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Financial Aid

Federal Direct Loans for Students

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans provided by the federal government that can help you pay your college expenses.

There are two types of federal Direct Loans for students:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: You must have financial need to qualify for subsidized loans.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Financial need is not necessary to qualify for these loans.
  • New loans disbursed between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 have a fixed interest rate of 5.05%.

Both types also have a loan fee that’s 1.062 percent of the total loan amount.

There are two key questions you should consider before taking out a loan:

  • What will my monthly payments be when I start repaying the loan?
  • How long will it take me to repay the loan?

To help you answer these questions, the federal government provides repayment estimators that let you look at costs and schedules under various payment plans.

Annual & Lifetime Federal Direct Loan Limits

The federal Direct Loan programs carry both annual and cumulative (lifetime) limits. These limits are based on your grade (class) level and your dependency status as determined by your FAFSA.

Annual Limits

Subsidized + Unsubsidized
Dependent Freshman* $5,500 $3,500
Dependent Sophomore** $6,500 $4,500
Independent Freshman* $9,500 $3,500
Independent Sophomore** $10,500 $4,500

* Students with less than 31 earned hours are considered to be a Freshman.
** Students with 31 or more earned hours are considered to be a Sophomore.

Lifetime Limits

Subsidized + Unsubsidized
Undergraduate $31,000 $23,000
Independent Undergraduate $57,500 $23,000

What happens if I reach my lifetime limit?

If you reach your lifetime loan limit, you cannot receive any more Federal Direct student loans. Therefore it is to your advantage to borrow only what you need for educational expenses, and to keep track of your cumulative debt.

You can look up your loan history online using the National Student Loan Data System.

How to Apply

To apply for a Direct Loan for students, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. If the financial aid award letter you receive from WCC includes an offered loan amount and you wish to apply, visit MyWCC in the WCC Gateway to begin the loan process. Click on Financial Aid, then Award Information, then View/Accept your awards. If you’re a first-time borrower at WCC, you’ll be directed to a list of open Entrance (Loan) Counseling sessions. You must complete one of these sessions, which will walk you through the Direct Loan process and explain your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, before you can accept your loan.
  3. Register for at least six credit hours in a program that’s eligible for financial aid.
  4. Watch your WCC email. The Financial Aid office will send you information about your loan after your application is processed.

Your financial aid award letter will list the amount of loan money for which you qualify. If you don’t need this much to pay your expenses, you can borrow a smaller amount.

For More Information

More information about Direct Loans for students is available at the Federal Student Aid website.

Check Your Aid

To check the status of your financial aid, log into the WCC Gateway, click on MyWCC, Financial Aid, Award Information, and then click on Check Your Financial Aid Status.

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Contact Financial Aid

To contact WCC’s Financial Aid office, you can:

  • Visit the office on the second floor of the Student Center building
  • Call 734-973-3523
  • Send a fax to 734-677-5281
  • Send an email to

The office’s normal hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 7:00pm, Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.


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