CUNY participates in the Direct Loan Program where students borrow directly from the federal government. Just like any other loan, these loans must be repaid with interest.
Application: Federal aid, awarded directly through the Office of Financial Aid in accordance with requirements established by federal law, requires applicants to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), utilizing the federal school code for the Graduate Center - 004765. To complete the form online, applicants should go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Students who apply by the priority deadline for federal aid (April 30) are considered for Federal Work-Study positions and/or Federal Perkins Loans if they check yes to the question on the FAFSA. Students who wish to apply for Federal Direct Loans must submit, in addition to the FAFSA, a Direct Loan Request Form to the Office of Financial Aid. Federal Direct Loans are not packaged and are processed only upon a student's request. For more information about the application process, please vist our page on Applying for Aid.
Verification: Students who submit a FAFSA may be required to verify the data that they included on the application. In such cases, students will have to submit the appropriate signed federal tax return, complete with all supporting schedules as well as a Verification Worksheet. Students who are selected for verification will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid. This process must be completed before your federal financial aid application can be reviewed.
There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans: the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan and the Federal Grad Plus Loan. The interest rates for 2014–2015 are 5.41 percent for the Unsubsidized Loan and 6.41 percent for Grad Plus Loans.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are not based on financial need. Loan amounts vary depending on the cost of the student's attendance, less other financial aid. The maximum for the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is $20,500 for the academic year. Students must be registered for a minimum of 6 credits to be considered for the loan. Repayment of interest begins immediately or can be capitalized (i.e., added to the loan principal) at the student's option. Repayment of loan principal begins six months after the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates.
The Federal Grad Plus Loan is a credit-based loan. Graduate and professional students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance, less financial aid. Students must first apply for the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan before they can be considered for the Grad Plus Loan. There is no grace period on Federal Grad Plus Loans and repayment begins within thirty days of your anticipated final disbursement. Students are eligible for an In-School Deferment if the student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in school and the loan has been full disbursed. Note: If interest is deferred while in school, repayment begins sixty days after school is completed or the student drops below half-time (6 credits) status.
To apply for either of the two loans, a Direct Loan Request Form must be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office. A pre-loan entrance interview is required for first-time borrowers of an Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. Graduate Plus borrowers must also complete a Grad Plus (Unsub/Plus) entrance interview at www.studentloans.gov before loan proceeds will be disbursed. In addition, first-time borrowers must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan. MPNs are signed online using a Federal PIN number. An exit interview is also required when the student no longer registers at least half-time (6 credits), withdraws, or graduates. All loan borrowers who drop below half-time (less than 6 credits), take a leave of absence, withdraw, or are about to graduate must complete an exit interview online (www.nslds.ed.gov) or contact the Financial Aid Office to schedule a personal appointment.
Federal Work-Study awards are based solely on financial need as defined by federal law. Federal Work-Study awards are packaged each spring for the following academic year. Because Federal Work-Study funds are limited, only students who have their FAFSA on file by the priority deadline (April 30) are initially considered for awards. Federal Work-Study positions are assigned by the Executive Officer.
Federal Perkins Loan awards are based solely on financial need as defined by federal law. The amount of the award will vary depending on the student's need and the availability of funds to a maximum of $8,000 for the academic year. Federal Perkins Loans are packaged each spring for the following academic year. Because Federal Perkins Loan funds are limited, only students who have their FAFSA on file by the priority deadline (April 30) are initially considered for awards. The Federal Perkins Loan carries a 5 percent interest rate. No interest accrues while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins nine months after the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates. The program offers deferment privileges and some cancellation benefits for borrowers who enter certain public service careers and the teaching profession. The Graduate Center acts as lender of the Perkins Loan on behalf of the federal government, and the student repays the loan to the Graduate Center upon leaving. A pre-loan interview is required annually prior to loan disbursement. (See Perkins Loan Entrance Letter [pdf].) An exit interview is required when the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates.