Student loans are a common source of funding used by students to help pay for their education. Washington State encourages responsible borrowing practices for all of our students. Remember, these funds MUST be repaid.
Types of Loans
Both student and parent loans are available to help pay educational expenses. Current interest rates may be found at https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/interest-rates.
Direct Subsidized Loans DOES NOT accrue interest while the student is enrolled in at least six credit hours or more. Subsidized Loans are available to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. Students who have unmet need, after Grants and Scholarships are considered, may qualify for a Federal DirectSubsidized Loan.
Six months after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time, interest will begin to accrue and continues to do so until the loan is paid in full.
Students borrowing a Direct Subsidized Loan are subject to a time limitation not to exceed 150% of the length of the student’s educational program. For example, a student enrolled in the ADN Program, which is a 2-year program, has a three-year maximum eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loan. Direct Subsidized Loans borrowed for a previous program and/or at another school will count toward the current program limit. Upon reaching the Subsidized Maximum eligibility period, students may still receive Direct Unsubsidized Loans as long as annual and aggregate loan limits have not been reached.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans DOES accrue interest for the life of the loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits hours or more) to receive any Federal Direct Loan. Unsubsidized Loans are made to eligible undergraduate students, but the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible. Students who have unmet costs, after all other financial aid resources are considered, may qualify for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
You will be charged interest on these loans from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is allowed to accumulate, the interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan and increase the amount to be repaid.
Learn more about the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan.
A parent can help pay the educational expenses of their dependent undergraduate student by applying for the Parent PLUS Loan. The loan is based on the parent’s credit history and will be in the parent’s name (not the student). The parent is also responsible for repaying the loan.
To receive a parent PLUS loan, the parent must
- be the biological or adoptive parent (or in some cases, the step-parent) of a dependent undergraduate student who is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution;
- make sure your child has filled out the FAFSA form;
- not have an adverse credit history (unless you meet certain additional requirements); and
- meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. (Your child must also meet these requirements.)
Looking to apply? Use the online application to apply for a parent PLUS loan.
Tip* When applying for Parent PLUS Loan, you must log in as the parent (and not the student).
Check out the Federal Student Loans: Direct PLUS Loan Basics for Parents Booklet for more information.
In order for student loans to be disbursed students must complete the following by the Direct Loan Deadline:
- Accept the amount of student loans you would like applied to your account by visiting the Student Planning section of MyWSCC, click on Financial Aid, then My Awards to change and accept your student loans amount.
- Entrance Counseling* - Complete Entrance Counseling by visiting studentaid.gov.
- Master Promissory Note (MPN)* - Complete your MPN by visiting studentaid.gov.
*To complete these steps, you will need to access the site by using your FSA ID and password, the same information you use to complete the FAFSA.
The Department of Education will not release funds to the school until these requirements are fulfilled.
What to Know Before You Borrow
If you’re considering a student loan, you should review the following information prior to accepting any loans so you understand the responsibilities associated with borrowing/repaying an educational loan as well as the negative long-term financial consequences of not repaying your loan.
Interest Rates for Direct Loans First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2021.
|Loan Type||Borrower Type||Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/21 and before 7/1/22
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergraduate||3.73%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergraduate||3.73%|
|Parent plus Loan||Parent||6.28%|
Data provided by studentaid.ed.gov.
Interest rates fixed for the life of the loan and are established each year for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans for which the first disbursement is on or after July 1 through June 30. Current interest rates can be found here.
Federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. Federal Student Aid will deduct a loan fee proportionately from each loan disbursement that you receive while enrolled in school. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You are still responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received. Current loan fees can be found here.
The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
|Year||Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)||Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)|
|First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit||$5,500-No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.||$9,500-No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.|
|Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit||$6,500-No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.||$10,500-No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.|
|Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit||$31,000-No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.||$57,500 for undergraduates-No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.|
|$138,500 for graduate or professional students-No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.|
Data provided by studentaid.ed.gov.
The federal government sets limits on the amount of money a student can borrow under the Federal Direct Loan program. The annual limit applies to the most a student can borrow in one academic year, while the aggregate limit applies to the maximum a student can borrow in a lifetime.
- Borrow only what you need and can reasonably repay.
- Develop a realistic budget and consider ways to lower your costs.
- Research the average pay of your chosen field to know if your projected earnings will be enough to repay your student loans.
- Keep track of your loan debt (principal and any accrued interest) so you will know the amount you will have to repay when you graduate.
- Stay in contact with your loan servicer and be sure they have your updated contact information.
- Know that repaying your student loan on time can help establish and maintain an excellent credit history. If you ever have trouble making your payments, work with your loan servicer regarding your repayment options and be sure to take advantage of deferment and forbearance options that can prevent your loan from going into default status.
- Be aware that student loans are in your name and affect your credit history, so you should know and understand the obligations. Don't rely on your parents or others to review this information for you.
