For Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

What you need to know about your federal student loan benefits

How to Apply for Student Loans

1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You must take 6 or more credits and be registered in a degree or certificate program, not owe a repayment on an over-award or be in default on Federal Direct Loans.

2. Review and complete the Steps to Receiving Loans packet for 2019 -20

Review the Steps to Receiving Loans packet and complete the "How much Should I Borrow?" worksheet, complete the Entrance Counseling requirement if you're a first time borrower, submit a Master Promissory Note (one time requirement every 10 years) and fill out, sign and submit the "Federal Direct Loan Request Form".

3. Next Steps

After you complete the above steps, CGCC will then begin the process to certify your loans and eligibility. Subsidized eligibility is always calculated prior to Unsubsidized. Subsidized is the least expensive loan option available. Your loan period is generally the current/next term for which you meet the loan application deadline through the end of the academic year. Exceptions may be considered on an individual basis with a written request.

An updated Award Letter will be issued reflecting loan awards by type and term. The net amount will be divided into term disbursements and applied to your student account.

To request a partial or full cancelation, submit a Direct Loan Revision Form to the Financial Aid Office within 14 days of funding applied to your student account.

REPAYMENT SUPPORT: We’ve teamed up with Solutions at ECMC to answer all of your student loan repayment questions. Solutions is a service of the non-profit organization ECMC and is dedicated to helping students manage educational loans. Their resources are available to you free of charge. To contact a Solutions Student Loan Repayment Advisor email or web chat or call them at 1-877-331-3262.


Federal Direct Loans

CGCC participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which offers student loans through the federal government.

When you accept an offered Federal Direct Loan at CGCC, you will borrow from the federal government and receive funds directly through CGCC.

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans help cover the cost of higher education, up to certain annual and aggregate limits, at participating four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and trade, career, and technical schools.

It is important that you carefully assess how much - or whether - you need to borrow since these loans must be repaid.

New Borrowers

First-time borrowers must wait 30 days for their first Federal Direct Loan disbursement. Your loan funds will be available as of the 31st day of the first term that you receive loans. Disbursement dates are listed on the Financial Aid Calendar.

Single Term Borrowers

Single-term borrowers must have their loans split into two equal disbursements. The first disbursement is scheduled for the beginning of the term (except first-time borrowers, see above) and the second disbursement is scheduled for the 50% point of the term. Disbursement dates are listed on the Financial Aid Calendar.

Maximum Annual Loan Amounts* at CGCC

  1st Year < 45 qualifying credits 2nd Year = or > 45 qualifying credits
Dependent $5,500 ($3500 may be Subsidized) $6,500 ($4500 may be Subsidized)
Independent $9,500 $10,500

* Courses taken as prerequisites for admittance into a program are eligible for loans-only for up to 12 months for a maximum of $2,625. All other loan eligibility requirements apply.

Subsidized Loan Limit

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “Maximum Eligibility Period.”  This information can be found in the college catalog.

If you are enrolled in a two-year associate's degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans is the equivalent of three years (150 percent of 2 years = 3 years).

Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.

Certain types of enrollment may cause you to become responsible for the interest that accrues on your Federal Direct Subsidized Loans when the U.S. Department of Education usually would have paid it. For more information, go to

Exit Counseling

When you graduate from CGCC, leave school, or cease to be enrolled at least half-time, you must complete a Web-based Exit Counseling session with important information about your loan obligations.

It is your responsibility to complete the session. Holds may be placed on your records, transcripts, and access to other services until the session is completed. CGCC will notify you when it’s time to complete the exit counseling session.

Exit Counseling Guide for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Federal Consolidation Loans

Federal Consolidation Loans allows you to consolidate (combine) multiple federal education loans into one loan. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments.

  • Interest rate: A fixed rate for the life of the loan based on a weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated.
  • Application Fees: None
  • Origination Fees: None
  • Prepayment Fees: None

As of July 1, 2010, all new consolidation loans are originated under the Direct Consolidation Loan program. Student borrowers can consolidate their qualifying federal education loans during grace, repayment, deferment or forbearance periods. Parent borrowers can consider consolidation at any time once each loan being included in the Consolidation loan has been fully disbursed.

Direct Consolidation Loan Application Processes

Department of Ed currently has two Direct Consolidation Loan application processes. Use the information below to determine which process you would use.

Direct Consolidation Loans Website

Use this process if one of the following applies to you:

  • You have one or more defaulted federal education loans that are assigned to ED for collection.
  • You need to take action on an application that you submitted via the Direct Consolidation Loans Website prior to, on or after January 2, 2014. Website

Use this process if one of the following applies to you:

  • You have no defaulted federal education loans.
  • You have one or more defaulted federal education loans, none of which are assigned to ED for collection.
  • You need to take action on an application that you submitted via on or after January 2, 2014.

Private Loans

Private loans are designed to meet the gap between the student’s financial aid package and the cost of attending college. These loans are offered by private lenders and have different terms and repayment options than the Federal Direct Loan programs. You should always consider federal student loans before using private lenders.

Compare the terms of the loans from several private lenders before choosing.

To apply for a private educational loan, you must provide all documentation requested by the lender and follow their application instructions. All private loan programs will do a credit check and/or an income-to-debt ratio check on either the borrower or co-signer or both.

Private loans are appropriate when:

  • You have applied for the maximum amount of all federal loans suggested to you and still have a difference between the cost of attendance and the total financial aid you have received.
  • You're ineligible for a federal loan. You may still qualify for a private loan because such programs are not bound by the same federal restrictions. For example, if you are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, are in default on a federal loan, did not respond to verification requests, are enrolled for less than 6 credits, or are ineligible for federal loans for other reasons, you may be eligible for private loans instead.
  • You owe a balance from a previous academic year. You may be able to receive a private loan for an earlier loan period.

Options and Restrictions

Some private loans do not have full deferment options. It is best to borrow only the amount that you absolutely require.

Private loans are for educational purposes only, which means you must be a registered student and the amount you borrow cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

There are no maximum income restrictions. Individual lenders will evaluate credit history. Application fees are not refundable.

Private Loan Self Certification Form

Note: Columbia Gorge Community College does not endorse or recommend any specific lender for Private Loans. Please make sure you do your research so that you can make the best decision for your education.

Federal Student Aid

Know Before You Owe (Private Loans 101)