Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Direct Loan Program offers two types of loans:
- Subsidized | This loan is need-based. Interest does not accrue while you are enrolled at least part-time. Payment of principal is deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time and for six months after your enrollment drops below half-time status.
- Unsubsidized | This loan is not need-based. Payment of the principal is deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time and for six months after your enrollment drops below half-time status. Interest on this loan begins accruing at the time of disbursement.
How to Apply
The first step in applying for a federal loan is to file the FAFSA. Once your FAFSA is submitted and processed, a financial aid award letter will be mailed to you. That letter includes your federal loan offer. You officially accept it by replying through your student portal or by mail.
If this is the first time the student has accepted a Federal Direct Loan, the student must also complete the following steps:
- Complete Loan Agreement for a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN) | When logging in, have the student's FSA User ID, password and the names and information of at least three references who live at different addresses ready. Make sure the MPN option for Federal Direct Loan MPN for students is selected. The MPN is valid for ten years. This step is waived for students who have an active MPN on file with the Department of Education.
- Complete Entrance Counseling | This step is required for every first-time borrower and waived for students who have received a Federal Direct Loan within the past year. When logging in, have the student's FSA User ID ready. Make sure the Entrance Counseling marked "required" is selected.
Federal Loan Limits
The maximum (combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized) annual limits for these loans are as follows:
|Grade Level||Subsidized||Additional Unsubsidized for Dependents||Total Annual Limit for Independents|
|Graduate||NA||NA||Up to $20,500 Unsubsidized|