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General Loan Requirements/Regulations

To be eligible for Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or Federal Parent PLUS Loan you must meet the following requirements.

Both students and parents:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid social security number


  • Must not be in default on a federal student loan
  • Must not owe money back on a federal grant to the U.S. Department of Education
  • Must be enrolled at least half time:
    • 6 hours over 16 week semester
    • 3 hours over 8 week session
  • Student must have High School Diploma, GED, or have completed 6 credit hours at a higher education institution that are acceptable for transfer to Columbia College
  • Student must be degree seeking at Columbia College (and enrolled in and attending courses that count toward that degree)
  • Student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Student must not have had aid eligibility suspended due to federal or state drug conviction

Stafford Lifetime Loan Limits

Aggregate Limits: Aggregate limit is the maximum amount that a student can receive in federal Stafford loan eligibility.

Stafford Loan undergraduate and graduate student aggregate limits are as follows:

  • Dependent undergraduate students: $31,000 total, of which $23,000 can be subsidized
  • Independent undergraduate students or dependent students with a parent PLUS loan denial: $57,500 total, of which $31,000 can be subsidized
  • Graduate students: $138,500 total, of which $65,000 can be subsidized

Students can review all loans received through the federal education loan programs at

Proration of Stafford Loans

Columbia College is required by federal regulations to prorate, or adjust Stafford loan amounts when students have less than a full year's worth of courses (24 credit hours) left to complete their degree. If a student will graduate in less than four 8 weeks sessions or in one semester for a 16 week student, Columbia College is required to prorate. The financial aid office will calculate an eligible percentage amount for the expected remaining sessions and student will be notified by CougarMail.