Financial Aid
Student Loans

Federal Loans to Students
Unlike grants or work-study, a loan is money that must be repaid. You, the student borrower, are legally obligated to repay your loans so we encourage you to fully read and understand the terms and conditions before accepting a loan. Please note: You must repay your loans even if you do not complete your program.

The minimum requirements for obtaining a federal loan are a completed FAFSA application, admission into a degree-seeking program, and at least half-time (6 credits) enrollment. At Colorado Northwestern Community College, we encourage students to make informed decisions when taking out a student loan. Only borrow the amount of funds that you need to successfully complete your education.

Federal Loans to Parents
If a dependant student needs additional funds to meet their estimated cost of attendance, parents can request a Parent Plus Loan to cover remaining educational expenses. Parents must contact the financial aid office to request a Plus Loan.

Unlike grants or work-study, a loan is money that must be repaid. You, the parent, are legally obligated to repay your loans so we encourage parents to fully read and understand the terms and conditions before accepting a loan. Please note: You are responsible to repay your parent loans even if your student does not complete their program.

Colorado Northwestern Community College is a Direct Lending school
In the Direct Lending program, the funds are obtained directly from the U.S. Treasury. This process involves fewer participants and provides a single point of contact for the school and the student/parents.

What are the interest rates for a Federal Stafford Direct Loan
The interest rate for a Federal Stafford subsidized loan is 3.4% with a first disbursement date between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, the interest rate for a Federal Stafford unsubsidized loan is 6.8%, and the interest rate for the Federal Plus (parent loan) loan is 7.9%. These rates are fixed.

Students must fill out a FAFSA at to be able to apply for a Federal Stafford Loan.

To obtain your Stafford student loan follow these steps:

  1. Log into your “Crossroads” account at and accept your loans.
  2. Complete an Entrance Loan Counseling at – click the "sign in" button. (You will need your four digit FAFSA pin)
  3. Complete your Master Promissory Note at

Once these steps have been completed, your loan will be certified by the financial aid office. Stafford student loans pay out in two disbursements usually this is fall/spring, single semester loans are still paid out in two disbursements with the first half being paid out after the drop date of classes and the second approximately one month later. For first time borrowers the first disbursement is always 30 days after the first day of school.

Other important financial aid information

What about alternative/private loans? (Alternative or Private loans are not administered through the Direct Loan program) Some programs, such as Aviation Technology, Aviation Maintenance and Dental Hygiene, have costs higher than the federal loan limits can cover. Other programs, such as refresher courses and short certificate programs (less than 15 weeks), may not be eligible for financial aid. An alternative loan may be the only option for meeting educational expenses. Due to the economic crisis alternative or private loans are becoming harder to obtain and can have a much higher interest rate.NOTE: Be sure to explore all sources of funding before applying for an alternative/private loan.

How do I get a private/alternative Loan?

It is against federal truth-in-lending laws for schools, or their representatives, to recommend specific banks to students.

The best way to find banks that provide private/alternative student loans is to do a web search and type in "alternative student loans". This will give you a list of potential funding sources. Once you pick a bank you need to make sure they will loan to you for attendance at Colorado Northwestern Community College. Note: not all banks loan to students attending a community college.

Most banks will require you to have a co-signer. The bank will do a credit check on both you and your co-signer so make sure you pick a credit worthy co-signer.

Once your loan has been approved by the bank they will notify the financial aid office to certify the loan. The financial aid office will certify that you are enrolled and that you are eligible for a certain amount of money. Students cannot borrow more than their cost of attendance.

Depending on the bank, and type of loan, you choose they may ask you for your cost of attendance. You can contact the financial aid office at 970-675-3204 or by email to merrie [dot] byers [at] cncc [dot] edu (Merrie Byers) Employee Directory to obtain this information.

Review your loan history If you have forgotten who your lender is or how much you have borrowed; check it out at NSLDS Student Access web site at

Loan Disbursement
All loan funds will be sent to CNCC. Funds will not be mailed directly to your home. Loans are disbursed in two or more equal disbursements. Your first disbursement will be no earlier than the end of the drop/add period, with the second disbursement occurring midpoint through the loan period. Single semester loans are disbursed in two disbursements.

Federal Perkins Loan
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5 percent) loan. The school is your lender. The loan fund is made up of government funds and repaid funds from previous loan recipients. The Federal Government has not provided any new funding in the past few years. CNCC uses Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI) to process loans for students, including loan origination and repayment. Depending on when you apply, your level of need, and the school's funding level, you can borrow up to $5,500 for each year of undergraduate study (the total you can borrow as an undergraduate is $24,000, however, your total at the community college level is $12,000). If you are awarded a Perkins Loan, the loan funds will be credited directly to your account. Generally, you'll receive the loan in at least two payments during the academic year.

Your Perkins Loan entrance and exit counseling sessions will be completed online. You will be given specific instructions on completing the process after you accept a Perkins Loan award.

There are no origination fees or insurance fees associated with this loan. However, once you enter repayment you might have to pay a late charge if you don't make your loan payments as scheduled. If you continue to be delinquent in making payments, you might have to pay collection costs as well. Repayment of these loans commences nine months after you leave school or complete your education. Up to 10 years may be allowed to repay the loan. The amount of your monthly payment depends upon the size of the debt, but the minimum monthly payment amount is $50. The school can agree to a lesser amount, but it must be due to extraordinary circumstances, such as prolonged unemployment.

If a student defaults on a Federal Perkins Loan and the school is unable to collect, the federal government will take action to recover the loan. All loans are reported to a national credit bureau on a monthly basis.

Once you are ready to graduate, or before transferring from CNCC, you must complete a Loan Exit Counseling Session. This session will focus on your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower, as well as repayment provisions. Exit loan counseling can be done by going to

Questions? Contact Us