Guide to Direct Loans
Federal student loans are long-term financial obligations. Accepting a loan means accepting the responsibility for repaying the money you borrow including interest costs and fees. Before you request a loan, make sure you find out the true costs, interest rates, and how long it will take to repay the loan. To get answers to these questions and more, learn more about federal student loans and be a smart borrower!
You may only use the student loan money to pay for your education expenses at the school that is giving you the loan. Education expenses include school charges such as tuition, room and board, fees, and indirect expenses such as books, supplies, equipment, dependent child care expenses, transportation, and rental or purchase of a personal computer.
You must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours during any semester you wish to receive a loan payment. This includes during Summer semesters.
Your loan will not pay until you are actively attending at least 6-credit hours in the semester.
- For example, if you are enrolled in two 3-credit hour courses, including one 16 week course and one-second eight-week course, your student loan will not pay until you start attending the second eight-week course.
- If you are enrolled in only one semester, such as only Spring or Summer, the loan payments will be split, with half coming when you become eligible for disbursement, and the other half coming around the middle of the semester.
- Exit Counseling will help teach you what you need to know about how to repay your loans.
For the first loan disbursement for the first year, first-time borrowers will be delayed for 30 days. This is a federal requirement.
If you have Federal Unsubsidized student loans, you can make voluntary interest-only payments at any time (even while in school!) in order to keep the interest from capitalizing, which reduces the amount you will have to pay back (no interest on the interest!).
Credit checks and co-signers are not required for Federal Direct student loans. However, you cannot be in default on a previous student loan or owe a repayment of other federal financial aid.
You may only use a student loan to pay for your education-related expenses (allowable expenses are listed in your Cost of Attendance).
View current interest rates for Federal Direct student loans.
Student loans are disbursed in two even disbursements per loan period.
If you drop below half-time enrollment or fail to enroll early for the next semester, you will be required to complete Exit Counseling. Failure to complete this could affect eligibility for additional aid.
If you have defaulted on a loan or are having trouble making payments, contact your loan servicer. You can see who your loan servicer is by looking at your Financial Aid Review.
Types of Loans Offered
For students with demonstrated financial need as determined by federal regulations, no interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time (6 or more units) or are in a deferment period. Effective July 1, 2014, students are responsible for paying the interest during the 6-month grace period. Read the section on Loan Terminology for more information.
Not based on financial need. Interest is charged from the time you receive the loan, even when you are attending school and during deferment periods. Read the section Loan Terminology for details.
Unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students. PLUS loans help parents pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods. Repayment begins as soon as the loan is fully disbursed, however, the parent borrower may request a delay in repayment with the loan servicer.
Annual Federal Direct Student Loan Limits
The chart below shows the maximum annual loan limits which are based on the number of credit hours you've completed and your dependency status. You are Dependent if you had to provide parent information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your FAFSA results and financial aid (including scholarships) are used to determine your loan amount. As a result, not every student qualifies for the maximums shown on the chart. If you enroll for only one semester, you will receive half of your loan eligibility for the academic year.
|Year in College||Dependent Students||Independent Students (and dependent students whose parent has applied for a PLUS loan and been denied)|
|Freshman (30 or fewer earned credit hours)||up to $5,500—no more than $3,500 of this amount may be in Direct Subsidized Loans||up to $9,500—no more than $3,500 of this amount may be in Direct Subsidized Loans|
|Sophomore (31 or more earned credit hours||up to $6,500—no more than $4,500 of this amount may be in Direct Subsidized Loans||up to $10,500—no more than $4,500 of this amount may be in Direct Subsidized Loans|
|Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate (lifetime) Loan Limits||$31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.||$57,500 for Undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.|
Q. Should I have my Transcripts from other colleges evaluated and added to my Tulsa Community College Record?
See an academic counselor to determine if the college credits you earned at other colleges can be used toward your educational goal at Tulsa Community College.
To be considered a 2nd-year undergraduate for loan purposes, you must have completed 31 or more credit hours. If you want to use transfer credits to qualify as a 2nd-year undergraduate, your transcript(s) from other schools must be evaluated and posted to your Tulsa Community College record before your loan is processed. Take your unopened official transcript(s) to the Admissions and Records Office and make sure you indicate you want your transcripts evaluated for Financial Aid purposes.
Caution: Once you have exceeded the maximum credit hour limit (including TCC credits and transfer credits), financial aid will not be automatically processed for you at Tulsa Community College—that includes student loans.
Q. Is the entrance counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) required?
A student receiving a loan at TCC for the first time must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov. It is a federal requirement that you complete both of these before you can receive your first Direct Student loan at TCC.
- Entrance Counseling will teach you about your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower.
- The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any interest and fees they charge you.
- The MPN also explains the terms and conditions of your loan.
Learn important things you should know about Student Loans.
Q. When will I get my loan money?
Your loan money will be credited to your school account to pay tuition and fees, room and board, and other authorized charges. If the loan disbursement amount exceeds your school charges, the school will pay you the remaining balance using the disbursement method you selected (direct deposit, TulsaCC Card, or paper check). Loan disbursement information will appear on your MyTCC account each time we disburse part of your loan money. Check with the Bursar office if you have questions about refunds.
