Federal Student Loan Information


Type of Program: Loan (must be re-paid)


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Federal Direct Student Loan is financial aid that must be repaid back. Direct loans are low-interest education loans for students to help pay for college costs. There is no credit check or cosigner required to qualify. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, which assigns loans to one of its contracted loan servicers throughout the country after a loan is originated by a school for a student.

While we neither promote nor advocate student loans, we do provide information on the process and the rights & responsibilities that accompany obtaining both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans to interested students.  It is our hope that the information on this site will help you make an informed decision about borrowing student loans.

Please review our Loan Eligibility Information for answers to frequently asked questions.


Subsidized Loan: This type of loan is awarded on the basis of financial need, as determined by the information reported on the FAFSA. The federal government pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time (6 units).

Unsubsidized Loan: This type of loan is not awarded based on need and is available regardless of income. However, interest will accrue from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Students will have the option to pay the interest or defer the payment until after graduation.


Dependent Student

First-year: (0-29.5 Credits earned) up to $5,500 ($3,500 Subsidized and $2,000 Unsubsidized)

Second-year: (30 Credits earned) up to $6,500 ($4,500 Subsidized and $2,000 Unsubsidized)

Independent Student

First-year: (0-29.5 Credits earned) up to $9,500 ($3,500 Subsidized and $6,000 Unsubsidized)

Second-year: (30 Credits earned) up to $10,500 ($4,500 Subsidized and $6,000 Unsubsidized)


Federal Regulation under the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Section 472 (HEA section 479 (a)) gives a dependent student the right to borrow a Federal Unsubsidized Loan when the student’s parents have ended financial support and refuse to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students under this circumstance interested in applying for a Federal Unsubsidized Loan should refer to the Financial Aid Forms page to complete the Parent FAFSA Refusal Form for the corresponding aid year.

However, if the student’s inability to obtain parental information is due to unusual circumstances (parental incarceration, abuse, abandonment, etc.), the student should refer to our Appeals page and submit a Dependency Override request, which will allow a dependent student to apply as an independent student.


A school’s cohort default rate (CDR) is the percentage of a school’s students who had certain federal student loans enter repayment in a federal fiscal year and then default before the end of the cohort default rate period.

Cohort default rates are based on federal fiscal years. Federal fiscal years begin October 1 of a calendar year and end on September 30th of the following calendar year. Each federal fiscal year refers to the calendar year in which it ends.

In the event Palomar College rises above the national average CDR (Cohort Default Rate), identified Service Members will be notified via email of the CDR status.

Palomar College most recent CDRs:

FY 2019: 5.3%

FY 2018: 14.5%

FY 2017: 11.2%

Please refer to the Cohort Default Rate Guide for a more in-depth description of cohort default rates and how the rates are calculated.


For further information please contact the Financial Aid office at 760-744-1150 ext. 2366 or email us at finaid@palomar.edu from your Palomar student email.

If you need to additional loan counseling, our Loan Advisor is available upon request  |  Leann Tomesch ltomesch@palomar.edu

Last modified on March 15, 2024