When you’re ready to pursue your dreams, don’t let financial fears hold you back.
At Blue Ridge Community College, we keep tuition low and provide hundreds of scholarship opportunities to our incoming and returning students. Even so, we know that paying for college can still be challenging. That’s why we also offer additional options for financing your education. Certain federal student loans may also be forgiven.
We’re proud to participate in the federal Direct Loan program, through which the U.S. Department of Education makes loans to eligible students, as well as parents of dependent students. These loans are different from other types, such as personal loans or mortgages, and offer several advantages. For example, they don’t have as stringent qualification requirements, often have lower interest rates, and offer flexibility when it comes to paying them back. Federal student loans can also be forgiven in many instances.
On this page, you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about federal loans by student and parent borrowers, including information about eligibility, interest rates, and repayment solutions. Below, you’ll also find links to helpful websites and contact information for our Financial Aid Office should you have further questions. We can help you remove economic barriers to elevating your education.
Find more financial aid information, including details about federal and state grants, scholarships, and work-study options, at the links in the navigation menu on the right-hand side of your screen.
Direct loans are available for students enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying program and who are in good academic standing. Direct loans may be either subsidized or unsubsidized and must be repaid. Interest rates are determined each June for the upcoming academic year. The amount a student can borrow per academic year will depend upon enrollment, dependency status, and other aid received.
Subsidized loan funds are awarded based on financial need. The federal government pays the student’s interest while he/she is enrolled in school at least half-time in a qualifying program. The student begins paying interest when repayment of the loan begins.
Unsubsidized loan funds are not need-based. The student will be charged interest from the time funds are disbursed until the loan is paid in full. Students may choose to make monthly interest payments while in school, or they can choose to defer interest payments. If the student chooses to defer interest, it will accrue and will be added to the principal amount of the loan. Please note, if interest is capitalized, it will increase the amount the student has to repay.
Congress has passed and the President has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act, interest rates will be determined each June for new loans being made for the upcoming award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
The following table provides the interest rates for new Direct Loans made from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. These rates will apply to all new Direct Loans made during this time, even loans already disbursed before the passage of the Act.
|Direct Subsidized Loans (Undergraduates)
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Undergraduates)
|Direct PLUS Loans
In addition to interest, students will be charged a fee of up to 1.0% of the loan which will be deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement. A portion of this fee goes to the federal government to help reduce the cost of the loans.
To apply for a Direct Loan, you must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours or 15-21 contact hours, depending on your program of study). Credit hours for audited courses, courses not required for your program of study, or continuing education classes are not included as enrolled hours for financial aid purposes. You must be accepted into an eligible degree, diploma, or certificate program. You must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress according to financial aid standards. For subsidized loan funds, you must also show financial need as determined by your FAFSA results.
The first step in applying for a Direct Loan is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at studentaid.gov. Once you have submitted your FAFSA, the college will notify you if you are eligible for a grant or Direct Loan funds. Once this notification has been received, complete the following steps to accept the Direct Loan offer:
- Complete online Entrance Counseling for the Direct Student Loan at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. You will need your FSA ID to complete this process. Entrance Counseling is a short tutorial that explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. There will be quizzes at the end of each section which you must pass in order to receive your loan. Please indicate that you are an undergraduate student in order to complete the correct entrance counseling.
- Complete the online Master Promissory Note for the Direct Student Loan at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. You will need your FSA ID to complete this process. The Master Promissory Note is a legally binding document that you sign online promising to pay your loan back. Again, please be sure to complete the undergraduate Master Promissory Note.
- Complete and return the Direct Loan Active Confirmation Form
- Complete the online Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.
Once the above steps are completed, the college will certify the loan application with Direct Loans. Direct Loans will send you a loan disclosure statement showing the amount of loan funds approved and the dates that the money will be sent to the college for disbursement.
If you will be attending summer term, a revised award notification will be sent to you after you register for summer classes indicating the grants and Direct Loan funds you are eligible for during the summer term. If you used your entire loan eligibility for the year in the Fall and Spring, you will not be eligible for additional Summer funds.
The amount a student can borrow per academic year will depend upon enrollment and dependency status. The amounts indicated below are the maximum yearly amounts a student may borrow in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Students may be eligible for less than these amounts if the student is receiving other financial aid that is used to cover a portion of the cost of attendance.
Please note that if a student transfers to Blue Ridge Community College from another school within the same academic year and requests loan funds at Blue Ridge, loan funds received at the former school will be included in the yearly maximum total allowed when determining the amount of loan funds available for certification at Blue Ridge Community College.
Your loan funds will be disbursed to the college in two disbursements according to the disbursement schedule provided by Direct Loans in your loan disclosure statement. Funds will be posted into your college financial aid account so that you may charge your tuition, fees and books provided that you applied for a loan early enough to have the money in your account at the time these expenses are due.
Refunds for the remainder of loan funds after tuition, fees, and books are deducted will be disbursed to students following the Important Dates for Financial Aid schedule. If your Direct Loan request was submitted after this date, loan refunds will usually be disbursed within 4 weeks after you submit your Direct Loan Active Confirmation form for processing to the Financial Aid Office.
Once a student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time status, he/she will have six months before beginning repayment. Loan payments will be made directly to the student’s loan servicer. The student is also required to complete an exit counseling session online. To complete your exit counseling, click on the link below.
Default means failure to honor the repayment agreement of a loan. That includes failure to make payments on time, failure to make payments in the correct amount, or failure to file deferment requests properly or on time.
- When a loan enters default, the lender transfers the loan to the guarantor. The guarantor then owns the loan from the lender.
- The 2016 Cohort Default Rate at Blue Ridge Community College is 22.6%. This compares to the national average of 10.1%. It is our goal to help students keep their student loan(s) out of default and to assist in bringing and/or keeping their accounts current.
There are several options available to those who find themselves in repayment trouble.
- Deferment – you may postpone your payments when certain criteria are met such as unemployment, economic hardship, disability, and school enrollment.
- Forbearance – permits the reduction of payments, provides an extension of time, or temporarily postpones payments. Financial problems that do not meet the requirements for a deferment might qualify you for the forbearance.
- Consolidation – by consolidating your student loans, you might be able to reduce your monthly payments.
For more information visit: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action
- Alternative Payment Plan – Some borrowers qualify for other special payment plans such as Income Sensitive, Graduated, or Lowered Payment Plans.
You may contact your lender or servicer for more information.
Federal regulations provide three options to help borrowers in default on student loans restore their benefits.
The three options are:
- Reinstated Eligibility – You may still be able to regain your eligibility to participate in federal student financial aid programs even though your loan is in default. You must make six voluntary, on-time, consecutive monthly payments. Your loan will still be considered in default but you will have reinstated your eligibility to apply for federal student aid. The amount you will have to pay will be determined by the amount of your debt and your individual economic circumstance.
- Rehabilitation – Loan Rehabilitation allows you to remove your loan from default. Under Loan Rehabilitation you make on-time, voluntary, consecutive monthly payments for a minimum of one year (12 consecutive months).
- Consolidation – Loan Consolidation is available to all borrowers, including those in default. Loan Consolidation allows you to combine several loans into a single account with new repayment options.
After your student loan has defaulted, the entire balance becomes due and you are no longer eligible for any Title IV financial aid or for any of the options described above.
Other consequences of default may include:
- Reporting the default to all national credit bureaus.
- Withholding of a percentage of your wages until the debt is paid in full.
- Adding collection and attorneys’ fees to the balance of your loan(s).
- Seizure of your IRS tax refund by the guarantor or U.S. Department of Education.
- Do not lose copies of your loan documents, and repayment schedules. (And note amount, overall cost, and interest rates).
- Note the billing cycles of your loans.
- Remember to give lenders your correct address, telephone number, and email address before leaving school.
- Know the correct billing servicers for each lender.
- Promptly update your lender with any status changes (e.g. school status, unemployment) prior to your payment due date. Look for written acknowledgement.
- If you return to school, follow up with each lender to insure that they have received your enrollment verification or deferment. Look for written acknowledgement.
- Ensure each lender/servicer has your current status. (i.e. forbearance, deferment, etc.)
- Keep deferment status current with each lender.
Direct PLUS Loans
PLUS loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses.
Here’s a quick overview of Direct PLUS Loans:
- The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.
- The borrower must not have an adverse credit history.
- The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received.
To receive a Direct PLUS Loan at Blue Ridge Community College, you must
- be the parent (biological, adoptive, or in some cases, stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credit hours or 15 or more contact hours, depending on the program of study)
- pass a credit check
- your child must meet the following criteria:
- be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- have graduated from high school or earned a high school equivalency diploma
- be accepted into an eligible degree, diploma, or certificate program of study
- be registered with Selective Service if you child is male and over the age of 18
- must not have a student loan in default
- must maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid standards
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history or documenting to the U.S. Department of Education’s satisfaction extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history. The endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.
If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans to help pay for his or her education. The dependent student should contact the school’s financial aid office for more information.
The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial assistance received.
For Direct PLUS Loans disbursed after July 1, 2019 and before July 1, 2020, the interest rate is 7.08%.
Yes, there is a 4.248% loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2019, and before October 1, 2020. The fee will be proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement.
When you receive your Direct PLUS Loan, you will be contacted by your loan servicer. Your loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of your Direct PLUS Loan and will provide you with information on how and when to repay your loan.
Your Direct PLUS Loan enters repayment once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out).
You may contact your loan servicer to request a deferment while you or your child are enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after your child ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
If your loan is deferred, interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to capitalize when the deferment period ends. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due.
There are several repayment plans that are designed to meet the different needs of individual borrowers.
If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your servicer can help you understand your options for keeping your loan in good standing. For example, you may wish to change your repayment plan or request a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily stop or lower the payments on your loan.
No, a Direct PLUS Loan made to a parent cannot be transferred to the child. You, the parent, are responsible for repaying the loan.
Yes. Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan by notifying your school. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan within certain time frames. Your promissory note and additional information you receive from your school will explain the procedures and time frames for canceling your loan.
You also may qualify for forgiveness of some or all of your loan if you meet certain conditions.
Additional information about the Direct PLUS Loan
For more information and additional details regarding the Direct PLUS Loan program, visit www.studentaid.gov
Financial Aid Office
Henderson County Campus
180 West Campus Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731
School Code: 009684
View Financial Aid Office Hours
Financial Aid Staff