Student Loans

Loan Programs

Student Loans

Loans are an effective and reliable method of funding higher education; however, there are a few things that should be considered before you borrow:

  • When you borrow you are accepting the responsibility of repaying the loan plus interest.
  • It is your responsibility to know all of the terms and conditions of your loan.
  • You should stay with one lender throughout your college career if possible.
  • You must keep the lender informed of any of the following changes: withdrawal from school, transfer to another school, drop below six (6) credit hours per term, student’s name, address or social security number change or parent’s address or name change.
  • You are expected to know what options and responsibilities you have regarding repayment. This includes when you start repayment, what kind of loan(s) you have, what options exist concerning consolidation, deferment, and forbearance.
  • Failure to repay a loan will cause you serious consequences, which may include ineligibility for other financial aid, withholding of tax refunds by the Internal Revenue Service, difficulty in obtaining credit, and the garnishing of wages.

Important information about your student loans while attending ACC:

  • Student loans are awarded based on each individual school year  
    • For most students, this means one loan amount will be offered split between the Fall and Spring semesters; some exceptions may apply.
  • Loans requested for one-term only will pay in two equal amounts
    • Half at the beginning of the term and the other half midway through the semester
  • First-time borrowers loans will disburse after a 30 day waiting period

You should carefully review your situation before you borrow. Consideration should be given to other sources of funding prior to accepting a loan. You need to calculate exactly how much loan is necessary to meet your educational needs and review your repayment obligations thoroughly before assuming added debt.

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program – ACC participates in the following programs. Interest rates on these loans are set annually. For more information on interest rates, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Direct Loan – There are two types of Federal Direct Loans. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are based on a student’s financial need unmet by other financial aid. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are used to replace the family contribution.  With a Federal Direct Subsidized loan, the federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is attending college at least half-time (6 credit hours) or in a grace period up to six months after the student leaves college. If a student receives a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the student has the option to either pay the accruing interest quarterly, or to have it capitalized at the point repayment begins. Freshman students may borrow up to $3,500 per year. Sophomore loan limits are $4,500 per year. (A sophomore is defined as a student who has thirty (30) credit hours, either earned or transferred to ACC).

Federal Direct PLUS Loan – This loan is for the parents of dependent students. The parent(s) may borrow up to the cost of education less any estimated financial aid the student will receive. The Federal Direct Plus Loan is credit based and requires a credit approval.

Entrance Counseling
Entrance Counseling is required before you can receive your first Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan as an undergraduate student. Entrance Counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of receiving a Direct Loan.

To complete Entrance Counseling, sign in to studentloans.gov and select the “Complete Counseling” option found in the left navigation bar then select “Entrance Counseling” under “Choose Counseling Type.”

Exit Counseling
Exit Counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit counseling provides important information you need to prepare to repay your federal student loans.

To complete Exit Counseling sign in to studentloans.gov and select the “Complete Counseling” option found in the left navigation bar then select “Exit Counseling” under “Choose Counseling Type.”

Master Promissory Note
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s); for instance, it will include information on how interest is calculated and what deferment and cancellation provisions are available to you.  There are two types of MPNs in the Direct Loan Program: one for Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans and one for Direct PLUS Loans.  A single MPS is valid for up to 10 years.

To complete an MPN online, you will need your Federal Student Aid PIN.  If you are a parent completing a Direct PLUS Loan MPN online, you must use your own PIN and not your child's PIN.

The entire MPN process must be completed in a single session, so be sure you have enough time before you start. Each MPN takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The MPN process consists of four steps:

  1. Enter your personal and school information.
  2. Enter information about your references (people who have known you for at least three years).
  3. Read the terms and conditions.
  4. Review, electronically sign, and submit the MPN.

Borrowing Limits
Borrower limits for Federal Loans are based on grade level and dependency status. The table below illustrates the maximum loan limits per award year. Only half of the annual limit can be requested in any one semester.

Interest Rates and Fees
Currently there is a 3.86% fixed interest rate charged to all new Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans first disbursed between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. For Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 and before July 1, 2015 the interest rate will be 4.66%.

In addition there are loan fees in the amount of 1.072% for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and 4.288% for PLUS Loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrowed. You're responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received. For loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 and before October 1, 2015 the loan fee is 1.073% for Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans and 4.292% for PLUS loans.

For more detailed information about student loan interest rates and fees go to:
http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates#are-there-any-other-fees-for-federal-student-aid

Requesting Loans
The student loans offered to you by ACC are not automatically accepted. You must accept/request the loan offer as well as complete Entrance Counseling and an MPN in order to receive a loan.

There are two ways to request or adjust a student loan. The first is to use the MyACC Portal to view and accept financial aid awards. Here you can accept the entire amount offered or a reduced amount.

The second way to request a loan is to submit a Direct Loan Request/Adjustment form to the financial office. The form can be found here: Stafford Loan Request.

Student Loan Payments - Student loan funds borrowed through The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are sent electronically to ACC and paid to student accounts. No loan(s) will be released prior to scheduled disbursement dates for any reason.  First time borrower loan disbursements are made 30 days from the beginning of the term.  Any balance remaining after the loan has disbursed will be disbursed to the student via the method chosen by the student  (i.e. Higher One Card, automatic deposit into your banking institution, or a mailed paper check) within 14 days.

Repaying Student Loans

Remember, you must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult. Your student loans cannot be canceled because you didn’t get the education or job you expected, or because you didn’t complete your education.

For more detailed information about repaying your student loans please visit:
http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans

Making Payments
You will make payments to your loan servicer. Each servicer has its own payment process, so check with your servicer if you aren’t sure how or when to make a payment. If you don’t know the loan servicer for your loan, you can find that information at www.NSLDS.ed.gov.

Choosing a Repayment Plan
You have a choice of several repayment plans. Consider changing to a different repayment plan that better meets your needs. The amount you pay and the length of time you’ll have to repay your loans will vary depending on the repayment plan you choose, but note that choosing a repayment plan with a lower monthly payment means that you'll pay more in interest over time. Some of the details on the different repayment plans are provided in the table below.

For details on the various repayment plan options check here:
http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/repayment-plans-graphic.png

Sample Repayment Schedule


If you are having trouble making loan payments
If you can’t make your loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Don’t ignore bills. You have options.

Under certain circumstances, you can receive a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily postpone or reduce your federal student loan payments. Work with your loan servicer to apply for a deferment or forbearance and be sure to keep making payments on your loan until the deferment or forbearance is in place.