Federal Direct Loans
Federal Direct Stafford Loans also called Direct Loans or Federal Direct Loans. The lender of these loans is the US Dept. of Education; repayment is to the Department. Between 10-30 years to repay, depending on amount owed and type of repayment.
Summer 2023 Application Deadline: August 16, 2023.
If you are an undergraduate student and have financial need you are eligible for a subsidized Direct Loan. With subsidized loans no interest will be charged as long as you maintain at least half-time enrollment (6 credits). Financial need is the difference between Cost of Attendance and your Expected Family Contribution.
Interest Rate and Repayment for Subsidized Loans
Subsidized loans taken between 7/1/2022-6/30/2023 are charged a fixed interest rate of 4.99%. The interest will not change throughout the life of the loan. There is no interest charged on your subsidized loan as long as you maintain half-time enrollment at the college. The interest rate varies each year on new loans and may adjust each July 1st.
150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit (SULA)
Direct Loan requirements limit borrower eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period of 150 percent of the length of the borrower’s educational program. For example, 6 years of Subsidized Loan eligibility for a Bachelor’s degree and 3 years for an Associate’s degree. Under certain conditions, first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150 percent limit may lose the interest subsidy on their Direct Subsidized Loans.
Update on SULA
The Secretary removed the subsidized usage loan limit restriction (SULA) for any borrower who receives a Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, regardless of the award year associated with the loan.
Qualifying Credits and Programs
You must take at least 6 credits per semester. You must be accepted for admission to a degree-seeking program (this includes eligible certificate programs).
The unsubsidized loans for Undergraduate Students are charged an interest rate of 4.99% and is available to students who do not qualify for the subsidized loan. The difference of the unsubsidized loan is that interest accrues while the student attends school. You are eligible to receive an unsubsidized Direct Loan to replace all or a portion of the family contribution if there is loan eligibility remaining.
The unsubsidized loans for Graduate Students are charged an interest rate of 6.54% and is available to students who do not qualify for the subsidized loan. The difference of the unsubsidized loan is that interest accrues while the student attends school. You are eligible to receive an unsubsidized Direct Loan to replace all or a portion of the family contribution if there is loan eligibility remaining.
Interest Rate and Repayment for Unsubsidized Loans
Unsubsidized loans taken between 7/1/2022 -6/30/2023 are charged a fixed interest of 4.99% and 6.54 for Graduate student. The interest will not change throughout the life of the loan. If you borrow an unsubsidized Direct Loan, you have the option of paying the interest as it accrues or you can let it be added to the principal of the loan. The interest rate varies each year on new loans and is adjusted each July 1st.
To apply for a Direct Loan, you must first complete the FAFSA and list Hunter College (Federal Code #002689). You will then need to submit a Direct Loan Application via your CUNYfirst account.
If approved, you will also need to sign a promissory note, a binding legal document that states you agree to repay your loan according to the terms of the note. If you request a Direct Loan and later decide you do not need the funds, you may decline the loan by contacting the financial aid office.
How To Apply
- Log onto your CUNYfirst account and click on "Student Center"
- On the Student Center page, navigate to the Direct Loan Processing form and click the link
- Fill out the Direct Loan Processing form
If you are unable to complete the form online, you can complete a paper Direct Loan Application and send the completed, signed form to the Loans Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org. This form can be found on our Policies and Forms page.
Once you complete the FAFSA for the year of your enrollment and your application is received by CUNY, Hunter College will auto package you and you will be awarded an unsubsidized loan automatically on CUNYfirst. You may accept, reduce, or decline the loan request.
How to accept, reduce, or decline the loan request, follow these steps:
- Login to CUNYfirst at https://home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu
- Select HR/Campus Solutions from the left menu
- Navigate to Self Service followed by Student Center
- In the Finances section, click the Accept/Decline Awards
- On the Select Aid Year to View page, you may see listings for multiple aid years and multiple colleges. Click the link for the college and aid year you wish to view. Note: This is a Fall/Spring loan and the total dollar amount of the loan will be disbursed in two equal disbursements, half in the fall and half in the spring. You will be offered the maximum eligible amount for the academic year.
- Check the appropriate box to either accept or decline your loan. Note: If you want a lesser amount than what has been offered you will have to complete and submit the status change form (found on our Policies and Forms page) or accept a reduced amount on CUNYfirst.
- If you are borrowing for the first time you must also complete the Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN), once you have accepted the loan.
