Understanding student loans

Student loans are borrowed money to help pay for college. Just like car loans and mortgages, you have to repay a student loan after you leave college (even if you don’t have a lot of money or you don’t complete your program).

Loans through the federal government include Direct Student and Parent PLUS loans, and eligibility is based on your FAFSA. Private education loans are loans that companies provide. These loans are generally pricier in the long run than federal education loans, so we recommend you take federal education loans first!

Your federal student loan information is available in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Federal regulations require that information regarding your federal loans, including amounts be submitted to the NSLDS and made accessible to guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system. You can access your NSLDS information with your FSA ID.

Always apply for federal and state grants and college and private or community scholarships before considering a student loan. Once you've exhausted these alternatives, federal student loans may be an appropriate solution to help with your expenses. Although you must repay a student loan, it’s considered a form of financial aid because it provides the funds necessary to pay for college expenses, and you will have to maintain your eligibility.

Learn more about federal student loans, such as annual and lifetime loan limits, fees and interest rates, and repayment terms and conditions.

Federal Direct Student loans

The U.S. Department of Education provides Direct Student Loans (also called Direct Stafford Loans or William D. Ford Direct Loans) to eligible college students based on financial need and other specific eligibility requirements. There are two types of Direct Loans. You will learn more about each type during entrance counseling.

  • Subsidized loans: The federal government pays the interest on this loan while you are enrolled at least half-time in 6 credit hours. A new federal regulation affecting new borrowers limits the time period during which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans to 150% of the standard length of the program in which you are enrolled. For a two year associate degree program, the maximum period a new borrower can receive subsidized loans is three years (150% of two years = three years). 
  • Unsubsidized loans: You are responsible to pay the interest from the date your loan funds are disbursed until it is paid in full. You may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan or allow it to be capitalized (added to the loan principal) until you start repayment after you cease enrollment.  Whenever possible, we recommend that you pay the interest as it is assessed to minimize your total cost of borrowing. Learn more about federal student loans, such as annual and lifetime loan limits, fees and interest rates, and repayment terms and conditions.

How to apply

  1. Complete the annual FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If your application is selected for verification, you must complete that process before you will receive your JCC financial aid award notification of the kind and amount of Direct Loan you can apply for.
  2. If you are a first-time borrower, complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and entrance counseling for undergraduate students at As you complete these online requirements, list Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, NY regardless of the campus you attend. Previous Direct Loan borrowers should select View Completed Counseling and ensure Jamestown Community College is listed under School(s) Notified. If not, use Notify Additional School - Select School to add JCC. We must receive electronic confirmation of your entrance counseling before we can process your loan.
  3. To accept a loan that was offered to you in your JCC financial aid award notification letter, print the loan acceptance form via your Banner account. Sign in to Banner, click on Financial Aid, select 2. Your Eligibility Requirements, choose the appropriate aid year, and click the Direct Stafford Loan form link. If you do not have the link, please refer to your award notification letter for further information.
  4. Loans are typically processed for the full academic year, with half disbursing in the fall semester and the remaining half disbursing in the spring semester. Students graduating at the end of the fall semester are subject to proration which may affect the amount of loan you can borrow. Please refer to your entrance counseling for more information.
  5. JCC will send you confirmation when your loan has been approved, or an explanation if your request is denied. You will receive truth-in-lending and disclosure information from your Direct Loan servicer after funds are disbursed.
  6. Please notify your Direct Loan servicer and JCC of any changes to your name or address.

Do I need a student loan?

The JCC Direct Student Loan Request form will help you determine how much to borrow. Borrowing for college is an important decision in planning for your future. A student loan can be a very powerful tool to help you reach your educational goals; however, it will become a permanent part of your personal financial record and MUST be repaid. We encourage you to first consider all other available resources and caution you to be a conservative borrower. You can read more about the Direct Student Loan program in Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid available online at

I completed the FAFSA, why do I need to submit the JCC Direct Student Loan Request form?

One of the benefits of attending our community college is that you can receive an affordable and outstanding education. Completing the loan request form will help you determine your actual borrowing needs, and in turn can help reduce your overall level of debt, preserve your lifetime loan eligibility for future educational needs, and help prevent difficulties in meeting your minimum repayment obligations. Consider this element of financial literacy as an important part of your education.

