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Federal Loan Funding Sources

Direct Loans are made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents of dependent students to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. Students must be registered for at least 6 credit hours in order to be eligible for the Federal Direct Loan Program. 

Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Loan Limits
Direct PLUS Loans
Interest Rates and Fees

Direct Subsidized Loans

Are for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period and during deferment periods.

Effective July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible for  Direct Subsidized Loans.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Direct Loan Limits

The maximum amount students can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans depends on their grade level and on whether they are dependent or independent students. The following table shows the maximum amount of money a student is eligible to borrow each academic year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:
Dependent Students Annual Loan Limits
First Year $5,500 (max of $3,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)
Second Year $6,500 (max of $4,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)
Third Year and beyond $7,500 (max of $5,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)

*or dependent student whose parent has been denied the Parent PLUS loan

Independent Students* Annual Loan Limits
First Year $9,500 (max of $3,500 subsidized/$6,000 unsubsidized)
Second Year $10,500 (max of $4,500 subsidized/$6,000 unsubsidized)
Third Year and beyond $12,500 (max of $5,500 subsidized/$7,000 unsubsidized)
Graduate or Professional $20,500 (all of which is unsubsidized effective July 1, 2012)
The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by your school and may be less than the maximum annual amounts shown in the chart above.

Below are the aggregate (total) limits for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:                                                                                                    
Aggregate Limits
Undergraduate Dependent $31,000 (no more than $23,000 in subsidized loans)
Undergraduate Independent* $57,500 (no more than $23,000 in subsidized loans)
Graduate or Professional $138,500 (no more than $65,500 in subsidized loans; this includes loans borrowed during undergraduate study)

Direct PLUS Loan

An unsubsidized loan for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.

Applicants may borrow up to the student's cost of attendance minus other financial aid awarded.  Borrowers must submit an application and a credit check will be performed on the borrower to establish credit worthiness. Loan funds are sent to the school and applied directly to the student's account. Parent borrowers begin repayment within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. Deferment options are available.  Inactive awards (no application submitted) will be removed from the financial aid award after 60 days.

Please visit the Forms and Applications page of the SFS Resource Center to complete a PLUS Loan Application
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Interest Rates and Fees

The 2013-14 interest rates and fees* for the federal direct loan programs are listed below for each award year. Due to federal sequestration, we expect loan fees to change each October. Federal student loan interest rates are determined each spring based on an index reate plus an add-on (Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013). The 2014-15 Interest rates were released on May 15, 2014 and are reflected below.
Loan Type Interest Rate (7/1/13-6/30/14) Interest rate (7/1/14-6/30/15) 2013-14 Fees (lOANS WITH FIRST DISBURSEMENT BETWEEN 12/1/2013 AND 9/30/2014) 2014-15 fEES (LOANS WITH FIRST DISBURSEMENT BETWEEN 10/1/2014 AND 9/30/2015)
Undergraduate Federal Direct Subsidized  3.86% fixed 4.66% fixed 1.072% 1.073%
Undergraduate Federal Direct Unsubsidized  3.86% fixed 4.66% fixed 1.072% 1.073%
Graduate Federal Direct Unsubsidized  5.41% fixed 6.21% fixed 1.072% 1.073%
Undergraduate/Graduate Federal PLUS Loans 6.41% fixed 7.21% fixed 4.288% 4.292%