Your loan will cover a full academic year and will be given to you in two disbursements—the first for Fall and the second for Spring. The earliest that loans will be disbursed will be one week after the semester add/drop deadline. If your loan covers only one semester, your second disbursement will be available after the calendar midpoint of the semester.
If you are a first-time, first-year borrower, federal regulations require that you wait for 30 days after the semester begins to receive the first disbursement.
You must be attending 6-credit hours in order to receive a loan. If you drop below 6-credit hours, withdraw from all your courses, or are suspended from financial aid for not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, you will not be eligible for any loan disbursement.
Q. What are the new Federal Subsidized Usage Limits?
If you are considered a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, in addition to the lifetime aggregate loan limits you will also be subject to new federal time limits on how long you can borrow subsidized loans.
For more information on this new Federal policy: Subsidized Usage limits
Q. How can I avoid processing delays?
Don’t wait until the last minute to complete and submit forms. Apply early and check your MyTCC Financial Aid Dashboard and your student email account often to see if you need to respond to any requests or have additional document requirements.
Q. What do I need to do to get a Federal Direct Student Loan?
To receive a Federal Direct Student loan, you must complete ALL the steps listed below:
- Apply for Admissions to TCC and submit any required admissions documents (such as college and/or high school transcripts)
- Declare a financial aid eligible major with Academic Advisement
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). TCC’s school code is 009763
- Turn in all documents requested by the Financial Aid Office. (after we receive your FAFSA, any required documents will be listed in the Financial Aid Dashboard in your MyTCC account.)
- Read the Student Loan Process policies on TCC’s website
- Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN), a legal document for your loan
- Complete the Entrance Counseling
- Read & Accept your Terms & Conditions in Step 3 of your Financial Aid Dashboard in MyTCC
- Accept the amounts you wish to receive in loans in Step 4 of your Financial Aid Dashboard in MyTCC.
- Select a BankMobile Refund Preference (how you want to receive your loan funds). Learn more information about BankMobile Refund Choices.
- Don’t forget to check your student email account and financial aid status on your MyTCC account throughout each semester.
Q. How can I cancel my loan?
You can cancel all or part of your loan if you no longer need the money, will be enrolled in less than 6 credit hours, or will not attend Tulsa Community College. Come to the Financial Aid Office to submit your request in writing.
You must also complete online EXIT Counseling, which is a federal requirement.
Are you having trouble understanding all the loan terms? Confused with what to look for in taking out a loan? Need a dictionary? We’ve included some loan definitions below to help.
- Adding unpaid interest to the loan principal. Example: If you do not pay interest on the unsubsidized loan while attending school, the unpaid interest is added to the original loan principal when you go into repayment. WARNING: Capitalization increases the principal amount of the loan and will substantially increase the total amount you have to repay to the federal government.
- Failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note. Consequences of going into default include but are not limited to: no longer being eligible for financial aid and having your wages seized.
- A legal way to postpone payment(s) on a loan if you meet specific conditions. During deferment, interest does not accrue for subsidized loans.
- A payment of loan money to the student or parent borrower.
- A legal way to release you from the obligation to repay your loan if you meet specific conditions.
- Direct Loan Servicer
- An agent hired by the U.S. Department of Education to collect Direct Loan payments and handle deferments, repayment options, and consolidation.
- Direct Subsidized Student Loan
- A loan for students with financial needs as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time, and/or during deferment periods.
- Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan
- A student loan that is not based on financial need. Interest begins when the loan is disbursed to you. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school, it will be added to the unpaid principal (capitalization) and will substantially increase the total amount you have to repay
- A way to postpone repayment of your loan if you don’t qualify for a deferment and are unable to make payments because of financial hardship. Interest continues to accrue during forbearance.
- Grace Period
- The grace period begins the day after you dropped below half time (less than 6 credit hours). During the grace period, you may be responsible for paying the interest on your student loans. At the end of the six-month grace period, you must begin repaying your student loans—you must make payments to both the principal and interest.
- A fee charged for borrowing money. Interest is calculated on the amount borrowed (principal plus any capitalized interest).
- Loan fee
- A fee charged by the feds to process the loan. Federal fees are deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.
- Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- A legally binding contract between a lender (federal government) and a borrower. The promissory note contains the terms and conditions of the loan, including how and when the loan must be repaid.
- Principal Balance
- The amount owed on a loan, including any capitalized interest.
- Repayment Period
- The period during which you are required to make payments on your loan(s).
- Repayment Schedule
- Information provided to you by the Direct Loan Servicer shows the amount borrowed, the number of monthly payments, and the date payments are due.
To find out about interest rates, how to apply for a loan, repayment plans, deferments, forbearance, consequences of default, and much more, visit Federal Student Aid Loans.
To see how much your payments might be using the standard 10-year payment plan, go to the Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator.
To see a repayment estimator from one of the Federal Loan Servicers that allows you to view possible repayment amounts under different types of repayment plans, go to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Repayment Estimator.
To learn how much your monthly payments will be or to manage your loan repayment, contact your loan servicer. You can see who your loan servicer is by looking at your Financial Aid Review.