Student & Parent Loans

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Should funding through grants, scholarships, work-study, and other forms of aid not cover the entire cost of your education at College of Western Idaho (CWI), you may consider borrowing funds through a student or parent loan.

    Before You Borrow 

    Loan Facts

    As loans must be repaid, they are a big commitment and should be considered carefully. Should you choose to borrow a student loan, be prepared for your future by knowing the facts. Review the links below to learn important facts and information about student loans.

    • Federal Student Loans

      The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Education, offers Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans. Federal loans are the most common type of student loan. At CWI, between 25% and 30% of students borrow.

      • Federal student loans do not require a credit check and have reasonably low interest rates. 
      • Repayment and forgiveness options are generous.
      • By accepting and completing the requirements to receive a Federal Student Loan, you understand that loan information is submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), a system accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users.

      Types of federal loans

      Subsidized Loans

      • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
      • CWI determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
      • For a subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest
        • while you are attending school at least half-time,
        • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
        • during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

      *If you received a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

      Unsubsidized Loans

      • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students with no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
      • CWI determines the amount you can borrow by considering the cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
      • For an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for paying the interest while you are in school.
      • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school or during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

      Steps to apply

      To apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan, you must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Direct Loans will be included along with grants, scholarships, and work-study as part of your CWI financial aid award. 

      Applying for Aid

      Federal loan facts

      Federal Student Loans
      Direct Loan Basics for Students
      Loan Programs (Direct Loans)
      Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

      Frequently asked questions

      How do I apply?
      How much can I borrow?
      What are the current interest rates?
      Other than interest, is there a charge for this loan?
      What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?
      How will I receive my loan?
      When do I have to pay back my loans?
      What types of loan repayment plans are available?
      What if I have trouble repaying the loan?
      Can my loan be canceled, forgiven, or discharged?

    • Parent PLUS Loans

      Parent PLUS loans are available to credit-worthy parents of eligible dependent students to help cover unmet, education-related costs.

      • The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.
      • The borrower must not have an adverse credit history.
      • The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance, as determined by CWI, minus any other financial aid received.
      • By accepting and completing the requirements to receive a Parent PLUS Loan, you understand that loan information is submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), a system accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users.


      To receive a Parent PLUS Loan: 

      Steps to apply

      To apply for a Parent PLUS loan: 

      Parent Plus Loan Facts

      Direct Loan Basics for Parents
      Tax Benefits
      Dependency Status

      Frequently asked questions

      Can I still receive a Direct PLUS Loan if I have an adverse credit history?
      What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?
      How much can I borrow?
      What is the current interest rate?
      Other than interest, is there a charge for this loan?
      How will I receive my loan?
      Do I have to make payments on my loan while my child is still in school?
      What types of repayment plans are available?
      What if I have trouble repaying the loan?
      As a parent borrower, can I transfer my loan to my child?
      Can my loan ever be canceled or forgiven?

    • Private Loans

      Loans to cover educational costs are also available through private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Less than 1% of CWI students choose to borrow from private student loan programs.  

      • Private student loan borrowers must be credit-worthy.
      • Interest rates are usually market-based and competitive.
      • Repayment and forgiveness options are more restrictive than federal loans.
      • It is always advised that you take out all federal student loans first, then supplement with private loans as needed.

      Private Loan Process

      Students typically initiate the private loan application by applying through the lender of their choice. The lender would then contact CWI regarding the student's eligibility. Students are encouraged to review the unique benefits of Federal Student Loans and compare a historical list of lenders for CWI by completing Private Loan Counseling.

