Carl Sandburg College participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. To receive a loan, students must first complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receive notification from Sandburg that a student loan(s) has been awarded.


Committee Review

Carl Sandburg College evaluates all requests for loans on a case-by-case basis as authorized under 34 CFR 685.301(a)(7) of the Higher Education Act. Federal regulations allow an institution to refuse to certify a student loan or certify a loan amount that is less than the student’s determination of need. Students will be notified in writing of the decision. Each loan request will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee to determine if borrowing is prudent. Items considered include but are not limited to: previous educational debt, educational debt to educational goals, progress toward degree completion. etc. Students may be approved for less than the federal maximum by term or year as specified by the committee. 


Federal Direct Stafford Loan

This is a low-interest educational loan offered by the federal government to help students pay educational costs. Repayment begins six months after graduation or when the student drops below half time enrollment. Minimum enrollment is six credit hours per semester. The federal government withholds an origination fee of 0.5 percent when the loan is made. THIS MONEY MUST BE REPAID. A freshman (based on hours in the academic program) may borrow up to $3,500 per academic year and a sophomore up to $4,500. The interest rate for loans made after July 1, 2014, is 4.66 percent for subsidized and 4.66 percent for unsubsidized. Loan funds are disbursed 30 days after the first day of each semester. Loans are recalculated based on the student´s actual enrollment at the time of disbursement each semester. First-time borrowers at Sandburg must complete loan counseling prior to the first disbursement of their loan.

For loan terms, sample repayment and other provisions governing federal student loans, please link to the federal student loan website at:


Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan

This loan is based on financial need so not everyone will qualify. The government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time.


Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan

This program is available to students who do not qualify for need-based loans or who do not qualify for the maximum loan limits under the Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan. The borrower is responsible for all interest that occurs during any enrollment, grace, deferment or forbearance period. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to be added to the principal amount of the loan.


Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Plus)

This is a loan that allows parents of dependent students to borrow to help pay for educational expenses. Financial need is not considered; therefore, the program is open to almost any family (student and parent) who does not have an adverse credit history. The family can borrow up to the cost of education, less other aid received. The interest rate is 7.21 percent. Repayment begins 60 days after disbursement. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.


Repayment Information/Exit Counseling

All students are required to complete Exit Counseling within 30 days of the date they withdraw, graduate, or drop below half-time attendance even if they plan to transfer to another school. Exit counseling helps the student understand their rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provides useful tips and information to help manage student loan debt. Choose the following link to begin Exit Counseling:

Once you complete the online Borrower Information Form at the end of the session, you will receive confirmation that your Exit Counseling requirement has been satisfied. 

If you cannot  complete Exit Counseling online, please contact our Financial Aid Office at 309.341.5283 or email

The following resources are available to assist you with your loan debt:  Want to know how much you have borrowed? Go to the National Student Loan Data System at  For additional information on loans, review the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website

It is your responsibility to notify the Loan Servicing Center promptly of any changes in your name, address, college or enrollment status or employers name and address. The Direct Loan Servicing Center's phone number is 800.848.0979, and its hours are 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Federal Student Loans Interest Rate

The interest rate will be determined each June for new loans made for the upcoming award year. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. To find out the current interest rate, please go to