Federal Direct Loan Program & Information

Direct Loan Requirements

FAFSA

To apply for any Federal Direct Loans at UNC Asheville, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on the information provided by the FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid will award you the loans for which you qualify.

Entrance Counseling

Complete the entrance counseling required for all first-time borrowers.

Master Promissory Notes (MPN)

Master Promissory Notes must be signed if you are a first-time borrower or have not previously signed a Master Promissory Note with Direct Loan. You may sign your Direct Loan MPN here.

Loan Interest Rates

The Direct Loan interest rates for 2018-2019 are fixed as follows:

Undergraduate Stafford loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, is 5.05%.

Unsubsidized Stafford loans made to graduate students is 6.06%. 

Direct PLUS loans made to parents and graduate students will be 7.6%

These interest rates are effective for all Direct Loans with a first disbursement on or after July 1, 2018. The interest rates are calculated using a base 10-year Treasury Note Index plus a different add-on amount allocated defined by the program.

Under the new interest rate structure, all Direct Loans except Direct Consolidation Loans will be “variable-fixed,” meaning students would receive a new rate with each new loan, but then that rate would be fixed for the life of the loan. There are also interest rate caps at 8.25% for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students, 9.50% for Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate/professional students; and 10.50% for parent and graduate PLUS. For Direct Consolidation Loans, the interest rate remains the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans included in the consolidation, rounded up to the next higher one-eighth of one percent, without a cap.

Loans where the first disbursement is made on or after December 1, 2017 will have the following orgination fees: 1.066% for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. 

Direct PLUS Loans disbursed prior to October 1, 2018 will have a loan fee of 4.264-percent. If the loan is disbursed after October 1, 2018, there will be a 4.248% loan fee assessed.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. The Federal government pays the borrower's accrued interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time, thereby "subsidizing" these loans until their enrollment drops below full-time. Repayment will be begin 6 months after the student is no longer registered at least 6 hours.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Students must file a FAFSA and be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. The borrower is responsible for accrued interest throughout the life of the loan. Repayment will be begin 6 months after the student is no longer registered at least 6 hours.

Loan Information

  • Forms: FAFSA
  • Priority Deadline: At least 6-8 weeks before start of term(s) for which needed
  • Who Awards the Funds: Office of Financial Aid
  • Annual Maximum Amount: Varies dependent upon need and grade level
  • Need-based and Requires FAFSA: Yes (subsidized), no (unsubsidized)
  • Additional Award Criteria: Maintain satisfactory progress
  • Minimum Credit Hours For Disbursement per Term: 6 undergraduate (5 graduate)
  • Renewal Criteria: Complete the FAFSA each year

Loan Limits - Dependent Undergraduates

Freshmen (0-29 credit hours): $5,500
Sophomore (30-59 credit hours): $6,500
Junior (60-89 credit hours): $7,500
Senior (90+ credit hours): $7,500

The maximum total debt from Direct Loans that a dependent undergraduate may borrow is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized).

Loan Limits - Independent Undergraduates

(Also for dependent undergraduates whose parents are denied a Direct PLUS Loan.)
Freshmen (0-29 credit hours): $9,500 (No more than $3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
Sophomore (30-59 credit hours): $10,500 (No more than $4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
Junior (60-89 credit hours): $12,500 (No more than $5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
Senior (90+ credit hours): $12,500 (No more than $5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)

The maximum total debt from Direct Loans that an independent undergraduate may borrow is $57,500 (No more than $23,000 of of which can be subsidized).

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Available to parents of degree-seeking undergraduate dependent students who are enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. You must have a FAFSA on file to be eligible to apply for a PLUS Loan.

Loan Information

  • Forms: FAFSA, Federal Parent PLUS Loan application
  • Priority Deadline: July 1 for Fall, December 1 for Spring
  • Who Awards the Funds: UNC Asheville office of Financial Aid after credit is pre-approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Annual Maximum Amount: Cost of attendance less financial aid and other resources.
  • Need Based and Requires FAFSA: No
  • Additional Award Criteria: Maintain Satisfactory progress & Credit worthiness
  • Minimum Credit Hours For Disbursement per Term: 6 undergraduate
  • Renewal Criteria: Complete the FAFSA and PLUS application each year and have credit preapproved.

