligation to repay a federal or state grant
  • Male students: satisfy the selective service requirement
  • Meet any requirement(s) specified by the Financial Aid office

Types of Loans

  1. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans: The federal government pays the interest (4.29 percent) on this type of loan while you are attending school at least half-time, during your six month grace period and during any period of loan deferment.
    New borrowers who borrow Federal Direct Subsidized Loans on or after July 1, 2013 can only receive subsidized loan funds for up to 150% of the published length of their degree/certificate program. For example, if you are working toward a 60-credit associate degree, you may be eligible to receive subsidized loan funds for up to three years.
  2. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: 4.29 percent interest on this type of loan accrues and capitalizes quarterly while you are in school, during your six month grace period and during any period of loan deferment. Interest payments are not required and may be deferred until repayment begins (six months after you are no longer attending school at least half-time) but doing so will cause the interest to capitalize on the principal balance, thus increasing the overall loan amount you must repay. All eligible students can borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan regardless of income.
    For the 2015-2016 academic year, the interest rate is 4.29 percent for both subsidized and unsubsidized loan funds. The amount of loans you may borrow varies depending on your year in school, the length of your academic program, your dependency status and other types of financial aid awarded to you.
    Loan limits are maximums and the Financial Aid office makes the final determination of actual amounts that can be borrowed. CCD does not automatically award the maximum unsubsidized loan eligibility to students in their initial award notices.
  3. Parents Plus Loan
    6.84 percent interest is charged on PLUS loans, borrowed by the parent whose information was provided on a student’s FAFSA.  Approval is subject to a credit check. If you are a dependent student whose parents are ineligible for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan due to adverse credit, you may be eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized loan funds. Read more information about Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans.

Loan Amount Limits

Annual Federal Loan Limits*
FRESHMAN $5,500 (maximum of $3,500 subsidized) $9,500 (maximum $3,500 subsidized)
SOPHOMORE $6,500 (maximum of $4,500 subsidized) $10,500 (maximum of $4,500 subsidized)

*You are not guaranteed to be eligible to borrow the full limit of student loans. If you are in need of additional funding, contact the Financial Aid office.

Loan Disbursements

CCD loans are split evenly into two disbursements, generally split between two semesters. We typically do not approve requests to receive a full year's award during a single semester.

Once accepted via your CCDConnect account, CCD will submit your loan to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Your loan will be accessible by authorized guaranty agencies, lenders and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system. 

Repayment Chart

Repayment Options & Expected Monthly Payments

General Student Loan Questions

Federal Student Aid Information Center
1.800.4.FEDAID (33 3243)
(TTY 1.800.730.8913)

For repayment questions, contact your loan servicer. Loan servicer contact information is available by visiting the National Students Loan Data System.

We've Teamed up with ECMC Solutions

ECMC Solutions is a non-profit organization who can help you manage and repay your student loans. They provide one-on-one student loan counseling, can help you reduce your payments or postpone student loan payments when needed. Contact them at 1-844-ON-TRACK.

  • Mondays - Thursdays, 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. CT
  • Fridays, 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT
  • Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CT

Live like a student now so you don't have to when you graduate!  Before taking on any loan debt, CCD encourages you to borrow only what is absolutely necessary to cover educational expenses and to budget wisely. Think about the amount of the monthly loan payment that you can realistically pay each month once the loan goes into repayment. Planning before you borrow may save you from being burdened with excessive debt later. CCD offers many excellent resources to help our students with financial planning and budgeting.

View a sample repayment chart for student loans.

Steps 1 & 2: Complete Entrance Counseling & Master Promissory Note

  • Go to
  • Log in using your FSA ID.
  • Select "Complete Counseling."
  • Click on "Start Entrance Counseling."
  • Follow all steps through completion.
  • Once finished with Entrance Counseling, select "Complete a Master Promissory Note" from the home page.
  • Select “Complete Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN” and follow all steps through completion.
  • We will automatically receive confirmation that you've completed Entrance Counseling and the MPN within one week after you have accepted your offered loan, are enrolled at least half-time and complete these requirements.

Step 3: Accept Your Loan Offer

This step can only be completed after you have been offered a Federal Direct Loan.

  • Log into your account at CCDConnect.
  • Click on “Student Finance.”
  • Select “Financial Aid Awards.”
  • Select the appropriate aid year.
  • Click on “Accept Award Offer.”
  • Click “Submit.”
  • If you are borrowing less than the maximum amount offered to you, enter the total dollar amount desired for the “Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Offered” and/or the “Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Offered” (cannot exceed offered amount).  Keep in mind that any requested amount will be split in half, likely over two semesters.

Attention first-time borrowers: The government places a 30-day hold on the disbursement of your first loan.