Student Financial Services Center

Federal Direct Loans

There are two types of Federal Direct Loans.  The subsidized loan is based on financial need; the federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during periods of deferment.  The unsubsidized loan is not need based; the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues during periods of enrollment and/or deferment.  Students may choose to pay the interest as it accrues or to allow the interest to capitalize.  Students may have eligibility for subsidized and/or unsubsidized Direct Loans.

Criteria: Students must be enrolled at least half time in the semester in which the loan is received.  For an undergraduate student, the minimum number of billable credits to be considered half time is six.  For a graduate student, the minimum is five.  Students must also meet the Satisfactory Progress Policy requirements.

Amount: Annual limits are contingent on grade level and dependency status:

    A dependent undergraduate student may borrow up to $5,500 per academic year as a freshman, $6,500 per academic year as a sophomore, and $7,500 per academic year as a junior or senior; the cumulative maximum is $31,000.*

    An independent undergraduate student may borrow up to $9,500 per academic year as a freshman, $10,500 per academic year as a sophomore, and $12,500 per academic year as a junior or senior; the cumulative maximum is $57,500.*

    A graduate student may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year; the cumulative maximum is $138,500.

     *No more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized

Interest and Fees: For loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018:
Interest rate:    

Subsidized: fixed at 5.045 percent

Unsubsidized: fixed at 5.045 percent

Unsubsidized Graduate: fixed at 6.595 percent

Loan origination fee: 1.062 percent of amount borrowed; the fee is deducted prior to disbursement, so the actual amount received will be less than the amount to be repaid.

Federal Servicing Centers: 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.  To confirm which center is servicing the loan, log onto the National Student Loan Database.  To view the current servicing centers contracted by the Dept of Education, click here.

Proration: Prorating is required for undergraduate students only. The annual maximum loan amount an undergraduate student may borrow must be prorated when the student is enrolled in a program that is one academic year or more in length, but is in a remaining period of study that is shorter than a full academic year (eg, senior graduating in December).

The loan amount is determined by multiplying the annual loan limit for the student's grade level by the lesser of these two fractions:

Number of credit hours enrolled in the program or 1
30   2


Maximum Eligibility Period: For students borrowing Federal Direct Loans for the first time on/after July 1st, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans.  In general, students may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of their program.  For more information regarding the 150% limitation on Direct Subsidized Loans, please click here.

Repayment: Repayment of principal begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.  Multiple repayment plans are available.

Exit Counseling: Borrowers of Federal Direct Loans are required to complete Exit Counseling when they graduate, withdraw, or otherwise cease to attend school at least half-time. 

Other: For additional information, please visit the Department of Education's website and click on the Direct Loan Basics for Students or visit the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and Direct Loan Exit Counseling sites.

Accepting your loans:

  1. Accept (or decline) your loan. Log on to, select the Financial Aid tab and appropriate school year, and then click View/Accept Awards. Select accept (or decline), then submit your decision.
  2. Once you have accepted the Direct Loan, you will be prompted to complete the Direct Loan Request Form.
  3. First Time borrowers must complete entrance counseling before funds can be disbursed. Complete your counseling by logging in with your FSA ID at and clicking on Complete Loan Counseling, Select Entrance Counseling, not Financial Awareness Counseling. The counseling session will take about 30 minutes to complete.
  4. You will be notified via email when your Master Promissory Note (MPN) is ready. It usually takes a few days after completing the above steps. You will need your FSA ID to complete the MPN at