Am I eligible for a loan?

  • Not all students are eligible to receive a Direct Student Loan. It is the institution’s responsibility to carefully monitor each student’s financial needs and academic eligibility. Federal regulations require that we use information from your federal Student Aid Report, your student loan request form, and institutional records to confirm your eligibility for a student loan. You must meet federal student aid requirements, be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of coursework required for your degree program, attend those classes, and be in good academic standing.
  • Any change in your level of enrollment, attendance, or academic standing after your loan is approved will cause a delay while your record is reviewed and may result in reduced loan eligibility.
  • In some instances, the loan amount requested may be reduced because federal regulations prohibit colleges from approving, or disbursing, a loan for more than a student is eligible to receive. 

How will I receive my loan money?

  • Loans you are authorized to receive will be temporarily applied to your student bill until your funds are actually received. During the first three weeks of the semester, students with a refund due to pending loan disbursements can charge their textbooks at the college bookstore.
  • When the funds are credited to your account, you will be notified via your official JCC student e-mail account, instructing you to view your bill on Banner. Loans approved after a scheduled disbursement date will disburse within two weeks.
  • Federal regulations do not allow first time freshman borrowers to receive loan proceeds until 30 days after classes begin.
  • After your loan funds are received and applied to your student bill, the business office will issue any refund in excess of student charges within 14 days via US mail. 

What else should I do?

  • Monitor your loans at the National Student Loan Data System.
  • Watch your mail and respond to any further requests for information or action on your part.
  • Maintain a filing system at home to keep track of your loan documents. You’ll need this information later when it’s time to repay your loan.
  • Notify your lender of any changes to your name or address, or enrollment status (such as dropping below 6 credit hours), or if you withdraw from college.
  • Complete exit counseling at when you reduce your enrollment to less than half-time (6 credit hours), or when you graduate or withdraw from JCC.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans

A parent borrowing on behalf of a JCC student has access to Federal Parent PLUS loans from the U.S. Department of Education’s William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. PLUS loans can help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.

How to apply

  1. Complete your student's annual FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Federal regulations require the college to verify that the student who will benefit from your PLUS loan is eligible to receive Title IV federal financial aid. The FAFSA Student Aid Report is required to confirm that your child meets student eligibility criteria.
  2. If your student's FAFSA is selected for verification, that process must completed before a JCC financial aid award notification letter can be issued with the kind and amount of aid your child is eligible to receive.  We recommend you wait to receive the award notification so that you can make informed decisions about your PLUS loan needs.
  3. For an overview of PLUS loans, including current interest rate and origination fee information, see
  4. Either a biological or adoptive parent (or a step-parent listed on the FAFSA) can apply for a PLUS loan for a dependent child enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. Parent borrowers must have a good credit history, not be in default on a federal student loan, or owe a refund on any federal grant money. In addition, you and your child must be US citizens or eligible noncitizens and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the federal student aid programs.
  5. Apply for a Direct Parent PLUS loan online at Typically loans are taken out for the entire academic year, with half disbursed in the fall semester and the remaining half in the spring semester. Loans for summer study are a separate request. The student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits per semester for PLUS loan eligibility. The yearly limit on a PLUS loan is equal to the student’s cost of attendance less other financial aid received. 
  6. During the online application process, you may also need to sign the Master Promissory Note. You must sign this binding legal document to borrow a PLUS loan. Typically the MPN is valid for 10 years, so if you previously borrowed a Direct PLUS Loan for this student, you may not need to sign a new one. Terms and conditions for the Parent PLUS loan are established by Congress and outlined in your master promissory note. For questions and additional information, view your account at You can cancel your loan after signing your MPN by notifying our office.
  7. PLUS loan counseling is a new requirement for some PLUS loan borrowers, effective March 29, 2015. If you have an adverse credit history but are eligible to borrow a PLUS loan because of satisfactorily meeting the extenuating circumstances provision or obtaining an endorser, you will be required to complete PLUS loan counseling. The parent borrower must complete via This is a Department of Education requirement and you will be notified by them. JCC will be unable to process the PLUS loan until this credit requirement is met. It must be done in one sitting and cannot be saved to complete at a later time. Other PLUS loan borrowers may voluntarily complete the counseling. 
  8. JCC will receive electronic confirmation of your loan application status and will notify you via U.S. mail of your final loan approval.
  9. The Department of Education will assign your loan to a servicer who will work with you on repayment plans.

