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.

ALL FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOANS must be repaid to the federal government.

Required Disclosure Information for Borrowers
In accordance with HEOA 489 Amended HEA Sec. 485B, Columbia College Chicago is required to disclose to all borrowers that any loan borrowed by a student or eligible parent will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). The information reported to NSLDS will be accessible by guarantee agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.

Borrowers may review their NSLDS history and information at any time at

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.