What are Federal Direct Loans?

William D. Ford Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or other financial institution, though most of the contact will be with your loan servicer.
With Direct Loans, you:

  • Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact—your loan servicer—for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
  • Have online access to your Direct Loan account information via your servicer's website.
  • Can choose from several repayment plans, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.
Types of Loans
Subsidized Direct Loan - 4.29% fixed interest

While you are in school at least half-time the federal government will pay the interest on your subsidized loans. After you graduate, withdraw from school, or drop below half-time enrollment, there is a six month grace period before repayment of the loans begins. When you enter repayment, you are responsible to begin repaying the amount you borrowed as well as the interest that will accrue during the repayment period.

Unsubsidized Direct Loan - 4.29% fixed interest

Interest accrues immediately after disbursement. If you borrow unsubsidized loans, we strongly recommend that you begin making interest payments right after you receive your loan check. If you do not make interest payments while you are in school, the interest continues to accrue and is added (capitalized) to your principal loan balance at repayment. When interest capitalization occurs, you will then be paying interest on top of interest which greatly increases the amount of your loan and the total amount you will be repaying. This should be a loan of last resort!

Note: Coalinga College does not participate in the Private Alternative Loan Program.

Terms and Conditions

Loans must be repaid. Students interested in borrowing Direct Loans must apply each school year. 
To apply, you must:

  1. Complete the FAFSA and establish eligibility
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards as determined by West Hills Community College Financial Aid Office.
  • Not be delinquent or in default on a federal student loan or owe a refund on any federal/state grants.
  • Have remaining unmet need after other grants, scholarships, and work-study programs have been considered.

2. Attend a Loan Workshop (call to schedule)

  • At the workshop you will complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note

3. Complete the required Student Loan Request Form & Exit Counseling Form 
4. Be enrolled in & attending 6 or more degree applicable units from your Educational Plan each semester 
5. Meet Coalinga College's semester deadlines (call for current dates)

NOTE: Out-of-state students unable to appear in person for a Loan Workshop should contact financial aid immediately to coordinate correspondence via phone and/or email.

Loan Processing Timelines

Financial Aid will not start processing Student Loan Requests until after the start of each Fall and Spring term. Loan funds are disbursed 4-6 weeks after submitting your Request. These 4-6 weeks are in addition to financial aid processing timelines, as we must review your eligibility for gift aid prior to consideration for loans.


Loan funds are disbursed in five equal amounts, minus the origination fees. Full year loan funds are disbursed in one standard disbursement per semester. Single term loan funds CANNOT be disbursed in a single payment and must also be split into five disbursements. Disbursement of loan funds cannot occur before at least 30 days into the semester and are generally made 6-8 weeks into the term.

Loan funds will first be applied to any direct institutional charges. Any remaining amount is then disbursed out to the student.

Exit Counseling

Loan EXIT Counseling is REQUIRED:

  • If you drop below half-time enrollment (6.0 units)
  • Within 30 days PRIOR to graduating or leaving Coalinga College
  • You must complete Loan Exit Counseling online at
Direct Loans are a form of financial aid and must be repaid with interest. Generally you’ll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on the payment plan you choose. A variety of payment plans are available to meet your unique situation. Explore your repayment options at and then contact your loan servicer to discuss a repayment plan that will work for you.

New Loan Policies and Regulations Starting in 2013-14

A new regulation states new borrowers (beginning July 1, 2013) may only receive Subsidized loans up to 150% of the published length of their current program.

Interest subsidy during the six months grace period was eliminated for loans made after July 1, 2012. The re-payment period still begins six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time but the interest that accrues, during those six months is payable by the student.

*Financial Aid Student Loan Guides are available at our Financial Aid Office

Loan Borrowing Limits
Dependent Students

Subsidized/ Unsubsidized

Additional Unsubsidized Yearly Maximum Lifetime Undergraduate Limits
Grade Level 1
0-29.9 completed units
$3,500 $2,000 $5,500 $31,00 total, no more than $23,000 can be subsidized
Grade Level 2
30+ completed units
$4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Independent Students Subsidized/ Unsubsidized Additional Unsubsidized Yearly Maximum Lifetime Undergraduate Limits
Grade Level 1
0-29.9 completed units
$3,500 $6,000 $9,500 $57,000 total, no more than $23,000 can be subsidized

Grade Level 2
30+ completed units
$4,500 $6,000 $10,500
There is a 4.29% Origination Fee for Direct Loans that are first disbursed on or after July 1, 2015, as well as for Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans, and 6.84% for PLUS Loans.