Federal Financial Aid Programs

Below is a list of federal loans for which eligible Berkeley College students may be considered:

Federal Pell Grant: For the 2019-2020 award year, the Federal Pell Grant Program provides awards of up to $6,195 per academic year for financially eligible undergraduate students who previously have not earned a Bachelor’s degree. Recipients must be United States citizens or eligible noncitizens enrolled in degree programs. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed when applying for financial assistance. The federal government limits students to six full scheduled annual awards. At Berkeley College, that would mean 12 semesters of full-time attendance (or 24 semesters at half-time attendance, etc.). Pell Grants used at other institutions count toward the maximum amount allowed. (Students who have attended multiple institutions within a brief period, and have received Pell disbursements, may be identified by the Department of Education as persons with an “Unusual Enrollment History.” Regulations require Berkeley to review these circumstances for possible fraud and/or abuse of the Pell Grant Program.)

Year Round Pell: Effective with the 2018-19 award year, the federal government has made it easier for full-time students to accelerate and attend three semesters in one award year. In the past, students could only receive two full-time payments of Pell in an award year. Now, with Year Round Pell, students can receive three full time payments of Pell in one award year. Note this change does not increase the amount of a student’s lifetime eligibility for Pell. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Department.

Federal Direct Loans: Berkeley College participates in the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Eligible students and their parents borrow Stafford and/or PLUS Loans directly from the U.S. Department of Education and repay the loans through various loan servicers chosen by the U.S. Department of Education. Promissory Notes are available on the Internet at studentloans.gov. Various repayment and deferment options exist for federal loans (including but not limited to deferments for service under the Peace Corps Act, service under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, and comparable service as a volunteer for a tax-exempt organization in the field of community service). All first time borrowers will be provided entrance counseling that describes these options prior to loan disbursement.

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Base Stafford Loan (FDSL): This base loan is usually interest subsidized. This loan is available to students who are enrolled at least half-time and have financial need. Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, a fixed interest rate of 4.53 applies. In most cases, repayment must be completed within 10 years. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while the borrower is in school. First-year students may borrow up to $3,500 for qualified educational expenses; second-year students may borrow up to $4,500. Third- and fourth-year students may borrow up to $5,500 annually. Loan amounts will be originated by the College, based on enrollment status and need, as determined by federal formulas. Students are responsible for repaying their entire debt, with interest, as specified in the terms and conditions of the Promissory Note. Direct Subsidized Loans are available only for students who have not exceeded 150 percent of the published length of the academic program. This is called the “maximum eligibility period.” For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year Bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of four years = six years). Students may borrow an aggregate total of $23,000 in Subsidized Stafford for an undergraduate degree.

    When a student takes a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Student Loan for the first time on or after July 1, 2013 ("first time" includes previous borrowers who have repaid their Federal Stafford Loans in full), there is a maximum time period during which further Subsidized Stafford Student Loans may be taken. Furthermore, if the student enrolls for additional courses (regardless of whether the student applies for additional Stafford Loans) after the expiration of a period equal to 150 percent of the published length of the student's current program (for example, six years for a four-year Bachelor's degree program), the student will lose both eligibility for future interest subsidies and interest subsidies on all previously borrowed Subsidized Stafford Loans. That could add substantial interest charges to the student's loan debt.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (FDUSL): This loan is available to students who are enrolled at least half-time, regardless of financial need. The borrower is responsible for interest during the life of the loan. Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, a fixed interest rate of 4.53 percent applies. In most cases, repayment must be completed within 10 years. All students are eligible for the base amount, up to $2,000. In addition to the base loan of up to $2,000, independent students and those whose parents have been denied a Parent Loan may borrow an “additional” unsubsidized loan. First- and second-year students may borrow up to an additional $4,000 for qualified educational expenses. Third- and fourth-year students may borrow up to an additional $5,000 annually. Dependent students may borrow up to a total of $8,000 in Unsubsidized Loans, and independent students may borrow up to a total of $34,500, for an undergraduate degree. Loan amounts will be originated by the College based on enrollment, need, and dependency status as determined by federal regulations. Students are responsible for repaying their entire debt, with interest, as specified in the terms and conditions of the Promissory Note.
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (FDPLUS): This loan is available to parents of dependent students who are enrolled at least half-time. Financial need is not a requirement. Parents are responsible for interest during the life of the loan. Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020a fixed rate of 7.08 percent applies. In most cases, repayment must be completed within 10 years. Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial assistance and resources. Loan amounts will be certified by the College based on enrollment and dependency status as determined by federal regulations. Parents are responsible for repaying their entire debt, with interest, as specified in the terms and conditions of the Promissory Note.
  • Federal Student Loan Aggregate Limits: Loans have aggregate (total lifetime) limits that are the same for all students based on dependency status (see chart below).