You must meet all the following eligibility requirements to receive loan funds:
- Valid FAFSA
- CUNYfirst "To do list" items must be completed
- Complete Entrance Counseling and completed Master Promissory Note (if required)
- Be a matriculated student
- Enrolled for at least six credits in your career/program plan
Direct Loans for Dependent Students
The amount you are eligible to borrow each academic year
Maximum Subsidized Loan
Additional Unsubsidized Loan
Total Loan (combined subsidized and unsubsidized)
|3rd Year and Beyond (BA Programs only)||$5,500||$2,000||$7,500|
Direct Loans for Independent Students
The amount you are eligible to borrow each academic year
Maximum subsidized Loan
Additional unsubsidized Loan
Total Loan (combined subsidized and unsubsidized)
|3rd Year and Beyond (BA Programs Only)||$5,500||$7,000||$12,500|
|Graduate and Professional Students||N/A||_||$20,500|
Direct Loans Maximum Lifetime Loan Amounts
Student Level & Dependency Status
Maximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized
- Dependent student: The career maximum of subsidized and unsubsidized combined undergraduate loans is $31,000 ($23,000 maximum in subsidized loans).
- Independent student: The career maximum undergraduate amount is $57,500 ($23,000 maximum in subsidized loans).
- Graduate and professional student: The career amount maximum is $138,500.
Maximum for Subsidized Direct Loans
Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – Estimated Financial Assistance = Maximum Subsidized Loan Amount
Example of Subsidized Loan Eligibility
Let’s say you are a dependent student and in your 3rd year of college. Your total cost of attending college is $10,000, which includes: tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, lunch, and personal expenses. Your expected family contribution determined from your FAFSA is $3000 and your total financial aid from grants and scholarships totals $2,000. You have expenses not met of $5000 ($10,000-$3,000-$2,000=$5,000).
You could get a subsidized loan for the portion of expenses that were not met which is $5000. If you still need additional money to cover costs, you could receive a maximum of $500 in an unsubsidized loan. You could not exceed $2,500 in an unsubsidized loan since the maximum a 3rd year student could borrow in federal direct loans is $7,500.
$10,000 Cost of Attendance (COA) – $3,000 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – $2,000 Financial Aid = $5,000 Portion not met
Maximum for Unsubsidized Direct and PLUS loans
Cost of Attendance (COA) – Estimated Financial Assistance (EFC) = Maximum Loan Amount
Maximum Direct Loan (Total)
$5,000 Maximum Subsidized Loan + $2,500 Maximum Unsubsidized Loan (replaces part of your EFC) = $7,500 Maximum Direct Loan
A dependent student’s maximum eligibility, whether it subsidized or a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans, cannot exceed the amounts shown above. Independent students, however, are eligible to borrow additional funds from the Unsubsidized Direct Loan program.
In cases where the parents of the dependent student are denied eligibility for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) due to a negative credit history, the dependent student may borrow additional funds from the unsubsidized loan program. Student borrowers do not need a co-signer and there is no credit check done by the federal government.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers taking their first loan on or after July 1, 2013 may qualify for a subsidized Direct Loan for a maximum of 150% of the length of their academic program. Students will be limited to receiving subsidized loans for 3 years in a 2 year program or 6 years in a 4 year program. Students reaching this limitation could receive unsubsidized loans if eligible. Additionally, borrowers who reach the 150% limitation will have their interest subsidy end for all outstanding subsidized loans.
- The federal government charges all borrowers an origination fee at the time the loan is disbursed. This is in addition to interest charges.
- While pursuing an undergraduate degree, you can borrow a maximum of $31,000 as a dependent student and a maximum of $57,500 as an independent student.
- Before loan funds may be disbursed you must complete an entrance interview. This interview is usually done on-line and consists of providing loan borrowers with extensive information regarding the loan’s terms and conditions.
- You are responsible for notifying your Direct Loan Servicer when you leave school or are no longer enrolled at least half-time and whenever your address changes.
- You may prepay all or any part of the unpaid balance on your loans at any time without penalty. This will decrease the amount of interest that you will pay over the life of the loan.
- If you received a Federal Direct Stafford Loan or a Federal Perkins Loan and you drop below half-time status, you must contact your college Financial Aid Office to arrange for an Exit Interview.
- Most colleges disburse the funds once a semester unless you are scheduled to register for only one semester in the academic year. In that case the loan will be disbursed in two equal payments. Colleges have the option of disbursing a loan for up to 20 payments depending on the college’s policy and the student’s needs.
- A federal Student Loan Ombudsman office is available for assistance with loan problems at 1-877-557-2575 or by writing to: Office of the Ombudsman, Student Financial Assistance, US Dept. of Education, Fourth Floor, 830 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20202-5144.