Federal Aid: Undergrad

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is awarded to first-time Bachelor’s degree seeking students with financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Need must be assessed each year of enrollment using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The amount a student receives can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $5,730 for the 2014-15 award year. The amount a student will receive is determined by financial need,cost of attendance,andenrollment status. 

Federal Direct Stafford Loans        

The Federal Direct Stafford Loan enables students who are enrolled at least half-time and degree seeking to borrow low-interest loans.  Payment on these loans begins six months after graduation or after a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The FAFSA  (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is required for all students wishing to receive a Federal loan.

The Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling are required documents that must be completed prior to loans being received.  Students can complete both documents at www.studentloans.gov.

 

There are two types of Federal Direct Stafford Loans:

Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan

The Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan is a loan for students with financial need, as determined by theFAFSA, student enrollment and other financial aid (grants, scholarships, etc.) a student may receive.  The interest rate does not accrue while the student is enrolled at least half-time.  There is a six-month grace period after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time before repayment on the loan begins.

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loan is a low interest loan for students regardless of their need.  The interest rate does accrue while the student is enrolled in school.  The student must be enrolled in at least part-time (6 hours or more).  There is a six-month grace period after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time before repayment on the loan begins.

 

There are also limits on how much a student may borrow in Stafford Loans each year.  Below are the limits for both Dependent and Independent students.

Year in School

Subsidized

Unsubsidized

Totals

 

Dependent Student

 

 

Freshman (0-23 hours earned)

$ 3,500

$ 2,000

Up to $ 5,500 a year

Sophomore (24-55 hours earned)

Junior (56-89 hours earned)

Senior (90+ hours earned)

$ 4,500

$ 5,500

$ 5,500

$ 2,000

$ 2,000

$ 2,000

Up to $ 6,500 a year

Up to $ 7,500 a year

Up to $ 7,500 a year

 

Independent Student

 

 

Freshman (0-23 hours earned)

$ 3,500

$ 6,000

Up to $ 9,500 a year

Sophomore (24-55 hours earned)

$ 4,500

$ 6,000

Up to $10,500 a year

Junior (56-89 hours earned

$ 5,500

$ 7,000

Up to $12,500 a year

Senior (90+ hours earned)

$ 5,500

$ 7,000

Up to $12,500 a year

 

 

 

 

 *Loans cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance as determined by Columbia College each academic year.

 

Aggregate Undergraduate Loan Limits

The lifetime loan limit for a dependent undergraduate student is $31,000 (only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans).  The lifetime loan limit for an independent undergraduate student is $57,500 (only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans).  Students may view their loan history and aggregate totals at National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

 

Changing Loan Amounts

You are encouraged to only borrow the funds needed to pursue your education.  If the loan approval is more than you desire, you may reduce the amount by returning your award letter to the Office of Financial Aid declining some or a portion of the loan.  You may also email your Financial Aid Counselor with the request.  All loan reductions should be submitted in writing.  Should you have further questions you may contact the Office of Financial Aid at 803.786.3612 or via email at FA@nullcolumbiasc.edu.