Forgivable Education Loan for Service

The Forgivable Education Loan for Service was established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011 and the first loans available for the 2012-13 academic year. The loan provides financial assistance to qualified students who are committed to working in North Carolina in fields designated as critical employment shortage areas.

Eligibility

A recipient must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a legal North Carolina resident and NC resident for tuition purposes
  • At the time of application, present a minimum grade point average (GPA) of:
    • 3.00 for graduating high school students (weighted GPA)
    • 2.80 for undergraduate students pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree
    • 3.20 for students pursuing a graduate or professional degree
  • Register with the Selective Service System, if required;
  • Recipients must not be in default, or does not owe a refund, under any federal or State loan or grant program
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to the enrolling policy of the institution
  • Be willing to work in North Carolina in a designated critical employment area

Annual Loan Amounts

  • Certificate or associate degree programs: $3,000
  • Bachelor’s degree program: freshmen and sophomores $3,000
  • Bachelor’s degree program: junior and senior: $7,000
  • Master’s degree program: $10,000
  • Doctoral degree program: $14,000

Maximum Aggregate Loan Limits:

  • Certificate and/or associate degree programs: $6,000
  • Bachelor’s degree program: $20,000
  • Master’s degree program: $20,000
  • Doctoral degree program: $56,000

Application

The application is available here. The application deadline for the 2015-2016 academic year is April 1, 2015.

All applications must be received by the deadline listed above. For further information regarding the application process or this forgivable loan, please call CFNC at 866.866.CFNC (2362).

Periodic updates will be provided during the application period and can be viewed at a link in the Related Links section below to be added a future date.

Other Information

FELS loan recipients must sign a promissory note that will require them to seek loan forgiveness through employment in an approved position or repay the loan in cash. Loan forgiveness is described in the FELS Rules. Generally, a loan for one academic year will be forgiven for one year of full-time employment. Loans will accrue interest at the rate of 8% per year from the date of the loan disbursement.

Private Education Loans

Alternative Education Loans may be necessary for students who do not qualify for Federal Direct Loans or need additional funds to cover their cost of attendance. These loans are private loans offered by individual lenders that require the borrower to have good credit or to obtain a co-signer with good credit. Be advised that the interest rates are variable from lender to lender and are higher than those of Federal Direct Loans.

The Office of Financial Aid cannot certify any Alternative Education Loans until the student is enrolled in classes. In addition, the Office of Financial Aid will not certify any amount that takes the student over their cost of attendance.

If you are seeking a resource to locate a private education loan, ElmSelect can provide comparisons. In the search bar, type "University of North Carolina Asheville" to locate our school. You will be permitted to search by lender and by product.

Private Education Loan Self Certification Form

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) added a section to the Truth In Lending Act to require that before a private educational lender may consummate a private education loan for a student in attendance at an institution of higher education, the private education lender must obtain the completed and signed Self-Certification Form from the applicant.

Federal Loan Repayment

Your loans aren’t going to go away, and you’ll want to repay them as quickly and easily as possible.

You will receive a notice on exit counseling when you graduate or attend school less than half-time. The exit counseling will provide information on your loans and when repayment begins.

When you graduate or withdraw you will have six months before your first payment is due. This is called a grace period. (PLUS Loans do not have a grace period). This time allows you to get financially settled, select your repayment plan and determine the amount of income you need to put toward your student loan each month.

There are flexible repayment options to help students manage this important financial responsibility. Contact your loan provider to discuss specific options.

Who is/are my lender(s)?

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct/FFELP Loan program, and other Department of Education programs. Also login to www.myedaccount.com.

NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of all loans and grants so that students can access and inquire about their loans and/or grant data.

Loan Repayment Calculators

Direct Lending Loan Calculators can be found online at studentloans.gov. For more information on repaying your student loans, please visit Student Aid online.

Deferment

A deferment is a period in which repayment of the principal balance is postponed. During a deferment, if the loan is subsidized, the government pays the interest charged. For unsubsidized, PLUS, unsubsidized consolidation, and PLUS consolidation loans in deferment, you are responsible for the interest that accrues during the deferment period. If you have unsubsidized loans, when you re-enter repayment at the end of the deferment period, any unpaid interest capitalizes (is added to the principal balance).

