Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department), though the entity you deal with, your loan servicer, can be a private business.

Direct Loans are generally awarded as part of a larger award package which may contain other types of aid as well, to help you meet the costs of attending Cuesta College. Visit our Federal Direct Student Loans information page for detailed information about eligibility requirements, loan types, interest rates, and maximum allowed annual and aggregate amounts.

Students who wish to acquire a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan are required to complete ALL of the following steps (consult the Direct Loan Checklist for more details):

  1. Submit a FAFSA

  2. Satisfy outstanding requirements

  3. Complete Online Entrance Counseling at

    • NOTE: If you are applying for a student loan for the 2015-16 aid year, print out the budget you complete during this counseling!
  4. Attend a face to face Direct Loan Workshop at Cuesta.

    • As part of our default prevention efforts, our office requires students to attend an in-person workshop every year that they apply for student loans.
    • If you are hoping to get a loan for the 2015-16 academic year, be aware that our process has changed in two important ways:
      • Students must sign up for workshops; AND
      • A printed copy of the budget you completed during Online Entrance Counseling is required to enter the in-person workshop. 
  5. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at you have already accrued more than $20,000 in student loan debt, you will also be required to submit a Loan Maximum Appeal form.

    • You will not be able to fill out an MPN until you have been awarded and a loan origination has been sent.  Loan originations are generally sent within a week of the award date.   

Note: The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). You may utilize the same MPN for up to 10 years. To e-sign your MPN, you will need the Department of Education PIN that you used to log in to complete the FAFSA. To apply for or re-establish a PIN, go to