Carl Sandburg College participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Students will complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and receive notification from Sandburg that a student loan has been offered. Once offered, the student will complete the three steps to apply for the loan.


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.


To apply for a federal student loan, complete the following three steps:

Step 2) Complete the master promissory note (MPN).

Complete the master promissory note (MPN) for a subsidized/unsubsidized federal direct student loan. You will need to log in with your FSA ID.

Federal direct student loan

  • This is a low-interest educational loan offered by the federal government to help students pay educational costs. This money must be repaid.
  • Repayment begins six months after graduation or when the student drops below half-time enrollment.
  • The federal government withholds an origination fee of 0.5% when the loan is made.
  • 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. 
  • Sandburg estimates loan eligibility on the award notification based on anticipated enrollment. Student loans are certified after the student has enrolled and are based on the enrolled credit hours. The final calculation is made at the time of disbursement.
  • Minimum enrollment for loan disbursement is half time (six credit hours) per semester.
  • Only courses required for the student’s program of study count for enrollment purposes.
  • Once loans are approved they will be used to waive tuition payments.
  • Students are responsible for purchasing books pending loan disbursement.
  • Remaing loan funds are disbursed 30 days after the first day of each semester.


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. View the current student loan interest rate.


Subsidized & unsubsidized loans

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


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. Students can choose to pay the interest or allow it to be added to the principal amount of the loan.

Parent PLUS loans

Parents may also borrow to help students meet educational costs. Learn more or apply.


Additional resources — Student loans

Alternative loans

Code of conduct for student loans

Department of Education federal student loan website

Managing student loan debt

Understanding federal student loans



Financial Aid Office
Galesburg campus, E101