For complete information on deferment of your loan, contact your lender(s). If you are not eligible for a deferment you may still be eligible for a forbearance.

Forbearance

A forbearance is an arrangement to postpone or reduce your monthly payment amount for a limited and specific period during which you are charged interest. If you indicate a temporary inability, but willingness to pay the loan(s), you may ask for or be offered a forbearance. Interest that accrues during a forbearance is the responsibility of the borrower. When you re-enter repayment at the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid interest capitalizes (is added to the principal balance).

For complete information on the forbearance of your loan, contact your lender(s). If you are not eligible for a forbearance you may still be eligible for a deferment.

More Information on Repaying Federal Student Loans

Student Aid online has more information on repaying your student loans. We are also more than happy to discuss your options here in the office. Feel free to contact us.

Help - Contact Information

Have a question about Title IV federal student aid or one of the services the Department of Education provides? Contact one of our Customer Service Centers or Federal Student Aid Offices. If you are not sure which Service Center to call, contact the Research and Customer Care Center at 1.800.433.7327, or the Federal Student Aid website.

Loan Servicing Centers for Students Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS)

Phone: 800.848.0979
Fax: 800.848.0984
TDD/TTY: 800.848.0983
Overseas borrowers: 315.738.6634
Website: www.myfedloan.com
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

Department of Education Student Loan Servicing Center (ACS)

Phone: 800.508.1378
Fax: 315.738.2232
TDD/TTY: 800.662.1220 within New York State
TDD/TTY: 800.855.2880 outside New York State
Website: www.acs-education.com
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)

Phone: 800.699.2908
Fax: 717.720.1628
TDD/TTY: 800.722.8189
Overseas borrowers: 717.720.1985
Website: www.myfedloan.org
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.

Phone: 800.236.4300
TDD/TTY: 800.236.4300
Overseas borrowers: 608.246.1700
Website: www.mygreatlakes.org
Office Hours: 7 a.m. - 8:45 p.m. (CT), Monday through Thursday. 7 a.m. - 5:45 p.m. (CT), Friday.

MOHELA

Phone: 888.866.4352
TDD/TTY: 636.532.5189
Overseas borrowers: 888.866.4352
Website: www.mohela.com
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (CT), Monday through Thursday. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (CT), Friday.

Nelnet

Phone: 888.486.4722
Fax: 877.402.5816
TDD/TTY: 888.486.4722
Overseas borrowers: 303.696.3625
Website: www.nelnet.com
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

Sallie Mae

Phone: 800.722.1300
Fax: 866.266.0178 (within United States)
Fax: 570.706.8563 (outside United States)
TDD/TTY: 877.713.3833
Overseas borrowers: If toll-free (no cost per call) number cannot be accessed, use 317.806.0580 (cost per call)
Website: www.salliemae.com
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. (ET), Monday through Thursday. 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (ET), Friday.

Federal Student Loan Ombudsman

• A student loan ombudsman works with borrowers to resolve loan problems and disputes informally. The goal is to find creative alternatives for borrowers who need help with their federal student loans.
• If you have an issue you've been unable to resolve with your school, Federal loan holder, or guaranty agency, contact the guaranty agency ombudsman.
• If your guaranty agency does not have an ombudsman, if the agency ombudsman can't help you resolve your problem, or if you have a Federal Direct Student , contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman as follows:

studentaid.gov/repay-loans/disputes/prepare
877-557-2575
606-396-4821
FSA Ombudsman
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633

MLAS Students

MLAS students are subject to different loan limits and eligibility due to their status as graduate students.

 

MLAS students may only borrow up to the annual limit of $20,500 in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized student loan program for a single academic year.

The maximum total debt from Direct Loans that an MLA student may borrow is $138,500.

Important Eligibility Requirements for MLAS Students

Federal regulations state that a student must be AT LEAST half time to be eligible for Federal Direct Loans. According to Federal Regulations, "to be enrolled half time, a student must be taking at least half of the course load of a full-time student." At UNC Asheville, a full time Graduate schedule is at least 9 credit hours. Therefore, half of the 9 credit hour full-time course load would be rounded to 5 credit hours.

Even though the UNC Asheville's MLA program states that 3, 4 and 5 credits are half time, for purposes of Federal Direct Loans, all MLAS students must be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours to be eligible for Federal Direct Loans.