General Loan Information
We participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program. If you are eligible, direct lending is when you or your parent borrow directly from the federal government. Direct Loans include Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. You repay these loans directly to the U.S. Department of Education or a servicer appointed by the U. S. Department of Education.
If your financial aid file is complete, there will be a link named “Loan Request” on the Financial Aid tile in your Student Self-Service. This link should be accessed to request a student loan and to indicate the amount of loan requested. As always, we encourage you to borrow responsibly so your total debt remains manageable when in repayment.
To be eligible for student loans, you must maintain enrollment in at least six credit hours and meet all other criteria required to receive federal student aid.
Direct Subsidized Loans are based on financial need as well as annual and aggregate loan limits. Interest on this loan does not accrue during eligible periods of enrollment and stated grace periods. Interest accrual and repayment begins six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half time (six semester hours).
Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans are based on annual and aggregate loan limits and is not based on financial need. Unlike the subsidized loan, the interest accrues while you are in school. Interest can be paid monthly or quarterly or be capitalized (added to the principal balance). The borrower must pay all interest that accrues regardless of enrollment status or loan deferments. Principal repayment begins six months after graduation or when the student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 semester hours).
Direct Plus Loan
Direct PLUS Loans (Parent Plus) are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college. A Parent Plus loan is borrowed by the parent, so the debt and responsibility to repay belongs to the parent borrower. Unlike subsidized and unsubsidized loans that a student can choose to borrow, Parent Plus loans do require a credit approval and they are typically a higher interest rate than subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Interest on Parent PLUS loans begin accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. A parent who is interested in borrowing to assist their dependent student pay for their education can apply at studentaid.gov by logging in with their FSA ID.
The information students need regarding student loans depends largely on if they have borrowed previously, are returning borrowers or if they have or are about to enter repayment. The information below is broken down into sections as to where you are in the student loan process.
First Time Student Borrowers
After your financial aid file is complete, there are three additional steps required to borrow a student loan:
- eSign Your Master Promissory Note(MPN)- As a first-time borrower, you will be required to eSign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) prior to your loan funds disbursing to your account. You will need your FSA ID User Name and Password that you used when completing your FAFSA to eSign our MPN.
- Complete Entrance Counseling- Federal Direct Loan student borrowers are required to complete mandatory entrance counseling. The purpose of the counseling is to provide the student with information regarding their rights and responsibilities; the commitment that comes with the acceptance of a student loan; and to help the student understand how to manage their student loans. You will also need your FSA ID User Name and Password to complete Entrance Counseling.
- Request a Direct Student Loan through your KCTCS Student Self-Service- Gateway only processes loans for students who request them. If you wish to borrow a student loan, you must make a request through the “Loan Request Link” under the Financial Aid tile in your Student Self-Service. You will indicate an amount that you wish to borrow. Unless you indicate that you will be graduating in the Fall semester, the amount you request will be split evenly between Fall and Spring.
Returning Student Borrowers
- Know What You Owe- It is recommended that before you request a student loan each year, you access the following information and tools:
- While you do not need to complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) again, you will need to make a loan request through the “Loan Request” link on your Student Self-Service each time you would like to request an additional loan. If it has been over 10 years since you received your last loan, you will need to complete a MPN again.
Graduating/Student Borrowers Not Returning
- All student borrowers who leave Gateway by graduating, withdrawing, or simply not returning for the next semester are required by the U.S. Department of Education to complete Exit Counseling. Log in to studentaid.gov to complete it. Again, student borrowers must complete exit counseling.
- Find out who your loan servicer is by accessing your Account Dashboard provided at studentaid.gov. Make sure your address, email address, and phone number is always updated with your loan servicer.
- Know when your first payment is due and what payment plan is the best option for you by contacting your loan servicer. They are there to help you manage your student loan debt. Much information can also be obtained from the In Repayment tab at Student Aid.
Graduates and Other Former Students Who Are In Repayment
- Make at least your minimum payment on time each month. Paying more than the minimum amount will result in paying less interest over the life of the loan.
- If you are struggling to make your payments, contact your loan servicer immediately to discuss your payment plan options as there are several available. You may find one that is better for you.
- Gateway contracts with Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to assist our student borrowers through repayment. If KHEAA contacts you, it is in your best interest to communicate with them as they are there to help you and to make sure your student loans remain in good standing. If you need assistance, their phone number is 800.564.6068.