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Educate Yourself on the Loan Process

Important Imformation


what you need to know Before you get started

Interest Rates and What you need to Know 

  • If you receive a federal student loan, you will be required to repay that loan with interest. It is important that you understand how interest is calculated and the fees associated with your loan. Both of these factors will impact the amount you will be required to repay.

  • Interest: is money paid to the lender in exchange for borrowing money. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount (loan amount) borrowed. The interest rate varies depending on the loan type and (for most types of federal student loans) the first disbursement date of the loan.

- What are the interest rates?


Loan Types

What's the difference between the two? 

Question marks

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan while you're in school at least half-time up to 150% of the student’s program/major, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.

-Types of Loans Offered

Annual Loan Limits

The Financial Aid Office will determine the loan type(s), if any, and the actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year. However, there are limits on the amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit.

  • Annual subsidized loan limits are $3,500 for freshman and $4,500 for sophomores.

    Note: Sophomores are defined as students who have 30 or more units completed based on Cerritos College transcripts, which may include transfer units that have been evaluated.

  • Annual unsubsidized loan limits are $2,000 for dependent students and $6,000 for independent students.

Aggregate loan limits

Lifetime Loan Limits

If the total loan amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you are not eligible to receive additional loans. However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.

  • Aggregate Loan limits is $31,000 for dependent students and $57,500 for independent students (undergraduates) with no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Subsidized usage limit applies (sula) - 150% Limit

Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) - 150% Limit

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your "maximum eligibility period." Your maximum eligibility period is generally based on the published length of your current program. You can usually find the published length of any program of study in your school's catalog.

Note: The government will not longer pay the interest on all of your Direct Subsidized Loans once you reach your limit. 

For example, if you are enrolled in a two-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is three years (150 percent of 2 years = 3 years).

Student Loans
For further information please contact the Financial Aid Office at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2397 or e-mail us at

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Last Update: 4/1/2020