I am enrolled in an Associates of Applied Science degree at community college. My grants have been enough to pay for the credit hours, so I have not taken out direct loans.

Conversation wise, people are lumping FAFSA, grants and loans together.

But, am I correct in thinking that since I have not borrowed loans, I have not started my timing on how long I can use loans? People seem to be saying that grants start the timing of grants/loans lumped together.

I did sign the loans online, but never bothered to take any out.

Am I correct in thinking that I can finish my associates using just grants, and then when I use loans for a four year undergraduate or masters degree, that starts the timing limit on how long I can use loans?

  • No time for an answer, but a lot of information here.
    – mkennedy
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


There is no time limit to recieve federal student loans. There is a maximum amount you can receive for an undergraduate degree program then if you decide to continue on for a master's degree or doctorate the threshold increases.

There is a deadline to accept the loan amount and I believe that decision is up to the financial aid department where you attend classes. Depending on where you attend the default loan amount (subsidised + unsubsidized) that is awarded per semester usually covers full-time enrollment plus some.

They say that you have 6 months after you graduate to begin paying on the student loans and that is true. Although, remember the lender is not the school. So keep track of your loans here: Federal Student Loan Data System If you don't graduate on time or don't find a job right away, don't panic and don't ignore these guys. There are plenty of ways that they will work with you to defer or reduce your payments and as long as you are taking classes at least half-time you can continue to defer the payments, but be forewarned you will continue to accumulate interest.

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