Skip to content

About student loans

Loans are funds given by a lender that must be repaid by the borrower.  North Central Michigan College is a Federal Direct Loan participant. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, instead of a bank or other financial institution. The interest rate and financial aid loan fees are set by the U.S. Department of Education.  More information on the Federal Direct Student Loans can be found at

Understanding your loan choices

For those students with financial need, the government pays the interest during school periods with a subsidized Federal Direct Loan. If eligible, a student may receive loan funds beyond the subsidized loan limit or, if he/she does not have a financial need, through an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. Loan maximums are set by the government but may be limited because of student eligibility. All students receiving subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans participate in mandatory entrance and exit counseling online. The counseling takes place prior to the first disbursement of a loan. Online loan counseling is accessed through the College website. Loan entrance and exit counseling presents information regarding the responsibilities of indebtedness, repayment options and the consequences of failing to repay a loan.

There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans:

  • Subsidized: If a student meets certain financial need requirements, the federal government will pay the loan's interest while the student attends school at least half-time or during times when the student qualifies for an authorized deferment.
  • Unsubsidized: Students that do not meet the financial need criteria for a subsidized loan may qualify for an unsubsidized student loan. The student is responsible to pay the interest on the loan while they are in school or they can choose to have the interest added to their principal balance.

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan is for parents who want to borrow money to help pay for their dependent child's education. This loan is based on the parents' credit rating.  North Central requires a student to file a FAFSA to be considered for this non-need based loan. 

Loan limits

Loan amounts and maximums are set by the government.  All students must meet eligibility requirements.  Loan limit information for students attending a two-year community college is provided below.  Information shown is as of July 1, 2008.

Dependent Students Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Loan Amount
Freshman $3,500 $2,000
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000


Dependent Students Whose Parents Cannot Borrow a PLUS Loan Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Loan Amount
Freshman $3,500 $6,000
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000


Independent Students Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Loan Amount
Freshman $3,500 $6,000
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000

Lifetime Loan Limits

Dependent undergraduates: $31,000
Independent undergraduates: $57,500

Kristin Hathaway, Director of Financial Aid

Questions about financial aid?

Kristin Hathaway
Director of Financial Aid

It all starts with the FAFSA...

You must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible to receive a student loan.

Complete the FAFSA

Student Loan Application Process

All students who want to obtain a student loan are required to complete a North Central Student Loan Request Form.

Please thoroughly complete each required section, and submit it to our Financial Aid department.

Complete the North Central Student Loan Request Form for WINTER 2024.

Complete the North Central Student Loan Request Form for SUMMER 2024.

If you are a first-time borrower with North Central Michigan College, you will need to complete loan entrance counseling.  You will be required to sign into entrance counseling using the same FSA ID and password you used to submit your FAFSA.

Complete the loan entrance counseling requirement.

Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) with the U.S. Department of Education.  Again, you will be required to sign into entrance counseling using the same FSA ID and password you used to submit your FAFSA.

Complete the Master Promissory Note requirement.

Parent Loan Application Process (PLUS)

The interest rate and loan fees are set by the U.S. Department of Education.  Repayment options for the Parent PLUS Loans are:

  1. Payments begin 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed; OR
  2. Six months after the student ceases to be a half-time or more student, even if they do not graduate or complete their program of study.

If you are a credit-worthy parent of a dependent student, Federal Direct PLUS Loans may be available to you.  The parents hold responsibility for accrued interest on the loans from the disbursement date until the loan is fully paid off.  As a reminder, all loan fees and interest rates are determined by the U.S. Department of Education. 

All parents who apply for a PLUS loan are required to complete a North Central Michigan College Parent PLUS Loan Request Form.

Please print it, thoroughly complete each required section, and forward it to our Financial Aid department at the address or fax number listed on the bottom of the form.

Complete the North Central Parent PLUS Loan Request Form.

Complete the Parent Plus Application process by clicking the link below.  Once again, you will need to sign on using the same FSA ID and password you used to sign your student's FAFSA.

Complete the Parent Plus Application.

Requirements & Regulations, Rights & Responsibilities, Repaying Your Loan

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed in order to be a recipient of a financial aid loan.
    • All students applying for a Federal Direct Loan and parents applying for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.
    • All students must be enrolled at least half-time (minimum of six credit hours per semester for undergraduate student) to qualify for a Federal Direct Loan or to have their parents qualify for a Federal PLUS loan.
    • Students must attend classes and maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to be eligible for their loans.
    • Even if a student withdraws from class before the semester ends, they are still required to pay back their loans.
  • Federal Direct Loans enter repayment six months after graduation or after student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The repayment period typically lasts around 10 years. Flexible payment plans are available.

Questions about completing the FAFSA?  See our FAFSA Steps & FAQs page.

It is vital that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities in the loan process.
Once you thoroughly understand your rights and responsibilities with regard to repaying your loans, you will greatly diminish delays or problems you may encounter.
Your rights and responsibilities include the following:

  1. Regardless of whether you completed your academic program, or if your expectations were not met by your program, you must pay your loans.
  2. If you are the recipient of multiple loans with multiple loan servicers, it is your responsibility to notify your school of this.
  3. You must use money received from student loans for strictly academic expenses.
  4. You must notify your loan servicer, in writing, of:

A. Name or address change
B. Failure to enroll at least half-time
C. Failure to enroll for the loan period certified
D. Failure to enroll at North Central Michigan College
E. Withdrawal from school or reduction of attendance to less-than-half-time
F. Transfer between establishments of higher education
G. Graduation

  1. If you are eligible, you have a right to defer your financial aid repayments, which suspends principal and interest payments for a certain period of time. Deferments can be requested for a number of reasons, including returning to school on at least a half-time basis.
  2. You have the right to consider the loan repayment alternative for which you qualify, as you enter the repayment process. This includes loan consolidation alternatives.

You are required to begin repaying your Federal Direct Loan six months after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time attendance. Borrowers generally have 10 years to repay these loans. Under a level repayment plan your monthly payment would be at least $50. For example, the monthly payment on a $7,500 Stafford loan with an interest rate of 6.8 percent would be $86.31 under a 10-year repayment plan.

  1. Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repayment, you can change repayment plans any time. There are repayment options that allow you to gradually increase your payments over time or tie the size of your monthly payment to your income. More information on these plans can be found at
  2. You can investigate consolidating all of your education loans so you have one monthly payment. This program also generally allows you to extend the repayment period beyond 10 years.
  3. If you experience economic hardship or other circumstances that limit your ability to repay your loan, you might qualify for a deferment or forbearance. Deferment allows you to postpone repayments for certain approved reasons for as long as you are enrolled at least half-time in a post-secondary school, graduate fellowship or rehabilitation program (if you have disabilities). Deferments of up to three years are also available if you are unemployed. Forbearance can delay or reduce your monthly payments. Usually, however, you must still pay the interest on your loan during the forbearance period.

Please note: If you fail to repay your loan, you will be considered in default. If this occurs, your credit rating will be damaged and you may not be able to borrow in the future to pay for a car or home or even to continue your education. Your wages may be garnished and your federal and state income taxes may be withheld; your loan may be sent to a collection agency and you will be liable for collection fees.

Loan Exit Counseling

You must complete loan exit counseling when you leave North Central or drop below half-time enrollment.  If you have been asked to complete loan exit counseling, start at the Federal Student Aid Exit Counseling webpage.