Financial Aid Services understands that college costs can be daunting, but that shouldn’t stop you from continuing your education. Below are several loan options available to eligible students.
Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, though the student’s loan servicer can be a private business.
What Types of Direct Loans Are Available?
Undergraduate students are eligible to receive Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans. Below are some highlights:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are need-based. Interest does not accrue as long as half-time enrollment (6 credits) is maintained.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based. Interest does accrue during the duration of your college career.
You may be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan if you are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in a degree-seeking program and satisfy the following:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Meet Federal Student Aid eligibility requirements
- Complete your Entrance Counseling (first-time borrowers only) and Master Promissory Note (MPN) (first-time borrowers or students with an expired MPN)
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
How Can Direct Loans Help Me?
With Direct Loans, you can:
- Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools
- Have online access to your Direct Loan account information via your servicer’s website
- Choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change
How Much Can I Borrow?
What Are the Interest Rates?
Each year, the U.S. Congress establishes the interest rates for Direct Loans. These rates are in effect for Direct Loans disbursed during their respective award year. For the current Direct Loan interest rates, click here.
How Do I Apply for a Direct Loan?
Eligible undergraduate students who wish to request a Federal Direct Loan may do so by filling out the Direct Loan Offer form. After successfully submitting the form, Financial Aid Services will award your full Federal Direct Loan eligibility as an offer. Instructions about how to accept, reduce, or decline your offered Direct Loan are available on the Direct Loan Offer form.
How Do I Adjust My Direct Loan?
Students may request to adjust their loan period and/or amounts by completing the Direct Loan Change form. Note that there are deadlines to adjust your loan.
Direct loans are disbursed to the College in two payments. Your loan disbursement is first applied to any outstanding balance within the award year. Refunds are direct deposited (if the student is enrolled) or mailed to the address noted on CUNYfirst within 10 business (not calendar) days of the loan disbursement date. Disbursements occur weekly after the earliest date for each term listed below:
- Summer 2020: 7/20/2020
- Fall 2020: 8/17/2020
- Spring 2021: 1/19/2021
Loan Adjustment Deadlines
Below are deadlines to adjust your loan period and/or loan amounts:
- Summer 2020: 8/03/2020
- Fall 2020: 11/16/2020
- Spring 2021: 4/23/2021
Parent PLUS Loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay educational expenses.
In addition to the Parent PLUS eligibility criteria found here, the student must be enrolled at least half time (6 credits).
How Do I Apply?
Eligible parents must submit a Parent PLUS Loan application and sign a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). If a parent is found to have an adverse credit history, an endorser is also required to continue the application process.
What Happens After I Apply?
After the student’s Parent PLUS Loan application is approved by the Department of Education, Financial Aid Services will post the award to the student’s CUNYfirst account. Note that depending on volume, it may take 21 business (not calendar) days for the Parent PLUS Loan to post.
Disbursements are applied to the student’s outstanding balance first, and any remaining credit is issued to the parent’s address by paper check. We are unable to directly deposit Parent PLUS Loan refunds.
What Happens If I Can’t Find an Endorser?
If a parent is denied a Parent PLUS Loan due to adverse credit history and is unable to find a viable endorser, the undergraduate student may be eligible for an increase of their Unsubsidized Direct Loan to help pay for their education.
Private or alternative educational loans are loans issued by a bank or finance company to help students pay for their educational expenses. Students should always determine their eligibility for federal and state student aid before pursuing a private loan. Interest rates, costs, and terms will vary by lender.
CUNY does not retain a preferred alternative/private lender list. We encourage students to conduct research independently. Eligibility for alternative/private loans depends on the student’s and/or the student’s cosigner credit score and other financial obligations.