Grants and Loans - Federal Direct Loan Information

Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay the cost of a student's education after high school. Direct Loans allow you to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. You will have a single contact with the Direct Loan Servicing Center to assist in managing your student loans. These loans offer fixed interest rates that are typically lower than the variable rates offered by most private student loans. There are also a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.

Eligibility is determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) and enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program.

What kinds of Direct Loans are available?

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by the federal regulations. No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time, as well as during your grace period and during deferment periods.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need; interest is charge during all periods.
  • Direct PLUS Loans are low-interest loans available to parents of dependent students. Interest is charged during all periods. PLUS Loans are limited to the student's cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Credit approval is required.
  • Multiple Disbursements are issued if you request for two or more quarters. The loan disbursements will be divided equally among the requested quarters.

Please check the Federal Student Aid website for current annual loan interest rates and loan fees. (

Annual Maximum Loan Limits

Direct Loans have annual maximum loan amounts based on grade level and dependency status. You must have completed 45 college level credits towards your program of study to be considered a second-year student. Base loan amounts can be subsidized or unsubsidized depending upon eligibility.

Dependent Student
(Base) Amount
1st Year $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
2nd Year $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Independent Student
1st Year $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
2nd Year $4,500 $6,000 $10,500

Apply for Direct Stafford Loans:

  • Step 1 - Complete all required application materials.
  • Step 2 - ALL students must complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online at
    • Sign in to "Manage My Direct Loan" (Use your FAFSA PIN to sign in.).
    • Complete Entrance Counseling.
  • Step 3 - ALL students must complete the electronic Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at
    • Sign in to "Manage My Direct Loan" (Use your FAFSA PIN to sign in.).
    • Complete MPN for student loans.
School Code 005000

Student Account Inquiries
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Pierce College School Code
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Office Hours

M-Th: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.