Direct Loan Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

This direct loan frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) page will help guide you to find some answers, as well as teach you about loans. See videos for additional information.



What are Direct Student Loans?

  • Direct Student Loans are loans that are offered directly from the federal government as part of the student's application for financial aid.  Even though Federal Direct Student Loans are considered financial aid, they still have to be repaid by the student after they graduate or leave school. 


What is the difference between a Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan? 

  • Direct Subsidized - a loan made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at an approved college or career/technical school.  This type of loan is determined based on financial need and the federal government is paying the interest on this while you are still enrolled in school at least half time or better. 
  • Direct Unsubsidized - a loan made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Students do NOT have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the unsubsidized loan.  For this type of loan, the student is responsible for any interest incurred from the moment you receive these funds. 


What are Private Student Loans? 

  • A private student loan is a loan that you would borrow from a bank or other financial institution.  These loans are based on a borrowers credit history and are usually offered at higher interest rates than Federal Direct Loans (which are loans offered directly from the federal government).  As a result, the Grossmont College Financial Aid Office does not typically certify private loans for students. 


How much can I borrow?

The information below describes the maximum annual loan amounts, but students have the right to borrow less than these amounts or to not borrow at all.  If you are only requesting loans for one semester, you may be eligible for up to half of the amounts listed below. 


  • For undergraduate 1st year students (less than 30 completed units):
    • Dependent/Independent: up to $3,500 Subsidized or Unsubsidized
    • Dependent/Independent: up to $2,000/$6,000 Additional Unsubsidized 
  • For undergraduate 2nd year students (30 or more completed units):
    • Dependent/Independent: up to $4,500 Subsidized or Unsubsidized
    • Dependent/Independent: up to $2,000/$6,000 Additional Unsubsidized


Can I take out loans for Summer?


  • Yes, but eligibility will be determined upon Summer enrollment and previous loan amounts disbursed within the academic year.


When do I have to start repaying my loan(s)?

  • From the time a student either graduates or is no longer enrolled as a half-time student, a 6 month grace period will begin allowing the student to set up their loan repayment options or ask questions from their loan servicer.  After this 6 month grace period, payments are due unless you have made other payment arrangements with your loan servicer.
  • For questions regarding loan repayments, you may call: 1 (800) 621-3115.


How can I defer my loan payments?


  • In-School loan deferment can be an automatic process if you remain enrolled in at least 6 units during each semester.  The in-school loan deferment form will then need to be completed by the Grossmont Admissions & Records Office and then you will mail this form to your loan servicer.
  • There are other types of reasons why Federal Student Aid may approve a loan deferment. For more information on all types of loan deferments and the appropriate forms, please visit 


What if I want to cancel my loan request?

  • To cancel a loan request, whether you have received funds or not, you can complete the Loan Cancellation form at the Financial Aid Office for processing.


Can I return my loan if I have already received the funds?

  • Yes, but you need to email the Grossmont College Loan Specialist to determine repayment options and timelines.

What is a Cohort Default Rate (CDR)? 

  • A Cohort Default Rate is the percentage of a school's borrowers who enter repayment on certain federal student loans during a particular federal fiscal year (FY), October 1 to September 30, and default or meet other specified conditions prior to the end of the second following fiscal year.
  • A school's eligibility to participate in Federal Student Aid (FSA) can be affected by a high Cohort Default Rate (CDR).  As long as a school's CDR is below 30 percent, the school is in good standing with FSA requirements.  
  • Grossmont College's most recent CDR can be found here
  • For Grossmont College's most recent loan repayment data, please click here.  Once you visit this site, enter 001208 in the OPE-ID field and click the Search button. 
  • The CDR national average for all post-secondary schools can be found here.