Federal Direct Loans are a kind of financial aid that allows students to borrow money directly from the federal government to help pay for their education. There are two types of Federal Direct Loans that a student may be eligible to receive: subsidized and unsubsidized.
A student can apply for Federal Direct Loans by completing and submitting their FAFSA for the school year in which they want to receive loan funds.
Once a student has been offered Federal Direct Loans as a part of their financial aid package, they can accept those loans by completing the following four-step process:
STEP ONE - Accept (or decline) your loan by logging on to your Financial Aid Summary page, and navigating to the 2024-2025 Current Financial Aid section. Click "View/Accept Awards" and follow the prompts to access Banweb.
STEP TWO - Once you have accepted the Direct Loan, you will be prompted to complete the Direct Loan Request Form.
STEP THREE - First-time borrowers must complete entrance counseling before funds can be disbursed. Complete your counseling by logging in with your FSA ID (the one used for the FAFSA) at studentaid.gov and clicking on Complete Entrance Counseling located under the Complete Aid Process tab. The counseling session will take about 30 minutes to complete. This is a one-time requirement and will not need to be completed in following aid years.
STEP FOUR - First-time borrowers are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You will be notified via email when your MPN is ready. You will need your FSA ID (the one used for the FAFSA) to complete the MPN. You will be asked to provide your permanent address, telephone number, driver’s license number (if you have one), and email address. You will also need the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two personal references who have known you for at least three years. References must have different addresses from one another, and one of the references should be a parent or legal guardian. The references have no obligation to the loan and are only contacted if your contact information is not current.
- The subsidized loan is based on financial need. The federal government does not charge interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during periods of deferment.
- The unsubsidized loan is not based on financial need. The federal government charges interest on the loan while the student is enrolled and during periods of deferment. Students may choose to pay the interest on an unsubsidized loan as itis charged or to allow the interest to be added to the balance of their loan.
The amount a student can borrow depends on their grade level and their FAFSA dependency status. If a student is enrolled in their final semester before graduation, the amount they are allowed to borrow may have to be prorated. The amount a student is allowed to borrow may also have to be adjusted if their total financial aid package, including their loans, is more than their cost of attendance.
The interest rate for Federal Direct Loans that are paid out between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024 is:
- Undergraduate Subsidized: fixed at 5.50%
- Undergraduate Unsubsidized: fixed at 5.50%
- Graduate Unsubsidized: fixed at 7.05%
- The loan origination fee for a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan disbursed between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2023 is 1.057 percent of the amount borrowed.
- This fee is charged by the federal government to cover the cost of processing the loan. The federal government deducts this fee prior to the loan paying out, so the actual amount the student receives from their Federal Direct Loan will be less than the amount they will have to repay.
Information about loans for students and parents will be reported to the National Student Loan Data System. That information will be accessible by authorized guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools.
The US Department of Education contracts with multiple centers to provide service for the Federal Direct Loan Program. Once the first Direct Loan is received, borrowers will be contacted by the servicer for that loan. The loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of the Direct Loan, and also on any subsequent Direct Loans that are received.
Borrowers of Federal Direct Loans are required to complete Exit Counseling when they graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment.
Students must start repaying their Federal Direct Loans starting six months after they graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Multiple repayment plans are available.