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Alamo Colleges Education Services is a secure portal connecting Faculty, Staff & Students to Academic Resources, Email, and other Online Resources.

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St. Philip's College
• MLK Campus Library
• Southwest Campus Library



What is a Federal Direct Loan?

An FDL is an educational loan provided through the federal government which includes subsidized and unsubsidized loans for students, and PLUS loans for parents and students.

What is the difference between a grant and a loan?

Loans are different from grants in that the student is required to pay back all loan money that is borrowed.

What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan? 

Part of receiving a loan is to understand there is an expense charged by the lender (interest) to be paid by the borrower for the use of borrowed money.

  • For subsidized loans you are not charged interest while you're in school half time, during grace periods, and deferment periods. At any point you are not under one of these statuses and in repayment, interest charges will be applied.
  • For unsubsidized loans interest accumulates on the loan from the time it is paid out. You can pay this interest while you're in school, during grace periods, deferment and forbearance periods. Any unpaid interest that accumulates during one of these periods will be capitalized and added to the total amount owed also known as your loan principal.

Is there a time limit for borrowing loans? 

For first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time the student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans.  Students who fall under this rule may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of their program.  Therefore, students enrolled in a two-year associate degree program may receive Subsidized student loans for up to three years (150 percent of 2 years = 3 years).

What if I fail to repay my loan?

Students who fail to repay their loans are considered to be in default of their loan payments and are not eligible to receive future aid until the default status is either rehabilitated or paid in full. For more information regarding the consequences of defaulting on a Direct Loan visit the FSA Collections website

Will I be charged an interest rate on my loan?

Borrowers are charged interest on the amount of funds borrowed (interest rate) which is determined annually by the U.S. Department of Education, and it is fixed for the life of the loan.  Once the interest rate is set, it is effective for any Federal Direct Loans approved during that award year period between July 1 to June 30. 

How do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan? 

Student loan borrowers can submit a loan request on-line through their ACES portal. All students who wish to borrow (including new and returning students) must complete the on-line request for student loan funds.  

Can I apply for a Summer Loan?

Yes, summer requests may be submitted as soon as your summer financial aid request has been processed and Federal Pell grant eligibility determined.  Please click on the Priority Dates and Deadlines link below to see all application priority and deadline dates.  


Complete the Federal Direct Loan Process - All requirements including verification must be complete

1. Students applying are required to view the Direct Loan Eligibility page in order to understand all terms and conditions.

2. Check the Priority Dates and Deadlines page for application submission time frames.
3. Submit the Direct Loan request through your ACES account.  Click to access ACES or to view a tutorial on How to apply for a Federal Direct Loan via ACES.

Parent PLUS Loan - Complete the Federal Plus Loan request

Download the fillable PDF here and submit to your home campus


Parents who borrow a Federal Parent Loan to Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are subject to the following regulations beginning July 1, 2015:

The Entrance Counseling Session is required for parents who are initially declined a PLUS Loan but eventually gain approval with a cosigner. Go to for details.

All searches for a cosigner for a PLUS Loan must be exhausted before the dependent student may borrow additional Direct Loan funds. The statement available here is required to be on file with the Student Financial Aid Office before the dependent student is awarded additional loan funds.

Beginning with the 2015-2016 Academic Year, parents may use a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on as the PLUS Application. It is advisable, however, to confirm the arrival of the MPN with the Student Financial Aid Office at your college. 


Other Helpful Information 

Federal Student Aid Direct Loans website click here . 

To obtain information about:

  • Your Loan - Address/Name changes - Repayment estimates - Repayment plan changes - Deferment or Forbearance forms
    call 800-848-0979

  • Direct consolidation loans
    call 800-557-7392

  • Defaulted Student Loans
    call 800-621-3115