A “loan” is a form of financial aid. It is money that you borrow, which must be repaid often with interest. The most common kinds of loans are:

  • Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan Program
  • Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students)
  • Alternative Loans

Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)

This loan program helps students meet the cost of a college education. The Federal Direct Loan Program allows students to borrow money directly from the federal government. Students who are matriculated in degree-granting programs and are registered for at least 6 credits per semester are eligible. Students must begin repayment within 6 months after graduation or termination of college attendance. There are a number of repayment plans available (for more information, please visit Federal Student Aid website. Federal regulations require the deduction of an origination fee from the face value of each loan.

Annual Loan Limits

 

Dependent Students (excluding students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS) Base Amount Sub/Unsub (no changes) Additional Unsubsidized Loan Amount Total
Loans first disbursed before July 1, 2008 Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018
1st year undergraduate $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
2nd year undergraduate $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
3rd year & beyond undergraduate $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

 

Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS) Base Amount Sub/Unsub (no changes) Additional Unsubsidized Loan Amount Total
Loans first disbursed before July 1, 2008 Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018
1st year undergraduate $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
2nd year undergraduate $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
3rd year & beyond undergraduate $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

 

For information on current interest rates, please visit the Interest Rates and Fees page.

Aggregate Loan Limits

Subsidized / Unsubsidized Aggregate
Current Effective July 1, 2008
Dependent Students (excluding students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS) $23,000 $31,000
(maximum 23,000 subsidized)
Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS) $46,000
(maximum $23,000 subsidized)
$57,500
(maximum 23,000 subsidized)

 

For information on current interest rates, please visit the Interest Rates and Fees page.

How To Apply

Please read these instructions carefully. Failure to follow these instructions may cause delays in the processing of your loan request. You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more) in order to be eligible for a Direct Loan.

In order to secure a direct loan, there are four steps. All of these steps must be completed in order for a loan to be processed successfully.

  1. Complete the FAFSA- The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application for federal student assistance. You can apply before you have been admitted to CUNY starting October 1 prior to the academic year you plan on attending. Apply online by going to FAFSA website. In order to file a FAFSA, you will need to have a FSA ID. If you do not currently have a FSA ID, you can obtain one by creating a new FSA ID. School code — 004765. You must file a new FAFSA for each academic year that you would like to be considered for federal aid.
  2. Complete the direct loan application on CUNY First.
  3. Complete entrance counseling (for first-time borrowers) Those who are first-time borrowers or who borrowed more than five years ago must complete entrance counseling at StudentLoans.gov website.
    • Sign on to Student Loans website and click on Student Loan Borrowers, then click on Complete Online Counseling.
    • First-time Grad PLUS borrowers must complete graduate entrance counseling, before loan proceeds will be disbursed.
    • Read all the loan information page by page.
    • Take the quiz (applicants must pass).
  4. Sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) Once the loan request has been processed, applicants will receive a letter of instruction regarding:
    • how to sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. See the Student Loans website. Signing online will shorten the time required to get the loan funds to applicants;
    • the processed loan amounts; and
    • the anticipated disbursement dates.

    If students do not sign their MPN online using their FSA ID, they will receive a paper MPN in the mail. Students must complete the reference section, sign and date the MPN, and send in the MPN for the processing of their loan to be completed. Grad PLUS borrowers are required to sign an additional MPN.

    Once the MPN is returned, students will receive Disclosure Notices which will indicate the approved gross loan amount(s), fees, net loan amounts, and anticipated disbursement dates. All loans are disbursed in at least two disbursements.

    Students will be notified by email when their checks are available. Checks will be mailed or direct deposited. Direct deposit is highly recommended (to ensure that mailed checks are received, mailing addresses must be updated in CUNYfirst). Students can sign up for direct deposit via CUNYfirst. For more information, please visit the Financial Aid and Tuition Refunds page.

    Those who have a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file with the Federal Government are no longer required to complete a new promissory note for each new loan. Notes expire after ten years; when this happens you must sign a new MPN. However, previous borrowers will still receive disclosure notices listing the amounts of their loan(s) and the anticipated disbursement dates.

Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students)

This educational loan enables parents of dependent undergraduate matriculated students to borrow money in order to pay for their child’s education. Parents are limited in the amount that they can borrow by the cost of their child’s education minus any other financial aid that the student is receiving. The cost of education includes school related expenses as determined by The City University of New York (CUNY). A credit check is performed. If the parent loan is denied, it is possible for a dependent student to borrow additional unsubsidized loans in their own name. There is an origination fee that will be deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.

For information on current interest rates, please visit the Interest Rates and Fees page.

Alternative Loans

If your student status is:

  • Non-matriculated
  • International Student
  • Have reached the federal student aggregate limits

You may be eligible for alternative loans.

Once you select a lender, you must complete a Master Promissory Note with that lender and contact the Financial Aid Office at 212-817-7460 for further instructions.

The choice of a lender is ultimately your decision. Here are some things to consider as you seek possible lenders for alternative loans:

  • Interest rate of the loan
  • Repayment schedule and monthly amounts
  • Length of repayment period
  • Total amount you will repay over the life of the loan
  • Penalties for missing monthly payments
  • Options for loan consolidation

For information on private education loan programs, please visit the Private Education Loan Programs page.

Please know that the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies neither endorses nor recommends any lender.