Federal Direct Stafford Student Loans
Valencia students are eligible to participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program. There are three programs: the Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan, and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Dependent Students (PLUS). Applicants must first apply for grants by completing their FAFSA. Federal Direct Education Loans are established and supported by the federal government and the Department of Education serves as the lender. ALL FEDERAL STAFFORD EDUCATION LOANS MUST BE REPAID. To receive any loan, you must first apply for all types of federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA. You must also enroll in at least 6 credit hours required for your program each term. Please note: Valencia reserves the right to refuse to certify additional student loans if there is any indication you may be unwilling to repay your loan, if you have high existing loan balances or if you have ever defaulted on a prior student loan that you did not repay in full. If any of these conditions may apply to you, you should meet with a Valencia Financial Aid Services Specialist for an in–person advising session about your loan status.
Is there a time limit on how long I can receive loans?
If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is based on the published length of your current program. You can usually find the published length of any degree or certificate program in your school’s catalog.
For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years). If you are enrolled in a two-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is three years (150 percent of 2 years = 3 years).
Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current degree or certificate program, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.
Certain types of enrollment may cause you to become responsible for the interest that accrues on your Direct Subsidized Loans when the U.S. Department of Education usually would have paid the interest. These enrollment patterns are described below.
I become responsible for paying the interest that accrues on my Direct Subsidized Loans, when:
- I am no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans and I stay enrolled in my current program
- I am no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans, did not graduate from my prior program, and am enrolled in an undergraduate program that is the same length or shorter than my prior program
- I transferred into the shorter program and lost eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans because I have received Direct Subsidized Loans for a period that equals or exceeds my new, lower maximum eligibility period, which is based on the length of the new program
Subsidized Federal Direct Education Loan
This loan requires unmet financial need. The federal government will pay the interest while you are enrolled in school, and you must repay the loan plus interest beginning 6 months after you leave school or drop to less than half–time status. You must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per term. Students with less than 30 credits toward their current program at the time of application may borrow up to $3,500 per year or the amount of unmet financial need, whichever is less. Students with 30 credits or more toward their current program at the time of application may borrow up to $4,500 per year or the amount of unmet financial need, whichever is less.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Education Loan
This loan does NOT require financial need, however you must first establish eligibility for need–based financial aid by completing your FAFSA. Interest will accrue on this loan while you are in school. You must repay the loan, accrued interest and current interest beginning 6 months after you leave school or drop to less than half–time status. You must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits per term. Dependent students with less than 30 credits toward their current program at the time of application may borrow up to $5,500 per year in combined subsidized and unsubsidized loans, not to exceed the cost of education less other financial aid. Students with 30 or more credits toward their current program at the time of application may borrow up to $6,500 per year in combined subsidized and unsubsidized loans, not to exceed the cost of education less other financial aid. Independent students and students whose parents are denied a Parent PLUS Loan, may borrow an additional $4,000, not to exceed the cost of education less other financial aid.
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Dependent Students (PLUS)
Parents of dependent students may borrow on behalf of their children. Income is not a factor; however, if a borrower has adverse credit history, but qualifies for a PLUS Loan through the process for reconsideration due to extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an endorser for the loan, the completion of PLUS loan counseling is required before disbursement of funds can take place. Students must first apply for all types of financial aid by completing their FAFSA. Loan amounts must not exceed the cost of education less other financial aid. Parent loans must be repaid over a 10–year period with interest beginning 60 days after disbursement. The student will be allowed to charge tuition and books against any authorized PLUS Loan funds.
There are a number of private loans which are available to credit-worthy students and/or their co-borrowers. Students should first determine their eligibility under the FFEL programs before seeking additional funding under this option. To apply for a private loan you must contact the lender of your choice. Information on the eligibility criteria and loan terms are available on each lender's website.
How do I apply for a Federal Student or Parent Loan?
You must first establish your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant by completing all application steps listed earlier in this publication. A separate Loan Request and Promissory note is required. Instructions on applying for Federal Stafford Loan are available here.