      Code of Conduct

      In accordance with federal regulations, CWI is committed to the highest standards of professional conduct. The College is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), follows its code of conduct, and adheres to the regulations related to issuance of private education loans, as follows:

      • Ban on Revenue Sharing Arrangements: CWI will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender or guarantor.
      • Gift Ban: CWI employees, and their family members, will not solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. Gifts include any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount.
      • Contracting Arrangements Prohibited: CWI employees will not accept any fee, payment, or financial benefit from a lender or affiliate of any lender as compensation for any consulting arrangement or other contract for services to a lender.
      • Interaction with Borrowers: CWI will not automatically assign any private education loan to a student or refuse to certify, or delay the certification, of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
      • Prohibition on Offers of Funds for Private Loans: CWI will not request or accept from any lender an offer of funds to be used for private education loans in exchange for CWI providing any promises to the lender regarding the number of loans to be made, the volume of loans to be made, or any preferred lender arrangement.
      • Ban on Staffing Assistance: CWI will not request or accept assistance from any lender for call center or financial aid office staffing.
      • Advisory Board Compensation: CWI employees who serve on an advisory board, commission or group established by a lender or guarantor is prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender or guarantor, except to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such advisory board, commission, or group.
    • Loan Repayment

      Student loans must be repaid. Be a smart borrower by keeping your total debt low, carefully considering your future ability and willingness to repay the money you borrow, and knowing your repayment options! 

      • Unlike other forms of consumer debt (e.g., credit cards, car loans, etc.), student loans usually cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
      • Repayment includes the initial borrowed amount plus interest over time. 
      • The lower the interest rate, the less you will have to pay over time.

      Repayment Strategies

      Know your goals.

      • Research your degree plan and path to graduation.
      • Take only the classes you need to graduate to avoid paying extra costs.
      • Graduate on time.

      TIP: Learn what you can expect to earn when you graduate from college, and adjust your borrowing expectations accordingly. Visit CareerOnestop to search for information and wages by occupation and location. 

      Know how much you owe.

      • Students apply for aid, including student loans, once per year.
      • Each year, you will have the opportunity to review your financial aid and loan options. 
      • As loans are offered annually, it can be easy to lose track of exactly how much you have borrowed.

      TIP: Review your student loan history and total loan debt at least once per year on the Federal Student Aid site under Manage Loans in your account.  

      Make smart borrowing decisions each year you attend college.

      • Financial aid and student loan funding is not unlimited.
      • If your goal is to earn a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or higher, you need to know how much funding is available to you.
      • Choose to avoid student loan debt by paying out of pocket or taking advantage of alternative types of aid.

      TIP: Estimate your total student loan debt at graduation, and calculate your future monthly student loan payments using a Student Loan Calculator or Debt/Salary Wizard

      Know your repayment options, and select the right payment plan for you.

      Loan Repayment Facts

      Understanding Repayment
      Interest Rates and Fees
      Understanding Default
      Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
      Deferment and Forbearance

      Frequently asked questions

      When do I begin repaying my federal student loan?
      What’s a grace period?
      Can my grace period change?
      How much will I need to pay?
      How do I make my payments?
      Can I pay more than my required monthly payment?
      What should I do if I’m having trouble making my loan payment?
      What happens if I don’t make my student loan payment?
      Can I cancel my loan?

    • Loan Default

      If you do not make your loan payments, you risk going into default. A loan in default has serious consequences, and the federal government will take action to recover the money you owe. CWI's cohort default rate of 0.0% is also the current national average due to the pandemic pause on student loan payments.

      Avoiding Default

      The first step to avoiding loan default is to learn what default means and understanding the consequences. 

      Getting out of default

      Learn what to do should you find yourself in default on your student loans.

    • Exit Counseling

      Exit counseling is required for all College of Western Idaho (CWI) student loan borrowers who graduate, transfer, or drop below part-time enrollment status (6 credits). Parent PLUS loan borrowers are not required to complete exit counseling. 

      Complete Student Loan Exit Counseling

      • Once logged in, select Manage LoansComplete Exit Counseling, then Start.
      • From the list of schools, select College of Western Idaho. This will allow CWI to receive a notification of completion.
      • Finish all steps of the exit counseling, then choose Submit Counseling.

      It can take up to seven (7) business days for CWI to be notified of your completion. A temporary hold will be placed on your diploma and/or transcripts until confirmation is received. 

        Financial Aid questions click here