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William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loans

Financial Aid

William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loans

Online Entrance Counseling Procedures Exit Counseling
Direct Loan Account Information Direct Loan Consolidation


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 (6) 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 Sprin

The average amount of indebtedness, for City College graduates who choose to take out loans, is $14,387.

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

Undergraduate* – Dependent (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)

  • 1st yr. - $3,500+ $2,000 Unsub.

  • 2nd yr.- $4,500 + $2,000 Unsub.

  • 3rd or more - $5,500 + $2,000 Unsub.

  • *1st yr (Freshman) = 0 - 29.9 credits earned
  •  2nd yr (Sophomore) = 30 - 59.9 credits earned
  •  3rd yr or more (Junior/Senior) = 60+ credits earned

Undergraduate – Independent (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)

  • 1st yr. - $3,500 + $6,000 Unsub.

  • 2nd yr. - $4,500 + $6,000 Unsub.

  • 3rd or more- $5,500 + $7,000 Unsub.

Graduate (Independent)

Unsubsidized: $20,500

Note: Starting with the 2012-13 academic year subsidized loans for graduate students will no longer be available.

Grad PLUS: Maximum = The CUNY "cost of attendance"less all other financial aid.

Parent PLUS

These loans are for the parents of dependent undergraduate students. Maximum = The CUNY "cost of attendance" less all other financial aid.


  1. 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")
  2. All other financial aid awards, scholarships and reimbursements will be subtracted from the cost of attendance in order to determine a student's Direct Loan eligibility.

How to apply for a Direct Loan

  1. File for Federal financial aid via the FAFSA application.
  2. File a New York State financial aid form via the TAP/APTS application. (For New York state residents.)
  3. Complete a City College Federal Direct Student Loan form.

For more information see 2015-16 Filing Procedures.

All first time borrowers must also fulfill the "Direct Loan Entrance Counseling" requirement: online loan counseling


Loan checks 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 arrangements have been made.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans: A PLUS loan is unsubsidized; it accrues interest from the date of disbursement. (The current interest rate is 7.9%.) These loans are available to parents of dependent students and graduate students. PLUS loan borrowers must pass a credit check to qualify for each loan. The maximum PLUS loan amount is calculated by subtracting all financial aid, (including other loans) from the institution's predetermined "cost of attendance". See #3 under "Frequently Asked Questions".

  1. Parents of a dependent** undergraduate student may apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan. It is suggested that dependent students apply for a federal Direct student loan first. If additional loan funds are needed a parent may then apply for the PLUS loan. For more information go to: Federal Direct PLUS Loans.
  2. Graduate students should apply for a Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loan before filing a "Grad PLUS" loan. For more information go to: Federal Grad PLUS Loans.

** For 2015 -2016 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, 1992?

  2. As of today are you married? (answer "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced.)

  3. At the beginning of the 2015-16 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. Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016?

  5. 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, 2016?

  6. 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?

  7. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

  8. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?

For the other five dependency questions go to "Step 1" of "Before Beginning a FAFSA". If you answer "No" to all thirteen 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" request form is available in the Financial Aid office. (Note: The federal government does not consider a student who is "self-supporting" to be an "unusual" circumstance.)

Updated 1/19/16