Student Loan Basics

What you should know before applying for a student loan

Federal Direct Student Loans

Borrow Wisely: Only Borrow What You Need for Educational Expenses.

These funds must be repaid to the federal government. Funding for federal student loans comes directly from the US Department of Education. To apply, you must fill out the FAFSA online at Direct loans must be used for educational expenses only. Students must be registered in and maintain at least 6 credit hours in their program of study. Students failing to maintain this enrollment status will lose in-school status deferment and may be ineligible for future loan disbursements for the semester or academic year. There are 2 types of Federal Direct Student Loans: 

  • Subsidized - Subsidized loans are interest free until the end of your 6-month grace period. Eligibility is based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
  • Unsubsidized - Unsubsidized loans are not interest free. Interest starts to accrue as soon as the loan is disbursed. Eligibility is not need-based, but a completed FAFSA is required. 

Student loans are not unlimited; the following are the aggregate undergraduate student loan limits:

Dependent student - $31,000 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized)

Independent students and students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS - $57,500 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized)

Students needing to access loan funds should always accept the subsidized loan funds first and understand the terms and conditions of the loan, the interest rate, and overall debt accrued to date. 

Interest Rate for New Direct Loans                                         2022-2023                 2023-2024
  • Direct Subsidized Loan and Direct Unsubsidized Loan                        4.99%                                 5.50%
  • Direct Plus (Parent Loan)                                                                    7.54%                                 8.05% 


You have access to view how much you have borrowed in student loans, the school(s) you attended when you borrowed, interest rates, current loan status and loan servicer information by logging into your account.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The MPN is a legal document that explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). When signing the MPN you are promising to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees. The MPN must be completed to take out a Direct Loan and can be completed online at

Entrance Counseling

If you have not previously received a student loan, you must complete Entrance Counseling before the school can disburse your loan. The Entrance Counseling can be completed online at and will help you to understand your responsibilities as a student loan borrower. 

Exit Counseling

Direct Student Loan borrowers are required to complete exit counseling when graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below half-time (6 credit hours). Exit counseling is required by law and provides students with important information as they prepare to repay their federal student loans. Students graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below half-time at SUNY Corning Community College are required to complete exit counseling at, which provides basic information borrowers need to know to successfully repay their loans. 

SUNY CCC partners with Inceptia to help student loan borrowers understand their loan obligations and repayment options

You're not alone when it comes to students loans. SUNY Corning Community College has partnered with Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), to provide you with FREE assistance on your Federal student loan obligations to ensure successful and comfortable loan repayment. Inceptia's friendly customer representatives may reach out to you during your grace period to answer questions you have about your loan obligation and/or repayment options. They may also contact you if your loan(s) become delinquent. Inceptia is not a collection agency. We've partnered with them to help you explore a wide variety of possibilities such as alternative repayment plans, deferment, consolidation, discharge, forgiveness, and forbearance options. Inceptia will stay in touch with you via phone calls, letters, and/or emails to help you find answers to your questions and solutions to your issues. 

Loan in repayment?  Changes due to CARES Act

A:  The CARES Act provides relief for federal student loan borrowers whose loans are owned by the U.S. Department of Education.  For details about how the CARES Act impacts federal student loan repayment, defaulted loans, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, read the latest update from Federal Student Aid here:
A:  The CARES Act provides an Administrative Forbearance due to National Emergency on all federal student loans. This means you are not required to make your federal student loan payments during the Administrative Forbearance. The Administrative Forbearance was applied automatically by federal student loan servicers, students do NOT need to contact their loan servicer to request the forbearance.  The forbearance began on March 13, 2020 ending on September 30, 2023.
A:  If your federal student loan was delinquent at the time the CARES Act was signed, your loan was brought to a “Current” status and the administrative forbearance is applied, suspending all required payments until September 30, 2023.

A: If your federal student loan was in default at the time the CARES Act was signed, you can expect the following:

●       Federal tax returns will not be withheld between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2022

●       Administrative wage garnishment will be suspended between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2023

●       No collection calls, letters or billing statements from Department contracted collection agencies

A:  Rehabilitation payments are suspended due to the administrative forbearance; however, the suspended payments count toward rehabilitation.

A:  Yes, any payment made during the administrative forbearance period of March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2023 is eligible for a refund.  Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to request a refund of a payment made during the forbearance period.

A:  Yes, borrowers can choose to make payments in any amount at any time during the administrative forbearance.

A:  Administrative forbearance will expire on September 30, 2023 so borrowers will begin “Repayment” status in October 2023. Borrowers will be contacted to remind them of the forbearance end date and will also be sent a billing statement notifying them of their upcoming payment due.

A:  During the administrative forbearance auto-debit payments are suspended. Once the forbearance ends on September 30, 2023 the loan will enter “repayment” status and the auto-debit will automatically resume. Borrowers can continue making manual payments through their online account during the forbearance period or can contact their servicer at any time prior to September 30, 2023 to opt out of the forbearance and have their auto-debit payments resume.

A:  Yes, borrowers will not be penalized by the administrative forbearance. The time in the administrative forbearance will count as borrowers were making full, on-time monthly payments.

A:  No. The Department of Education does not have any legal authority over private student loans. Borrowers are encouraged to reach out to their private student loan lender to see if they are offering any benefits during this time.