- Complete entrance loan counseling and understand all aspects of the loan and the borrowing process. Contact our office if you have questions.
- Read and understand the terms and conditions on your promissory note.
- Understand that you’re obligated to repay your loan regardless of whether you complete your education, are satisfied with your education, or are unable to find a job.
- Unlike other forms of consumer debt, student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy except under extraordinary circumstances.
- If you fail to make a payment on your student loan for an extended period, your loans may be placed into default.
- A default on a federal student loan will require payment of additional costs, including collection costs, attorney's fees, court costs, and additional interest. These costs may substantially increase the amount owed on your student loan.
- No statutes of limitation apply to the collection of student loan debt. This means that your student loan debt may be collected many years, or decades, into the future.
- The IRS may seize your tax refunds to repay a defaulted student loan.
- Your future wages may be garnished to repay a defaulted student loan.
- Your Social Security benefits may be garnished to repay a defaulted student loan.
- Any disability benefits you receive may be garnished to repay a defaulted student loan.
- A default on a student loan may result in the denial or revocation of a professional license, such as a license to practice medicine or law.
Exit Counseling provides important information for students to prepare to repay their federal student loan(s). Students who received subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loans must complete exit counseling each time they:
- drop below half-time enrollment (less than 6 credit hours);
- graduate; or
- leave school or withdraw (transfers included)
The following sections provide information and instructions on how to complete the required Exit Counseling.
Direct Loan Exit Counseling Guide
A copy of the Direct Loan Exit Counseling Guide can be found here.
Exit Counseling will explain student rights and responsibilities as a federal loan borrower. It also provides information and terms to students to help them make the right choices about repayment. During Exit Counseling, students review their total federal student loan debt. Be sure to pay special attention to:
- Loan Consolidation
- Loan Deferment and Forbearance
- Loan Repayment Options (standard repayment, extended repayment, graduated repayment, and income contingent repayment)
- Loan Default
Exit Counseling will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and you will need to have the following information available:
- Your FSA ID Username and Password
- Your Social Security Number and Driver’s License Number
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two references who live in the US (& not at same address)
- Closest living relative’s contact information
- Details on your income, financial aid, and living expenses
- Go to studentloans.gov
- Click on the ‘Login’ icon and enter your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
- Note: If you login incorrectly 3 times or more with the wrong username or password, the account will be locked for 30 minutes. Use ‘Forgot My Username or Password’ if needed.
- Click on the icon link ‘Complete Exit Counseling’ (can also be found under ‘MANAGE LOANS’ tab).
- On ‘Complete Counseling’ screen, scroll down to Complete Exit Counseling and click on ‘START’.
- In the left navigation bar, under ‘Add School to Notify’, Choose or Add ‘Washington State Community College’, then click ‘NOTIFY THIS SCHOOL’, then click ‘Continue’.
- Complete the online Exit Counseling session – includes five loan literacy modules.
- Understand Your Loans, Plan to Repay, Avoid Default, Finances: A Priority, Repayment Information
- Complete all ‘CHECK YOUR KNOWLEDGE’ boxes to advance in the session.
- Choose a Repayment Plan from the dropdown menu before submitting.
- Click ‘Submit Counseling’ upon completion. Once you have completed & submitted the exit interview process, a confirmation page will appear. Keep this for your records.
- Before exiting the site, Click “View Loan Servicer Details” on your Dashboard and save your Loan Servicer’s information. Your Dashboard can be found by clicking your name at top right.
Tip* Register ASAP with your student loan servicer on their website to keep current with your student loans. This will provide you with first-hand information on your student loans and status of your loans. It is important to remember that your federal loan servicer is there to help you stay clear of delinquency and default. There are a variety of options they can provide. The worst thing you can do is ignore them.
A loan servicer is a company that Federal Student Aid assigns to handle the billing and other services on your federal student loan on their behalf, at no cost to you. Your loan servicer will work with you on repayment options (such as income-driven repayment plans and loan consolidation) and will assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loans.
Keep your contact information up-to-date so your loan servicer can help you stay on track with repaying your loans. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help you. Contact your loan servicer if you have further questions about repayment.
Find out who your loan servicer is by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.433.3243.
For additional information, you may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center
A full history of your federal student loans are available on Studentaid.gov.
- Login with your FSA ID to view your ‘Aid Summary’ in your ‘Dashboard’.
Financial Awareness Counseling provides tools and information to help you understand your financial aid. Some topics include: Understand Your Loans, Manage Your Spending, Plan to Repay, and Avoid Default. Make Your Finances a Priority Today!
Try the Loan Simulator
Loan Simulator is a new tool to help you make decisions about your student loans. Use it to find a repayment plan that meets your needs and goals or to decide whether to consolidate at https://studentaid.gov/loan-simulator/