Federal Direct Loan Program

CI participates in the Direct Loan program, which offers Direct Loans for students as well as supplemental PLUS loans for graduate students or parents of dependent undergraduate students. Direct loans offer a variety of deferment and repayment options, and are financed directly by the U.S. Department of Education so there's no need to choose a lender. Please refer to the Annual Loan Limit Chart for the maximum amount students may borrow in Federal Direct Loans per academic year.

A Federal Direct Loan is a low-interest loan available to college students who are enrolled at least half-time, enrolled in a degree granting program, and meet other basic requirements. These loans do not require credit approval; eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA application. Payment of principal is deferred while students are enrolled in school at least half-time. After you graduate, withdraw, or drop to less than half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period – during which time no payment on principal will be due. Repayment on the principal amount begins at the conclusion of the grace period.

Subsidized Loans

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. The U.S. government pays (or subsidizes) the interest on this loan while you are enrolled at least half-time, and until the end of the six-month grace period.

Unsubsidized Loans

An unsubsidized loan is awarded regardless of need. You are charged interest on the amount disbursed from the date of disbursement and you may either make – or defer – interest payments while you are in school and during the six-month grace period. If you defer your interest payments, the accumulated interest will be capitalized, or added, to the principal of your loan when you enter repayment. All future interest charges are then based on the new, higher principal amount.

Parent PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent undergraduate students can take out a Parent PLUS Loan to supplement their student's aid package. Parents may choose to defer payments on a PLUS Loan until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time and to pay the accruing interest monthly or quarterly, or to defer interest payments and allow interest to be capitalized quarterly. A parent also has the option to choose not to defer payment, and can begin repaying both principal and interest while the student is in school.

Graduate PLUS Loan 

This program is only for those students in graduate or doctorate level programs, and is meant to supplement the funding from the Direct Loan program. You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program and taking courses that lead to your degree. Students will receive an automatic deferment on the principal amount of the loan while enrolled at least half-time. You are charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed and may either make or defer interest payments while you are in school and during periods of deferment. If you defer your interest payments, the accumulated interest will be capitalized, or added, to the principal of your loan when you enter repayment. All future interest charges are then based on the new, higher principal amount.

Unlike the Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, there is no grace period for the Graduate PLUS Loan; you will enter repayment immediately after you graduate, withdraw, or drop to less than half-time enrollment.

  • Prior to applying for a Grad PLUS Loan, you must complete the FAFSA and apply for your maximum eligibility through the Direct Loan program ($20,500 per academic year).
  • To receive, or initiate, a Grad PLUS Loan you must complete a Grad PLUS Loan Request form and submit it to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office

Interest rates

First DisbursementMade on or afterMade beforeUndergraduate
borrowers
Graduate 
borrowers
Parent
borrowers
Direct Subsidized Loans 7/1/20177/1/20184.45%  
Direct Unsubsidized Loans7/1/20177/1/20184.45%6.00% 
Direct PLUS Loans7/1/20177/1/2018 7.00%7.00%

Loan Origination Fee

All Direct Loans are subject federal origination fee. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed, as shown in the chart below.

First DisbursementMade on or afterMade beforeOrigination Fee
Direct Subsidized
or Unsubsidized Loans
10/1/201610/1/20171.069%
($58.79 on a $5,500 loan)
10/1/201710/1/20181.066%
($58.63 on a $5,500 loan)
Direct PLUS10/1/201610/1/20174.276%
($427.60 on a $10,000 loan)
10/1/201710/1/20184.264%
($426.40 on a $10,000 loan)

Annual Limits

Dependent Students

Borrower's Academic LevelMaximum SubsidizedTotal Eligibility (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
Freshman (0-30 units)$3,500$5,500
Sophomore (31-60 units)$4,500$6,500
Junior and Beyond (Inc. 2nd Bachelor's)$5,500$7,500
Teaching Credential Students$5,500$5,500

Independent Students

Borrower's Academic LevelMaximum SubsidizedTotal Eligibility
(and Dependent Students whose parent(s)
are denied a Parent PLUS Loan)
Freshman (0-30 units)$3,500$9,500
Sophomore(31-60 units)$4,500$10,500
Junior and Beyond (Inc. 2nd Bachelor's)$5,500$12,500
Teaching Credential Students$5,500$12,500
Graduate / Professional$8,500$20,500

For periods of study shorter than an academic year:

The amounts students can borrow will be less than those listed. In addition, loan amounts may be less if students receive other financial aid that is used to cover a portion of their cost of education. All students will be automatically offered the maximum amount allowed based upon grade level, cost of education, and other financial aid received.

Restriction for graduating seniors with one-semester loan:

We are required by federal law to prorate (determine partial loan eligibility) when an undergraduate student plans to graduate at the end of the one term for which they are receiving a Direct Loan. For example, a senior who will be graduating at the end of fall term will be subjected to proration of his/her annual loan amount because he/she will not attend the whole academic year. The proration is based on the annual loan limit ($5,500) multiplied by the number of units needed for graduation divided by 24. If you think you may be under this restriction, please come into our office for further clarification.

Aggregate Limits

Dependency StatusSubsidizedMaximum Subsidized & Unsubsidized
Dependent$23,000$31,000
Independent$23,000$57,500
Graduate / Professional ‡$65,500$138,500

‡ Aggregate limit for Graduate students includes amount borrowed as an undergraduate student.