Aggregate Loan Limits

 Student Type Total Aggregate
Limit 
Maximum Subsidized 
Limit Within the 
Aggregate 
Dependent student  $31,000  $23,000
Dependent student whose 
parent is ineligible for PLUS 
 $57,500+  $23,000+
Independent undergraduate student  $57,500 $23,000 
  • Subsidized Loan 150 Percent Limitation: Direct Subsidized Loans are available only for students who have not exceeded 150 percent of the published length of the academic program. This is called the “maximum eligibility period.” For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year Bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of four years = six years).

    Students who attend beyond the 150 percent point, even if they do not continue to borrow, lose their subsidized loan eligibility as well as the subsidy on all previous subsidized loans.

    Students should always be aware of this especially if they are switching majors and taking longer to graduate. The greatest concern would be when switching majors to a shorter program. For example, a student may be pursuing a four-year degree for three award years, which would equal 75 percent. If that same student switched to a two-year degree, the three years of borrowing would now be 150 percent, and the student would lose subsidized loan eligibility and the loan subsidies for all previous subsidized loans.

    Students should discuss changes in majors with Academic Advisors as well as Financial Aid Advisors.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): For the 2019-2020 award year, students with exceptional need (Zero Expected Family Contribution) may also be awarded a Federal Supplemental Grant. FSEOG for the 2019-2020 award are based on fund availability and can generally range from $900 to $700 per award year. Eligible students are automatically considered for this grant. The FAFSA must be completed annually. Students who exhaust their Pell eligibility are not eligible for FSEOG.
  • Federal Work Study (FWS): Eligible degree-seeking students can seek part-time employment either on campus or in community service positions off campus. Eligible students in certificate programs may also be considered for a FWS position. Awards, hours, and pay rates vary. On average, students work 16 hours per week. Hourly compensation varies. Interested students should be directed to https://berkeleycollege.edu/current-students/federal-work-study/index.html.
  • Return of Title IV: The U.S. Department of Education regulates the treatment of all federal grants and loans. For those students who withdraw during the semester, the College is required to exercise the "Return to Title IV calculation" (R2T4). The R2T4 is based on the number of days in the semester divided into the number of days attended based on the separation date. This provides the percentage of Title IV aid a student has "earned."

    For example, if the semester is 100 days, and a student’s separation date falls on the 40th day of the semester, the formula used would be 40/100 or 40 percent. This percentage would then be applied to the Title IV aid disbursed, or potentially disbursed, in order to determine how much and which proceeds need to be returned. Students who separate after the 60 percent point of the semester, per federal guidelines, will have earned 100 percent of their federal aid.

    SEVEN-WEEK SESSIONS

    For purposes of the College’s obligation to return Title IV funds to the federal government, a student who withdraws from a subsequent session while still attending classes in either a session or a 15-week semester is not subject to a return of funds calculation. The following examples will illustrate the important differences in timing:

    Example 1

    If a student registered for session A and session B withdraws from session B while still attending session A, then the student’s aid will be reduced accordingly, but will not be subject to the return of funds calculation.

    Example 2

    If a student registered for session A and session B withdraws from session B after session A ends but before session B begins, then the student’s aid will be reduced accordingly, and also will be subject to the return of funds calculation.

    Example 3

    If a student is registered for at least one 15-week semester course and drops a session of another course, then the student’s aid will be reduced accordingly, but will not be subject to the return of funds calculation.

    Intent to Return

    A student registered for both session A and session B who chooses to withdraw from session A but intends to return for session B may submit an Intent to Return form to the Academic Advisement department. Upon receiving the completed form, the College will not cancel the student’s session B registration and will not be required to reduce financial aid or perform the return of funds calculation. If, however, the student does not return to attend session B, then the College will reduce the student’s aid accordingly.

    Federal regulations determine the order in which the College must return financial aid funds after a student withdraws. The Attribution Table requires the College to return funds as follows:

    First - Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    Second - Direct Subsidized Loan
    Third - Direct Parent Loans
    Fourth - Pell Grant
    Fifth - SEOG

    Note: Federal Work Study earnings are not part of the above formula and funds earned do not need to be returned.

Veterans’ Benefits: Veterans and/or dependents planning to receive educational assistance benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should get VA approval prior to enrollment. Veterans may apply for their GI Bill benefits at the VONAPP website, located at vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp. Veterans are required to submit copies of their Certificate of Eligibility for their VA benefits and DD214 Member 4 copy during the admissions process in order to most effectively process their benefits.

Study Abroad: Federal financial aid funds may be available for study abroad programs if a consortium agreement between the home and visiting school is approved in advance. Questions regarding consortium agreements should be directed to the Center for Global Studies.

Federal Aid to Native Americans: For information on Title VII - Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education, go to: www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg98.html and www.bie.edu/ParentsStudents/Grants/index.htm.

Social Security Benefits: Social Security benefits may be available to eligible students under 18 years of age. For more information, go to: https://www.ssa.gov/schoolofficials/index.htm.