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Carl Sandburg College participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. To receive a loan, students must first complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receive notification from Sandburg that a student loan(s) has been awarded.


Committee Review

Carl Sandburg College evaluates all requests for loans on a case-by-case basis as authorized under 34 CFR 685.301(a)(7) of the Higher Education Act. Federal regulations allow an institution to refuse to certify a student loan or certify a loan amount that is less than the student’s determination of need. Students will be notified in writing of the decision. Each loan request will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee to determine if borrowing is prudent. Items considered include but are not limited to: previous educational debt, educational debt to educational goals, progress toward degree completion, etc. Students may be approved for less than the federal maximum by term or year as specified by the committee. 


Federal Direct Stafford Loan

  •  This is a low-interest educational loan offered by the federal government to help students pay educational costs. THIS MONEY MUST BE REPAID.
  •  Repayment begins six months after graduation or when the student drops below half time enrollment.
  • The federal government withholds an origination fee of 0.5 percent when the loan is made.
  • A freshman (based on hours in the academic program) may borrow up to $3,500 per academic year and a sophomore up to $4,500. 
  • Loan funds are disbursed 30 days after the first day of each semester.
  • Sandburg estimates loan eligibility on the award notification based on anticipated enrollment. Student loans are certified after the student has enrolled and is based on the enrolled credit hours.  The final calculation is made at the time of disbursement. 

o   Minimum enrollment for loan disbursement is half time (six credit hours) per semester.

o   Only courses required for the student’s program of study count for enrollment purposes.


Federal Student Loans Interest Rate

The interest rate will be determined each June for new loans made for the upcoming award year. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. To find out the current interest rate, please go to

First-time borrowers at Sandburg must complete loan counseling prior to the first disbursement of their loan.


Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan

This loan is based on financial need so not everyone will qualify. The government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time.


Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan

This program is available to students who do not qualify for need-based loans or who do not qualify for the maximum loan limits under the Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan. The borrower is responsible for all interest that occurs during any enrollment, grace, deferment or forbearance period. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to be added to the principal amount of the loan.


Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Plus)

Parents may also borrow to help students meet educational costs.  For more information, choose the PLUS loan link on the left-hand side of this page or go directly to the student loan website Parent Plus Loan Information.