Student Loans

Federal Direct Loans

The Direct Loan program is provided and administered by the Federal government, U.S. Department of Education. Student loan borrowing cannot exceed the cost of attendance, nor may you borrow over the annual and lifetime aggregates that are set for the Direct Loan. The Department of Education assesses an origination fee on each loan upon disbursement. The type of loan you are offered is based upon the results of the FAFSA.

Entrance Counseling & MPN Instructions

Types of Loans

Subsidized Direct Loans

The Subsidized Direct Loan is awarded on the basis of need. You will not be charged any interest prior to repayment or during any authorized periods of deferment. The federal government pays the interest on the loan until the time of repayment.

Eligibility

  • You must have "need" as determined by the FAFSA.
  • Undergraduate Students - 6 hours
  • You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Direct Loan Limits

Annual and lifetime (total debt) limits for subsidized and unsubsidized student loans are mandated by the U.S. Department of Education. The amounts include the outstanding principal balance on the loans (excluding interest and other charges).

Unsubsidized Direct Loans

The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You are responsible for any accruing interest during in-school and deferment periods. Interest accruing during those periods may be paid or capitalized as agreed by the borrower and lender.

Eligibility

  • Undergraduate Students - 6 hours
  • You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • You may not exceed annual or lifetime aggregate loan limits.

Federal William D. Ford Direct PLUS Loans

The Direct Parent PLUS loan is a federal loan that parents of dependent undergraduate students can apply for to help pay educational expenses. The loan is based on the parents' credit score, and the borrower should not have adverse credit history in order to be approved. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender. The maximum loan amount is calculated as the student’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

To Apply for the Parent PLUS loan:

The student must:

  • Have completed a FAFSA & submitted to Westmoreland County Community College
  • Must be enrolled in at least 6 hours of courses (half-time status) 
  • The student must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • (New incoming freshman students automatically meet SAP requirements.)

Processing Parent PLUS Loans

  • Only one parent needs to apply online at www.studentloans.gov.  If the loan is approved, the parent must complete the Master Promissory Note at www.studentloans.gov. After the application is finalized, the calculated award will be added to the student’s award package. All funds are received electronically and are posted to the student’s billing account.
  • If the loan is not approved, and the student completes the Loan Change Form, the
  • Financial Aid Office will award the additional $4000 unsubsidized loan award (or amount requested by student).

Can A Parent still receive a Direct PLUS loan if the parent has adverse credit?

If a parent/borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student will be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan ($4000/year) to help pay for his or her education. 

FAQ - Federal Direct Student Loans

What are Direct Loans?

The William D. Ford Direct Loan program (known as Direct Loans) was authorized and created by the Higher Education Act of 1965. The program provides subsidized, unsubsidized, and PLUS, and consolidation loans to borrowers for educational purposes. The lender for all of these loans is the U.S. Department of Education.

How do I apply for the loan?

To apply for a Direct Loan, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Westmoreland County Community College uses this information from your FAFSA to determine how much student aid you are eligible to receive.

How much can I borrow?

Westmoreland College determines the loan type(s), if any, and the actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year. However, there are limits on the amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan amount.  These amounts are based on your class level and dependency status.

Year in School

Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans.

First-Year

Undergraduate Limit

$5,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$9,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Second-Year Undergraduate

$6,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$10,500 – no more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

 

How will I know if I need to do something?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. If you have completed the FAFSA, forthcoming email notifications and ‘MyWestmoreland’ portal will provide you with all of the information needed to process your loans. 

What are the interest rates for the Federal Direct Loans?

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans have a lower interest rate (3.76%) for Federal Direct Student Loans with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Will private (alternative) student loans be through the Direct Loan program?

No. Private student loans (also known as alternative student loans) remain unchanged.

When do I have to pay back my loan?

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period before you are required to begin repayment. During this period, you'll receive repayment information from your loan servicer, and you'll be notified of your first payment due date. Payments are usually due monthly. 

What if I have trouble repaying my loan?

If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your loan servicer can help you understand your options for keeping your loan in good standing. For example, you may wish to change your repayment plan to lower your monthly payment or request a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily stop or lower the payments on your loan.

Can I cancel a loan if I decide that I don't need it or if I need less than the amount offered?

Yes. Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at any time by notifying your school. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within certain time frames. Your promissory note and additional information you receive from your school will explain the procedures and time frames for canceling your loan.

Can my loan ever be forgiven or discharged?

Under certain conditions, you may be eligible to have all or part of your loan discharged or forgiven (canceled). 

Where can I find information about the student loans I’ve received?

Visit studentaid.ed.gov to view information about all of the federal student loans and other financial aid you have received and to find contact information for the loan servicer for your loans.

 Direct Loan Exit Counseling

Upon withdrawing, graduating, dropping below half-time, or simply not returning, you will be sent information on how to complete exit counseling.  For additional information, please access studentloans.gov