Skip to content Skip to navigation

Student Loan Information

Note: In order to be eligible for student loans you must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits.

Loans are a source of funding that must be repaid. Most loans, though not all, are based on financial need and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Various loans have specific conditions regarding interest rates, borrowing limits, and repayment periods.

Federal regulations now require Gateway Technical College to make multiple disbursements of Direct Stafford and Parent PLUS loans. For each semester that a student is in attendance and receiving federal loans two disbursements will occur during the course of the semester. For more information on these dates, please see the disbursement dates section.

A student can accept or reject student loan(s) via My Gateway | Financial Aid. Please review the "Accepting or Rejecting Your Loans" section of our website for more information.

Each student will have up to 14 days after notice that the loan funds have been applied to their account to cancel or reduce loans. To cancel or reduce loans, students must email

Federal Direct Loans

The Federal Direct Loan Program allows students to borrow directly from one provider of funds-the U.S. Department of Education. There are two types of loans offered through Gateway Technical College under this program:

  • Direct Unsubsidized:
    Interest accrues immediately after the first disbursement.
  • Direct Subsidized:
    This need based loan is interest free for the student until six months after (grace period) he/she graduates, stops attending or ceases to be enrolled for at least half-time (taking six credits or less). In addition, interest does not accrue if student is in an authorized period of deferment.

Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) Eligibility Requirements

Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) is the Department of Education's rule regarding the Maximum Eligibility Period for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.  A borrower's Maximum Eligibility Period is a period of time that is equal to 150% of the published length of the program. Once a student receives Direct Subsidized loan funding for a period of time equivalent to 150% of the published length of the program, he or she is no longer eligible to receive further Direct Subsidized loan funding.

Any student who has no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or on a FFEL Program loan on July1st, 2013, or on the date the borrower obtains a Direct Loan after July 1st, 2013 is subject to the Subsidized Usage Limit Applies Rule described above. Students that do not meet this criteria are not subject to the rule while they do not meet the above criteria, but can become subject to the rule if they subsequently meet the criteria above.

Parent PLUS Loans

A parent PLUS Loan is a federal loan that a student's parent may be eligible to borrow, in their own name, to help cover the cost of their child's educational costs.  Interest begins accruing immediately upon loan certification. Students must exhaust all other forms of Financial Aid before Gateway will certify a Parent PLUS Loan.

Private Loans

Alternative Student Loans (also called private student loans) can be applied for by the student through third party lenders. Gateway reserves the right not to certify Alternative Student Loans.

Private student loans are meant to provide additional funds only after you have applied for federal financial aid. These loans are offered through commercial banks and most offer fixed or variable interest rates. All private loans require credit checks and most loans will require a cosigner if the borrower has little or no credit history. Be aware that most of these loans may not offer flexible repayment plans or consolidation options.

Private student loans can be a good option if: 

  • You have already completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA , to see if you’re eligible for federal grants, work-study and federal loans.
  • You have already borrowed the maximum in both subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans.
  • You have good credit or a co-signer who does. Most private student loan borrowers have a co-signer. 
  • You borrow only what you need. 

Feel free to explore your private loan options on Gateway's FASTChoice website.

Loan Repayment
You don't have to begin repaying most federal student loans until after you leave college or drop below half-time enrollment. However, PLUS loans enter repayment once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out).
Your loan servicer or lender must provide you with a loan repayment schedule that states when your first payment is due, the number and frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment. Keep in mind that your loan may have a grace period.
What's a grace period?
The grace period is a set period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loan. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for most loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
  • PLUS loans have no grace period. They enter repayment once they are fully disbursed but may be eligible for a deferment. Contact your loan servicer for more information.

Can my grace period change?
Circumstances that may change your grace period include the following:

  • Active duty military—If you are called to active military duty for more than 30 days before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you return from active duty.
  • Returning to school before the end of your loan's grace period—If you reenroll in school at least half-time before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment (other conditions apply).
  • Loan consolidation—If you consolidate your loans during your grace period, you will give up the remainder of your grace period and begin repayment after your Direct Consolidation Loan is disbursed (paid out).  Your first bill will be due approximately two months after the Direct Consolidation Loan is disbursed.