Loan Programs

Education loans generally must be repaid, with interest, but most have a long repayment period (at least 10 years), and usually, you do not have to begin repaying yours until you graduate or withdraw from school. Some education loans may have an option for loan forgiveness, which means part of the loan is forgiven based on work in selected fields, income or some other requirement.


Federal Loans

As the name suggests, these loans are made by the U.S. Department of Education. The first step in applying is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are eligible for a loan, your financial aid office will give you directions.

If you are a military member with questions about student loans, you may want to read this.

Talk with your aid office or read more about these loans at the links below.


Federal Direct Loans (Stafford)

Federal Direct Loans can be Direct Subsidized Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The difference is, that if you demonstrate financial need after completing the FAFSA, the federal government will pay interest on your Direct Subsidized Loan while you are in school at least half-time, in a grace period or a deferment period. Your school will use the results of your FAFSA to determine whether you may qualify for one or both of these loans and how much you may borrow.

  • Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
    • If you are a dependent student, your parents might want to look into a Federal Direct PLUS Loan as a way to help pay your college expenses.
    • If you are a graduate or professional student, you may consider Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans first and then a Direct PLUS Loan if you need more to help with college costs.

More Questions on New Federal Loans?

Federal Student Aid Information Center
Phone: (800) 4 FED AID [800-433-3243]
TDD: (800) 730-8913


Have a Loan with CFI?

Prior to July 2010, College Foundation, Inc. made federal loans. If you have an existing student or parent loan with CFI, information about your loan is available at the links below or by calling 866-866-CFNC or 800-722-2838 (repayment) or emailing


Alternative or Private Loans

Alternative, or private, loans for education are offered by both for-profit and not-for-profit lenders. These loans are not backed by the federal government. They should be used to supplement, not replace other financial aid.

Before you borrow an alternative loan:

  • First look for grants and scholarships
  • Then apply for federal loans
  • Then research alternative loans options
  • Make sure you understand the terms and conditions
    • Is the interest rate variable? (Later rate changes could mean higher monthly payments)
    • Are payments delayed while youíre in school? (If you can, making payments while in school will actually save you money. When you wait to start, the total amount you pay back will be higher because interest charges will accrue.)
    • Does it require a co-signer (another person who agrees to be legally responsible for paying your loan if you donít)?

If youíve considered it carefully Ė and donít borrow more than you really need -- an alternative loan can be a good option.


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