Federal Student Loans

To be eligible for federal direct student loans, students must be enrolled for at least 6 credits per semester and have completed their Entrance Counseling (EC) and a Master Promissory Note (MPN). All new and returning students must complete EC and an MPN online at www.studentaid.gov. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are based on need, while Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are not need-based. Your need level is determined by your FAFSA information. You may receive a combination of both loans, but the annual aggregate loan limits listed below cannot be exceeded.

Below is a chart that provides a breakdown of the amount of Federal Direct Loans students are eligible to receive per year and the amount of the loans that may be subsidized. Read further for a description of the kinds of loans that you may be eligible to receive.

Year Dependent Independent


(<30 Cr)

$5,500 of which no more than
$3,500 may be subsidized
$9,500 of which no more than
$3,500 may be subsidized


(30+ Cr)

$6,500 of which no more than
$4,500 may be subsidized
$10,500 of which no more than
$4,500 may be subsidized

First-time borrowers at Community College of Philadelphia: Please note that your loans will not be disbursed until 30 days after the start of the semester.

Subsidized Federal Direct Loans

A need-based loan on which the interest is paid by the government while you are in school at least half time (6 credits per semester) during the grace period and during periods of deferment.

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

You are responsible for paying the interest on an unsubsidized loan while you are in school, during the grace period, during deferment periods and during repayment. Interest can either be paid while you are attending school, or it can be postponed until graduation or withdrawal from school. If you have postponed paying interest, it will be capitalized once you enter repayment (for example, after your grace period). Both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans have a variable interest rate that adjusts every July 1.

Know Your Loans

Know your loans. Watch these videos.


Capitalizing Interest

In this process the lender adds any unpaid interest on a loan to the principal balance, which increases the outstanding balance on which interest accrues (builds) daily.

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

A federal loan taken out by a parent, in your parent's name to cover the cost of education that is not covered by other aid. It has a variable interest rate that is adjusted every July 1. Parents PLUS loan borrowers cannot have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done). If a parent is denied a PLUS loan based on credit history, there is a cosigner option for the parent. Parents apply for the Parent PLUS Loan by logging into www.studentaid.gov with the parent's FSA ID.

For more information on loans, please refer to the Federal Student Aid website: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans