Student Loans

Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. With federal loans, that repayment may begin once you graduate from the College of Charleston.

When you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your College of Charleston financial aid offer.

When accepting loans as part of your financial aid package, make sure you understand your options, responsibilities and the terms of paying back the money you borrowed.

Loan Types

Loans are offered by the federal and state governments, as well as by private lenders, to help you pay for education expenses that are not covered by other types of financial aid. Government loans usually have more favorable terms. Do your homework. Many of these loans allow the deferment or postponement of payments until after graduation. 
  • Federal Direct Student Loans

    The U.S. Department of Education offers federal student loans in the form of Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

    Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the cost of a College of Charleston education. The federal government pays the interest on the loan while you're enrolled in school.

    Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate and professional students. With unsubsidized loans, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible. The student is responsible for the interest of an unsubsidized loan.

    To Apply:

    1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    2. Based on your eligibility, Federal Direct Loans are generally included as part of your College of Charleston financial aid offer.

      For additional information, visit our Loan Application Process page.

    Learn more about Direct Loans
  • Direct Parent PLUS Loan

    The U.S. Department of Education offers Direct Parent PLUS federal loans to eligible parents of undergraduate students.

    To Apply:


    Learn More About Parent PLUS Loans
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

    The U.S. Department of Education offers Graduate PLUS Loans to eligible students seeking a graduate or professional degree.

    To Apply:


    Learn More About Grad PLUS Loans
  • South Carolina Teacher Loan

    Offered through South Carolina Student Loan, the S.C. Teacher Loan provides loans to encourage South Carolina residents to enter the teaching profession and teach in the state's areas of critical need.

    As a recipient of a Teacher Loan, you may be eligible to have portions of your loan forgiven by teaching in certain critical geographical or subject areas in the S.C. public school system.

    To Apply

    Learn more about SC Teacher Loans
  • Alternative/Private Loans

    Alternative (or private) loans are offered through a commercial lender.

    You should only consider alternative loans after you have exhausted all potential scholarships, need-based grants, work-study and federal loan programs through the FAFSA form process.

    While alternative loans might make the difference between attending college or not, alternative loans generally have higher interest rates than federal loan programs, and eligibility is based on your credit worthiness, not financial need.

    The College of Charleston does not refer anyone to or recommend alternative loan lenders. 

    What to consider before deciding on an alternative loan

    We encourage you to consider all of your other financial options before applying for an alternative loan.

    • Who is the co-signer/co-borrower?
      Identify someone who will guarantee the loan taken out by the student borrower.

    • What is the interest rate? Is it fixed or variable?
      A fixed-rate loan may start higher but will remain consistent throughout the term of the loan.
      A variable rate can change over time and may increase the loan costs.

    • What fees are applied?
      Application fees, origination fees (a percentage of the loan taken from the proceeds) and late fees may increase the total cost of the loan.

    • When does repayment begin?
      Check with the lender and understand the repayment options: Repayment begins immediately (student begins repayment immediately upon receiving the loan), interest-only (pay only interest on the loan while in school), or full-deferment (postpones payments while student is attending school.)
    Private Loan Application Process