Federal Direct Loans
Entrance and exit counseling are required of all Federal Direct Loan borrowers. OCtech uses Mapping Your Future to conduct entrance and exit counseling. Entrance counseling is an online information session explaining rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. Exit counseling sessions provide information on loans and when repayment begins.
Students enrolled in eligible certificate, diploma or associate degree programs may apply for a student loan. Students who desire to apply for Direct Loans to attend Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College must have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file at the college prior to securing a Federal Direct Loan application.
Loans are debt, and students have a financial obligation to repay debt. Students are responsible for repaying loans. A completed FAFSA, OCtech Loan Application, Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and loan entrance counseling are required before a loan request can be reviewed. Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours at the time of loan disbursement to be eligible for a Direct Loan.
Students must be in good academic standing and meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to receive a student loan. Students on Financial Aid Probation or Suspension may not receive a student loan until they return to meeting SAP standards. Continuing students who have attempted at least 24 credit hours of college work at any institution must possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 to receive a student loan at OCtech. Students who do not meet the 24 credit hour GPA criteria may request a review of their status after attempting and earning 24 credit hours at OCtech with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Subsidized: A student must have financial need to receive a subsidized student loan. The U.S. Department of Education will pay (subsidize) the interest that accrues on subsidized Direct Loans during certain periods. However, interest begins accumulating on the loan once the student leaves school. Upon leaving school, the student must repay the loan and interest that will accumulate once the student is no longer enrolled.
Unsubsidized: Financial need is not a requirement to obtain an unsubsidized Direct Loan. The student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the student does not pay interest while in school, interest will accumulate or be capitalized until the loan is paid in full. That means the interest will be added to the higher accumulated loan amount each month until the loan is paid in full. If the student chooses to pay the interest as it accumulates, loan repayments will cost less in the long run. Interest rates for loans are variable and determined each year by the federal government. Students who are in a loan deferment status will still have interest capitalized on their student loan(s).
Parent PLUS Loans (for dependent students only)
PLUS Loans are loans parents can obtain to help pay the cost of education for their dependent undergraduate children. PLUS Loan applications must be obtained through the lender of the parent’s choice. Once the PLUS loan application has been completed, please notify the college's Financial Aid Office.
Students who request a loan are strongly encouraged to borrow as little as possible since this money must be repaid after graduating or leaving the college. Loan maximums include:
- $3,500 for a first-year student enrolled in an eligible program of study that is at least a full academic year.
- $4,500 for students who are enrolled in an eligible two-year program, have completed 30 semester hours and have a full year remaining to complete their academic program of study.
Important: Students are responsible for any OCtech late payment fees and other college expenses incurred before actual funds are applied to the student account. If approved for a loan, the lender will deduct a processing fee from the loan before disbursing the remaining funds to the student. Students should allow 3 to 4 weeks for loan application processing. Students should apply early in the year (no later than May for fall term, October for spring term and March for summer term) or be prepared to use other personal financial resources for school-related expenses until approved loan funds arrive at the college for disbursement. Once the college receives the funds, the college must verify that the student is still enrolled at least 6 credit hours and eligible to receive the funds before they are disbursed to the student. Students with a loan default cleared by NSLDS will be required to complete one term of enrollment at OCtech with Satisfactory Academic Progress prior to approval for another student loan. Students may access the OCtech Loan Application, Direct Loan MPN and required entrance/exit counseling from the OCtech website.
Default Management Plan and Loan Maximums: OCtech has established a student loan default management program by implementing institutional maximum loan limits to ensure students do not exceed borrowing that they may not be able to repay. This limit is $23,000 for dependent students and $31,000 for independent students (which include all loans received while in attendance at all other colleges). Students who have reached these limits are not eligible to receive a student loan at OCtech until loans are repaid.