William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Student Loans are either "subsidized" or "unsubsidized". The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while a student is enrolled for six or more credits. Eligibility for a subsidized loan is based on "financial need". Unsubsidized loans are available regardless of financial need. Interest is charged to the student or the parent, (see PLUS Loans) even while the student is in school. Students may borrow up to the applicable maximum for each "academic year". An academic year at City College is Summer, Fall and Spring.

Fast Fact: The average amount of indebtedness, for City College graduates who choose to take out loans, is $21,258.


Approximate Processing Time

Allow 4-6 weeks for processing. Your loan application will be reviewed, processed, and electronically transmitted to the federal processor for approval. Reminder, check your CCNY email address for any notifications.

Loan Application Deadlines

Semester Date Semester Date
Summer Only Aug. 1, 2022 Fall Only Dec. 5, 202
Summer/Fall Dec. 5, 2022 Fall/Spring May 1, 2023
Summer/Fall/Spring May 1, 2023 Spring Only May 1, 2023
Undergraduate Amounts

The academic year maximums for Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized student loans are:

Dependent (Any combination of Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)

Grade Level Subsidized Unsubsidized
Freshman $3,500  $2,000 
Sophomore $4,500  $2,000 
Junior/Senior $5,500  $2,000 

Independent (Any combination of Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)

Grade Level Subsidized Unsubsidized
Freshman $3,500  $6,000 
Sophomore $4,500  $6,000 
Junior/Senior $5,500  $7,000 

Grade Level: Freshman = 0-29.9 credits earned Sophomore = 30-59.9 credits earned Junior/Senior = 60+ credits earned.


To Apply for a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan:

Follow the instructions below:

  • You must have completed the FAFSA application.
  • As a first time borrower at City College of New York, you must complete the Entrance Counseling session and sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online.


  1. Login to CUNYfirst
  2. Select "Student Center"
  3. Select "Financial aid"
  4. On the left hand side,  Click  "Direct Loan Processing Form"
  5. Based on your academic level and dependency status, indicate the amount you wish to apply for.
  6. Indicate the number of credits you are taking for the semester you wish to apply for. (Do not apply for the semester under 6 credits)
  • Allow 4-6 weeks for processing.
  • Information on Federal Direct Loans is available on the CCNY Financial Aid webpage and at

CCNY Towers residents should submit a photocopy of their "Housing Lease Agreement: After they have submitted a loan application).

Graduate Loan Amount - (Independent)

1.  Unsubsidized: $20,500 - Graduate students do not have to request an unsubsidized loan.  When their FAFSA is received and required documents (if any), are received they will automatically be packaged on CUNYfirst with an unsubsidized loan.  Graduate students will need to "Accept' or "Decline" their loan on CUNYfirst under Finances.


  1. Login to CUNYfirst
  2. Select "Student Center"
  3. Select "Financial Aid"
  4. Select "Award"
  5. Select "Accept/Decline Awards"

2.  Grad PLUS: This is a credit based, unsubsidized loan for Graduate and Doctoral students.  The current interest rate is 7.54%.  The application must be printed from the "Forms & Resources" page. Students should submit the completed application to the Financial Aid Office.

Maximum = The CUNY estimated "Cost of Attendance" less all other financial aid.


Parent PLUS Loan

This is a credit based, unsubsidized loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students.  The current interest rate is 7.54% for 2022-2023. The application must be printed from the "Forms & Resources" page. The completed application should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.

Interest Rates

Loans disbursed on or after 7/1/22 and before 7/1/23:

Undergrad. Subsidized - 4.99%
Undergrad. Unsubsidized - 4.99%
Grad. Unsubsidized - 6.54%
Plus Loan - 7.54%

Loans disbursed on or after 7/1/21 and before 6/30/22:

Undergrad. Subsidized - 3.73%
Undergrad. Unsubsidzed - 3.73%
Grad. Unsubsidized - 5.28%
Plus Loan - 6.28%

Loan Fees

Loans first disbursed on or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/23:

Undergrad. Subsidized - 1.057%
Undergrad. Unsubsidized - 1.057%
Grad. Unsubsidized - 1.057%
Plus Loan - 4.228%


Entrance Counseling

Student loan entrance counseling is a mandatory process that is intended to help borrowers better understand the responsibilities that they will be taking on with this federal loan.

The entrance counseling will walk borrowers through the importance of repayment, and the consequences of failing to do so.

It will also discuss important points like how interest accrues and is capitalized. Finally, it will discuss repayment options for students and resources they have access to as borrowers.

How long will it take?

The entire counseling process must be completed in a single session. Most people complete counseling in 20-30 minutes.

What do I need?

  • Verified FSA ID
  • School Name
  • Details on your income, financial aid, and living expenses

Complete your Entrance Counseling Session today

Exit Counseling

Exit counseling provides important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s).

If you have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the Federal Family Education Loan Program, you must complete exit counseling each time you:

  • Graduate
  • Leave school
  • Drop below half-time enrollment

Exit Loan Counseling is completed online at: Federal Student Aid The entire counseling process must be completed in a single session. Exit counseling may take up to 20 minutes or more to complete.

To complete Exit Counseling you will need:

  • A verified FSA ID
  • Details on your income, financial aid, and living expenses
  • Names, addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of two references, preferably at least one next of kin (close relative).

For a complete and detailed history of a student's loan debt, as well as federal grants received, a student can use their FSA ID to log in to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Disbursement / Repayment

Disbursement - When the eMPN has been accepted by the federal processor, a loan payment will be made to the college on the next scheduled [weekly] disbursement date. When the college receives the disbursement, the Bursar automatically deducts unpaid tuition and fees and then refunds any leftover loan amount to the student. Loan refunds are disbursed once a week, on Fridays, either via a check sent in the mail or direct deposit into a bank account (according to the student preference indicated in CUNYfirst).

All loan payments (disbursements) are issued by the CUNY Controller's office. Deductions will be made automatically for unpaid tuition and fees. Loan checks will be mailed to the student's address of record unless direct deposit (strongly recommended) or CUNY Scholar card arrangements have been made. Direct deposit can be setup at the bursars department.

Repayment - Repayment on the student's loans begins six months after either the student’s graduation, termination of attendance, or registration for fewer than six credits while in attendance.

Things you need to know about loans

* For 2022 - 2023 federal financial aid a student is considered independent if he or she can answer "Yes" to any one of thirteen questions: (Students may be required to provide supportive documentation.) The first eight questions are:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1999?
  2. As of today are you married? (answer "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced.)
  3. At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate etc.?)
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have or will you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023?

Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you, now through June 30, 2022?

  1. At any time since you turned age 13, were both parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?

For the other five dependency questions go to: Am I independent?

If you answer "No" to all questions you a dependent student for federal financial aid purposes.

Dependent students with unusual family circumstances may request to be declared independent. An "Independence Appeal" form is available via the "Printable Office Forms" link.  (Note: The federal government does not consider a student who is "self-supporting" to be an "unusual" circumstance.)


  • All first-time borrowers (no previous Direct loan at any other college) must fulfill the "Direct Loan Entrance Counseling" requirement: Online loan counseling
  • First-time borrowers who have not completed one year of college will receive their first loan disbursement after the 30th day of the semester.
  • Not all students will qualify for the academic year maximum. Total loan amounts cannot exceed the predetermined CUNY "cost of attendance". (For "cost of attendance" examples go to #3 in "Frequently Asked Questions")
  • All other financial aid awards, scholarships and reimbursements will be subtracted from the CUNY "Cost of Attendance", in order to determine a student's Direct Loan eligibility.

Last Updated: 10/20/2022 11:02