Federal Direct Stafford Loans
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, offered through the Department of Education. Federal Stafford loans are low-interest, long-term loans. A student must be enrolled for at least six credits in an eligible certificate or degree program and be making satisfactory academic progress in order to be eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan.
Students with financial need can obtain a subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan.This means the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest charges to the student’s lender as long as the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 or more credits) and during a six-month period following enrollment (grace period). At the end of the grace period, repayment of the loan will begin and interest begins to accrue to the student borrower. Repayment may extend up to ten years but borrowers must make payments of at least $50 per month. Students who do not qualify for the subsidized (need-based) Federal Direct Stafford Loan can obtain an unsubsidized (non-need-based) Federal Direct Stafford Loan. Unlike the subsidized Loan, the student is responsible for the interest obligation while enrolled. The student, while enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 or more credits), may pay interest only or have the interest capitalized (added to the principal). The interest rate for both types of loans is currently fixed at 6.8%.
First time Federal Direct Stafford loan borrowers at Reynolds must complete an Entrance Loan Counseling Session and ALL Federal Direct Stafford loan borrowers must complete an Exit Loan Counseling Session upon graduation or withdraw. Repayment begins six months after a student leaves school because of graduation, other reasons, or drops below half-time level. All loan applicants must have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and may not have defaulted on prior loans or borrowed their maximum lifetime amounts as determined by the Federal government. Students may not borrow more than the cost of their education minus other financial aid awarded them.
The Office of Financial Aid must approve all federal loans and reserves the right to refuse loan applications due to academic deficiency or evidence that a student may have difficulty managing loan debt.
How to Apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan
If you are a student interested in applying for a Federal Stafford Loan, you will need to follow these steps:
1. Complete the FAFSA each year at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
2. Apply to Reynolds and be admitted into an approved Program or Plan of Study and be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
3. Comply with any information requests from the Office of Financial Aid, such as verification items and tax information.
4. Complete the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College “Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form” by the deadline.
5. Complete Loan Entrance counseling. All first time borrowers at Reynolds are required to complete Loan Entrance Counseling. You can do this online at www.studentloans.gov.
6. Complete your Master e-Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov. Be sure to choose the “Complete New MPN for Student Loans” link.
Please Note: You only have to do one Master Promissory Note during your borrowing "career" at Reynolds. The only thing you have to do each time you wish to borrow is complete the Reynolds “Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form.” The only time you would have to redo the MPN is if you transfer to another college and borrow there. You would do a new MPN at that college, and upon your return to Reynolds, you would do another MPN.
7. Finally, allow 4-6 weeks for processing, depending on the time of the year.
8. Enroll, attend, and maintain at least six credit hours to retain loan eligibility. Students must stay active in at least six credit hours each semester for which they apply for a loan. Students who drop below half-time status risk having their loans canceled and will enter their grace period for repayment.
9. Complete the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form if you are interested in applying for a student loan.