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Finanical Aid Office at Lehman College

Federal Direct Loan     

Borrowing Smart for College

Borrowing Smart for CollegeIt's a fact: Most CUNY students graduate debt free, thanks to scholarships, financial aid and a tuition plan that ranks among the top in the nation for affordability. But some students may need to borrow to make it through their college career. Are you unsure how much money you'll need or what loan options are best for your CUNY education? This video has all the answers. MORE»         


Loans are funds that must be paid back within a specified period of time after the student graduates or leaves college for any reason. Loans provide students and their families with flexibility because the money may be used for tuition as well as other expenses associated with college attendance. In addition, student loans usually carry lower interest charges than the standard commercial rates.

Just like any other loan, student loans must be repaid with interest. After you graduate you will be required to repay what you have borrowed. If you fail to meet the terms of the loan with regard to repayment it will impact on your ability to borrow for a car, a home and other purchases in your future. If you have any questions about the repayment terms of a loan you should not sign the promissory note until your questions are answered.

If you find that you will need to borrow money to pay for some of the costs of your college education, there are federal loans available to you. CUNY participates in the Direct Loan Program where students borrow directly from the federal government. If you have financial need you may be eligible for a subsidized Direct Loan , where there is no interest charged to you as long as you maintain at least half-time (6 credits) enrollment in school.

Interest Rates

All Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2006 have a fixed interest rate.

All Direct Subsidized Loans for UNDERGRADUATE borrowers have a fixed interest rate that will be based on the first disbursement date as listed in the table below:

Interest Rate Types and Date of Loan
3.76% Subsidized AND Unsubsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2016 and prior to July 1, 2017
4.45% Subsidized AND Unsubsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017 and prior to July 1, 2018

Unsubsidized Loans for both undergraduate and graduate students disbursed July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2013 have an interest rate of 6.8%.

Unsubsidized Loans for GRADUATE students disbursed July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 have an interest rate of 6.00%

Unsubsidized Loans for GRADUATE students disbursed July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 have an interest rate of 5.31%.

All Direct PLUS (Parent PLUS and GradPLUS) Loans disbursed July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 have a fixed interest rate of 7.00%

All Direct PLUS (Parent PLUS and GradPLUS) Loans disbursed July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 have a fixed interest rate of 6.31%.


Please note: As of Fall 2012, Subsidized Loans are no longer available for graduate students.

Graduate students are eligible to receive Unsubsidized Loans and/or Graduate PLUS loans.

You must complete a FAFSA for the appropriate academic year in order to receive a loan.  Once your FAFSA is complete in the CUNYfirst system, you will be "packaged" for the maximum Unsubsidized FDL you are eligible for. You will then have the ability to view and accept, decline, or reduce your Fall/Spring Direct Unsubsidized Loan directly on CUNYfirst.

STEP 1: Click the “Accept/Decline Awards” link located on the Finances section of your Student Center.

STEP 2: Click on the aid year you wish to view (click ‘2018’ for the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 aid year).

STEP 3: If you want a smaller loan than what has been offered, you can click on the award and reduce it to the amount you would like to accept. (*Be aware this is the TOTAL requested for Fall AND Spring.)

You will be offered your maximum eligible amount for the Fall and Spring. Note that this is a Fall/Spring loan. The total dollar amount of the loan will be disbursed half in the Fall, and half in the Spring. 

Any changes that you wish to make, other than the dollar amount, must be made in writing in the Financial Aid Office.

STEP 4: Check the appropriate box to either accept or decline your loan.

STEP 5: Click the ‘Submit’ button, and you're done. *Please be aware you must meet all eligibilty requirements to receive loan funds.

Please note: If this is your first loan at Lehman College, be sure to complete your Loan Entrance Counseling online at

If this is your first Federal Direct Loan in the past 10 years, or if your previous Master Promissory Note has expired, be sure to complete a new Master Promissory Note online at

Summer 2017 loan requests require a paper application.

One term loan requests require a paper application.

Additional loan requests require a paper application.

Graduate PLUS loan requests require a paper application.

Federal Direct Loan eligibility is initially determined through the filing of a FAFSA application. However, a separate Lehman College Direct Loan application must also be filed (Grad students - see new Grad loan info. noted above). To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a matriculated course of study leading to a degree, registered for a minimum of six credits applicable towards their degree requirements, and have a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.0 (3.0 for Graduate students), and meet all other federal financial aid eligibility requirements. Direct Loans can be applied to direct and indirect educational costs (e.g. tuition and clothing, respectively). Like Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Loans have employment related loan cancellation provisions. Subsidized Direct Loans range from $200-$5500 for undergraduate students. Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans are also available. Cost of Education, Expected Family Contribution and Academic Level determine actual Direct Loan awards. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education FDL website, or email us at

Apply for a Federal Direct Loan

Complete online Exit Counseling if you have taken out Federal Direct and/or Stafford loans and are approaching graduation, or if you will not be enrolled for at least 6 credits, or just want an idea of what will happen later on.

Helpful sites

Student Debt Repayment Assisitant

4 Things You Need to Know About Repaying Your Student Loans