How will I receive this money?

After approval, loan funds will be temporarily applied to your student's college bill. Funds will be disbursed and applied toward your student’s bill in two equal installments, one at the beginning of the loan term and one at the midpoint of the loan term (typically the beginning of each semester). Your student can view his/her student account at  You will be notified in writing when the college receives your loan funds, after classes begin. After funds are received, the JCC business office will issue any refund in excess of student charges within 14 days via U.S. mail. This refund will be issued in the name of the parent borrower unless otherwise indicated on the online application.

What if I’m denied?

If your loan is denied due to adverse credit, you will receive further instructions from the Department of Education. You may choose to rehabilitate your credit standing or re-apply with an endorser (co-signer). Your student may be eligible for up to $4,000 additional unsubsidized Stafford loan funds if your PLUS loan is denied.

Private education loans

Private education loans, also known as alternative education loans, are loans offered by private lenders. These loans can help cover costs not provided by scholarships, grants, and federal loans. We recommend that you check with Financial Aid to confirm that you have received all available federal, state, and institutional funds before pursuing private educational loans.

Some students may not be financially or academically eligible to receive the benefit of federal, state, or institutional grants and loans, or may have educational expenses that exceed available sources of financial aid. A private or alternative education loan may be an option to consider for college funding. These loans should only be pursued after all other financial aid resources have been exhausted. Unlike federal loans, private loans can have different lenders and variable (often higher) interest rates, fees, and other additional costs. JCC does not support, endorse, or otherwise recommend any private loan providers or products. Read the fine print!

JCC cautions all students to be conservative in their borrowing and to thoroughly research and learn the borrower’s rights and responsibilities prior to applying for any loan. Eligibility is generally based on income and credit history and most students are required to have a cosigner. For more information on the differences between the Federal Student Loan programs and private education loans, visit the Department of Education’s Federal Aid First web site. Check out the private education loan section on FinAid: The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid that provides helpful information about loan comparison services and charts that may be useful if you are considering a private education loan.

The College does, upon student request, certify student eligibility for private alternative loans. Since these loans may be issued by various lending institutions, the College abides by the Code of Conduct for Processing Student Loans to ensure that its employees avoid conflicts of interest, or the perception thereof, in connection with their responsibilities relating to providing and administering student loans.

Before committing to a private loan, ask these questions:

  • What is the interest rate, is it fixed or variable, and is there an interest-rate cap?
  • What are the borrowing limits?
  • How long is the grace period? What are the deferment options both during and after school? 
  • What are the additional fees?
  • Does the loan offer penalty-free pre-payments?

A lender must obtain a self-certification form (also available from most lenders) signed by the applicant before disbursing a private education loan. The school is required to provide this form or the required information for students admitted or enrolled at the school.

Code of conduct

Code of conduct for processing student loan applications

JCC does not provide a preferred lender list for private education loans. The College does, upon student request, certify student eligibility for private alternative loans. Since these loans may be issued by various lending institutions, the College abides by the following Code of Conduct for Processing Student Loans to ensure that its employees avoid conflicts of interest, or the perception thereof, in connection with their responsibilities relating to providing and administering student loans.

  1. Jamestown Community College (JCC) does not enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
  2. No officer or employee of JCC who works in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, will solicit, or accept any gift or other thing of value from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. Certain items provided or contributed by lenders are not considered gifts, such as training materials or philanthropic contributions unrelated to education loans.
  3. No officer or employee of JCC who works in financial aid office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, will accept from any lender any fee, payment or other financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender.
  4. JCC will not select, assign or refer a student to a particular lender or refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender.
  5. JCC will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the campus providing concessions or promises to the lender.
  6. JCC does not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
  7. No officer or employee of JCC who works in the financial aid office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender or guarantor, will receive anything of value for such service.
student on computer at table
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