Federal Student Loans
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR STUDENTS WHO USE FEDERAL STAFFORD OR PLUS LOANS TO FINANCE THEIR EDUCATION
Wharton County Junior College is now processing loans through the Federal Direct Loan Program effective June 7, 2010. This program will replace the Federal Stafford Student Loan and Parent PLUS loan programs. Participating in the Federal Direct Loan Program will provide our current and future students, as well as the College, with more assurance that funding will be available for federal educational loans and will ensure that WCJC students will receive competitive benefits.
Here are some of the benefits that WCJC students will receive from this change:
- The Direct Loan Program is funded directly by the Federal Government, thereby eliminating
some of the confusion by offering a single source and process for federal loans.
- Direct Loans are not sold by the Federal Government; borrowers will know who holds
their loans during repayment. In addition, prior borrowers can consolidate Federal
Stafford Loans with their Direct Loans, enabling them to track their loans with one
lender instead of multiple lenders.
- Direct lending offers a Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and an income-based repayment option for students in certain public service professions or who have low incomes.
What does this mean for you? This means that your Federal Stafford and PLUS loan will come from a different source than in the past but the funding for it is assured. It also means that you and your parents (if the parent desires to borrow a PLUS loan) will need to complete a new Master Promissory Note (MPN).
When it is time to begin the process of applying for your loan, the WCJC Financial Aid Office will be available to assist you and to direct you to on-line information about the Direct Loan program. We will also be updating our web pages and distributing information to assist you with the transition to help you better understand the benefits of this conversion.
Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid , with interest. You cannot have these loans canceled because you didn’t get a job in your field of study or due to financial difficulty. Loans are legal obligations, so before you take out a student loan, think about the amount you’ll have to repay over the years. Financial need is not a requirement to obtain certain student loans.
However, if you demonstrate financial need and are eligible for a Subsidized Loan, the federal government (U.S. Department of Education) will pay the interest that accrues on this type of loan during certain periods of enrollment.
Federal Student Loan Eligibility Requirements
- Student must complete the FAFSA. Apply at www.fafsa.gov
- Student must meet satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Financial Aid Office. If you are on financial aid suspension, you are not eligible for student loans.
- Be accepted for enrollment (if a new student) or, if currently enrolled, be in good standing.
- Student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours) each semester.
- Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- The student must not be in default on any federal loan or owe a refund back to any federal program.
- Not already exceed aggregate loan limits as established by the U.S. Department of Education
How much can I borrow?
Loan Limits for Federal Student Loans
|CLASSIFICATIONS||DEPENDENT STUDENTS:||Additional unsubsidized loan amounts|
|FRESHMAN: 29 or less semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours||$3,500||$2,000|
|SOPHOMORE: 30 or more semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours||$4,500||$2,000|
|CLASSIFICATIONS||INDEPENDENT STUDENTS:||Additional unsubsidized loan amounts|
|FRESHMAN: 29 or less semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours||$4,500||$5,000|
|SOPHOMORE: 30 or more semester hours completed, excluding developmental hours||$4,500||$6,000|
* The actual loan amount you are awarded will depend on other financial aid you receive and the amount of your budget (cost of attendance) as set by WCJC Financial Aid Office.
How do I apply for a Federal Student Loan?
Wharton County Junior College "packages" Federal Loans for all of our students who indicate on the FAFSA they are interested in being considered for a student loan. Once awarded a loan, you still must accept the loan either via paper award letter or on-line services.
Students who do not indicate on the FAFSA their desire to borrow a student loan but wish to do so may complete the Wharton County Junior College Loan request form. This form is available at all campuses.
A student loan can be used only for educational costs such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies. You should borrow only what you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is a Master Promissory Note?
Do I have to complete the online process at https://studentloans.gov for my loan?
Yes-If you do not complete the online process as instructed your loan cannot continue to be processed by the Department of Education. You must complete Entrance Counseling electronically and sign the promissory note for the loan. Federal regulations also require that all students who receive a Direct Loan (DL) must complete Exit Counseling at www.studentloans.gov prior to graduation or dropping below half-time attendance. You may not be able to get a copy of your college transcript until you have completed this important step.
How do I sign my promissory note?
You will need your PIN you used to electronically sign your FAFSA. If you do not remember your PIN you will need to retrieve it at www.pin.ed.gov .
How do I know if my loan funds have been received and deposited into my student account?
You should check your student account using the Online Services feature on the WCJC website. Information will not be released via telephone due to privacy laws. Loan funds will be deposited into your student account electronically. Check your Disclosure Statement to determine when funds will be sent to the college. The Business Office will deduct what you owe for tuition, fees and books and the balance will be mailed to you. You are responsible for maintaining a current, valid address with the Registrar’s Office.
What if I have other loans and don’t know who the lender is or how to contact them??
Call the Department of Education at 800-621-3115 OR
Log on to the National Student Loan Data Base: www.nslds.ed.gov (you will need your PIN)
What if I need to dispute the terms of a loan?
You should contact the lender and/or guarantor in writing. If the issue remains unresolved you should contact the Office of the Ombudsman at http://ombudsman.ed.gov/ or1-877-557-2575.
REMEMBER , a student loan is a debt that must be repaid!!
IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT!
Refund Policy: Federal regulations require return of funds for all students who receive Federal Title IV aid and subsequently withdraw during a payment period (i.e., a semester). The length of time during which a return of funds is calculated is up to sixty percent (60%) of the semester. Students not receiving federal funds are subject only to Wharton County Junior College’s refund policy.
The refund is applied to their financial-aid awards in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Stafford Student Loan
- Federal Plus Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
- Other state and local aid
Wharton County Junior College makes all refunds in compliance with current federal regulations.
Loan Overview (Direct Loans)