A Federal Direct Student Loan ("Direct Student Loan") is a government-issued loan, with beneficial terms, offered to eligible students in accredited American institutions of higher education. Direct Student Loans are available both as subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
If you qualify for a subsidized Direct Student Loan, the federal government (U.S. taxpayers) will pay the interest while you remain in school at least half-time, pursuing a degree. Subsidized loan eligibility is based on financial need as determined by the federal need analysis. (Thomas Aquinas College uses a different need analysis to determine your eligibility for institutional aid.) If you are not eligible for a subsidized Direct Student Loan, you may always apply for an unsubsidized Direct Student Loan. With an unsubsidized loan, interest begins to accrue while you are in school. Interest on an unsubsidized loan may be paid quarterly, or accrued until the borrower enters repayment. It is possible to receive both a subsidized and an unsubsidized Direct Student Loan for the same period. The total of your combined Direct Student Loans may not exceed the annual loan limits for your grade level.
|Maximum Annual Direct Student Loan Limits and
Thomas Aquinas College’s Loan Expectations
2014-2015 Academic Year
|Total Subsidized and Unsubsidized
|freshmen||$5,500 total, with up to $3,500 subsidized||$3,250|
|sophomores||$6,500 total, with up to $4,500 subsidized||$4,250|
|juniors||$7,500 total, with up to $5,500 subsidized||$5,250|
|seniors||$7,500 total, with up to $5,500 subsidized||$5,250|
Advantages of the Direct Student Loan
- Repayment is not required until six months after you leave school or drop below half-time status.
- The interest rate is determined each June for new loans borrowed for the upcoming school year. Each loan has a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. For example, Direct Student Loans borrowed in 2013-14 have a fixed interest rate of 3.86 percent for subsidized loans (when they enter repayment) and a fixed interest rate of 3.86 percent for unsubsidized loans (from the date of disbursement).
- Prepayment may be made at any time without penalty.
- Payments may be deferred, extended, or reduced in cases of economic hardship.
Direct Student Loans have an origination fee of 1.072 percent that is retained by the lender to offset the cost of insuring the loan.
Disbursements are usually made in two installments, one each semester. The College will notify you when funds are received and deposited into your college account.
Repaying Your Loan
Students are required to begin repaying their Direct Student Loan six months after they graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time attendance. Borrowers generally have 10 years to repay these loans. Under a level repayment plan, the monthly payment on $18,000 in Direct Student Loans with an interest rate of 3.86 percent would be $182. (See additional information about the Direct Student Loan Program.)
All first-time Direct Student Loan borrowers will need to complete the following three steps to apply for a Direct Student Loan.
Important: To complete the first two steps, you will need your Social Security number, your date of birth, and your Department of Education PIN (the same PIN used to complete your FAFSA). If you don't know whether you have a PIN, you can easily check the status of your PIN or request a duplicate PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.
Step One: Complete Online the Direct Student Loan Entrance Counseling
- If this is the first time that you are applying for a Direct Student Loan at Thomas Aquinas College, you are required to complete Entrance Loan Counseling online. (If you had a Direct Student Loan in a prior year at Thomas Aquinas College you have already completed the Entrance Loan Counseling.
- Go to the Direct Loan website, sign in using your Social Security number, date of birth, and PIN, then click on “Complete Entrance Counseling.” Complete the session.
Step Two: Complete a New Federal Direct Student Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) Online
Additional information you will need to complete your Federal Direct Student Loan MPN includes:
- Your driver's license number (if you have one) and
- The full name, address, and telephone number of two personal references who have known you for at least three years. The first reference should be a parent or legal guardian. The two references must have different U.S. addresses.
Go to the Direct Loan website, sign in using your Social Security number, date of birth, and PIN, then click on “Complete Master Promissory Note,” then click on “Subsidized/Unsubsidized.” Fill in and submit the necessary information. (If you had a Direct Student Loan in the prior year at Thomas Aquinas College you have already completed the MPN. You do not have to complete another.)
Steps One and Two should take approximately 30 minutes each. Allow time to complete each step in a single session. If you decide to exit the website before completing a step, you will be required to begin that step again.
After each step is completed, the Financial Aid Office at Thomas Aquinas College will receive an electronic notification.
Step Three: Accept your Direct Student Loan
- Review the Payment Plan & Promissory Note (PP&PN) you received from Thomas Aquinas College. Sign and complete the back of the PP&PN with your parents and return the PP&PN to the Financial Aid Office to accept the dollar amount of the Direct Student Loan(s) reported there.
- If you wish to increase the amount of your Direct Student Loan(s) to finance a portion of your student payment, your parent payment, or to pay for other education-related expenses, contact the Financial Aid Office. A revised PP&PN will be sent to you with the increased loan amount.
- To protect you, federal regulations require the school to process the total amount of your subsidized Direct Student Loan before processing any unsubsidized Direct Student Loan eligibility
After all three steps are completed, the Financial Aid Office will be able to process your Federal Direct Student Loan(s).
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– Christopher Sebastian (’13)
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– The Most Rev. José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles