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Federal Direct Student Loans

Direct Student Loans are low interest loans available to students to help pay for their school expenses. Unlike other loans, a Direct Loan is funded by the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or credit union. The Department of Education disburses the money directly to the school and the funds are applied to the student's college costs. Just like other loans, Direct Loans must be repaid by the borrower.

Direct Loan eligibility requirements.

  • Student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours)
  • Student must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Student must be matriculated (enrolled and working towards a degree or certificate program)
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Students must be making satisfactory academic progress
  • Male students over the age of 18 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Student's existing Direct Loans should be in good standing, not in default.
  • Students cannot exceed their aggregate loan limit

There are two types of Direct Loans for students:

Subsidized student loan

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to students that are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours), have financial need, and have not received financial aid exceeding their cost of attendance. The loan does not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time, during the 6 month grace period after graduation, and during deferment periods.

Unsubsidized student loan

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to students that are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) and have not received financial aid exceeding their cost of attendance. Unlike the subsidized loan, the unsubsidized loan does accrue interest while the student is in school, during their grace period, and during deferment.

Loan Amounts:

For a Dependent Student

Freshmen (0-29.5 credits earned) Maximum subsidized $3500 Maximum unsubsidized $2000
Sophomore (30-59.5 credits earned) Maximum subsidized $4500 Maximum unsubsidized $2000
(Herkimer College only has Freshmen and Sophomores)
Junior and Seniors (60+ credits earned) Maximum subsidized $5500 Maximum unsubsidized $2000

For an Independent Student

Freshmen (0-29.5 credits earned) Maximum subsidized $3500 Maximum unsubsidized $6000
Sophomore (30-59.5 credits earned) Maximum subsidized $4500 Maximum unsubsidized $6000
(Herkimer College only has Freshmen and Sophomores)
Junior and Seniors(60+ credits earned) Maximum subsidized $5500 Maximum unsubsidized $6000

How to apply:

Complete the FAFSA form

Duration: Awarded Annually

Repayment: All Federal Direct Student Loans are assigned to a servicer that will assist the student in the loan repayment process. Students can access the NSLDS website to determine which servicer handles their loan.


Loan History

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for all federal student aid. Students can access and view all federal loans and grants previously awarded to them. Information regarding a student’s loan amount, loan type and loan servicer will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). The NSLDS allows other guaranty agencies, lenders and other authorized users to access their database


Loan Contact Information

General Information about loans and applying for them


Information on Consolidating your loans


Loan Servicers:

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