Students can receive loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. These are low-interest loans for students to help pay for the cost of a student’s college education. The Direct loan program offers loans issued by the US Department of Education and not through a bank.

Federal Direct Loans allow you to:

  • Borrow without previous credit history or a cosigner
  • Defer loan payments until after graduation
  • Choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet your needs

In order to be eligible to receive a Federal Direct Loan, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or other eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Not be in default or owe a refund to any previous aid program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress


Direct Subsidized Loans

The Office of Financial Aid awards subsidized loans based on financial need. The federal government does not charge interest while students are in school in at least half-time, during the grace period and during deferment periods.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial aid. Interest is charged during all periods. As an institution, we encourage a plan to pay the interest off while you’re in school and in grace and deferment periods.

The amount students can borrow each year for subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans depends on their grade level and on whether they are dependent or independent students.

Direct Student Loans – Yearly Amounts

Dependent Student Independent Student
1st-year Undergraduate $3,500/$2,000 $3,500/$6,000
2nd-year Undergraduate $4,500/$2,000 $4,500/$6,000
3rd and 4th-year Undergraduate $5,500/$2,000 $5,500/$7,000

Direct PLUS Loans

Direct PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students. This loan is taken out in the parents’ name to help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance, less all other financial aid. Interest begins to accrue on a Parent PLUS Loan onc

A parent must be certified as having acceptable credit history. If the Department determines you to be ineligible, you may still borrow a PLUS loan by using an endorser or appealing the credit decision. If a parent’s credit is not approved, the student is generally eligible to receive additional unsubsidized loans in the student’s name.

1. This includes dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
2. The first number is the base amount, which may be any combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loan funds. The second number is the amount of additional unsubsidized loan funds available.

The amount a student can borrow is also limited by the student’s school costs, other financial aid the student may receive, and (in the case of subsidized loans) the student’s expected family contribution.

These are the aggregate (total) limits for all subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, whether solely from the Direct Loan Program or in combination with FFEL Stafford loans:

  • $31,000 for a dependent undergraduate student (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
  • $57,500 for an independent undergraduate student1 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
  • $138,500 for a graduate or professional student (no more than $65,000 may be subsidized; includes loans for undergraduate study)

With a PLUS loan, a graduate/professional student or the parent of a dependent student can borrow up to the cost of the student’s education minus other financial aid the student receives.

The fixed interest rate for a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan or a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan disbursed on or after July 1, 2022 and before July 1, 2023 is 4.99%. For that same period, Federal Direct PLUS Loans have a fixed rate of 7.54%.

In addition to interest, you pay a net loan origination fee of 1.057% of the principal amount of each Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that you borrow. The loan origination fee for PLUS loans is 4.228%. This fee helps reduce the cost of making these low-interest loans. We deduct the fee before you receive any loan money, so the loan amount you actually receive will be less than the amount you have to repay.


Students consider alternative loans for the following reasons: student has borrowed the maximum federal direct loan amount for the award year, enrolled for less than 6 hours, parent plus loan denial, unexpected costs, or need additional funds to complete a term or graduate. Typically, alternative loans have higher interest rates than Federal Direct Student Loans and sometimes require a minimum payment of interest while in school. Alternative loans generally require good financial credit and/or a loan co-signer. Students attending Toccoa Falls College should consider Federal Direct Loans before considering alternative loans. The college has no involvement in applying for or obtaining alternative loans for students.  Once the student has applied for an alternative loan through a loan lender, the lender will then ask TFC to certify the loan.

TFC uses a third party service, Great Lakes FASTChoice, to access the alternative loan lender list.  Below is a link to a list of established lenders for consideration, that offer excellent service and competitive borrower benefits. Toccoa Falls College does not endorse any specific provider of loans. Applying for an alternative loan is completely a student’s choice. Toccoa Falls College cannot vouch for the accuracy of the lender information in the Great Lakes FASTChoice website, because it is subject to change. It is important that student’s read and understand all the loan regulations, fees, interest rates, benefits, and financial options prior to accepting any alternative loan.

Students have the right to choose a lender other than those included on the Great Lakes FASTChoice list. If you wish to borrow from another lender that is not on FASTChoice, please send an email to and place the words ALTERNATIVE LOAN CHOICE in the subject line of your email. If you choose a lender from the list below and desire more specific information, we encourage you to access each lender’s website. Once you have decided on a lender, simply follow the application guidelines that correspond to that lender. These lenders disburse loan funds electronically to the school, which allows us to post your loan funds directly to your student account in a timely manner.

For additional guidance on this or other relate financial aid matters, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 706-886-7299 ext. 5435.

Click on the link below to access the alternative loan lender list at the Great Lakes FASTChoice website.

FASTChoice link