Federal Direct Loans are available to eligible undergraduate and graduate borrowers.

  • Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and eligibility is determined based on the cost of attendance, less other aid the student is receiving.
  • Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during eligible periods of deferment or forbearance.
  • Unsubsidized loans begin to accrue interest when the loan is disbursed to the student’s account.
  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time in order to be eligible. Half-time for an undergraduate student is six semester hours; and five hours for a graduate or professional student.
  • Repayment is deferred as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time. After a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time, a six-month grace period begins. Repayment begins at the end of the six-month grace period.
  • The interest rate is a fixed rate for the life of the loan and caps at 8.25%.
  • A variety of repayment plans are available. The standard repayment period is 10 years, but may extend to as much as a 30-year period.

There are annual and lifetime limits that apply to undergraduate and graduate borrowers. Most undergraduate borrowers qualify for a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans are not available for graduate or professional students. Because eligibility is based on cost of attendance minus other aid the student is receiving, a student may not qualify for the annual maximum loan amount each year.

Annual Federal Direct Loan Limits

Maximum Annual Award for Dependent Student

ClassificationMaximum Annual Award for Dependent Student
Freshman $5,500
Sophomore $6,500
Junior/Senior $7,500

Maximum Annual Award for Independent Student

ClassificationMaximum Annual Award for Independent Student
Freshman $9,500
Sophomore $10,500
Junior/Senior $12,500
Graduate $20,500
Medical, Dental, Optometry *$47,167

*Limit varies, based on length of academic year.

Lifetime Federal Direct Loan Limits

ClassificationSubsidized Lifetime LimitTotal Lifetime Limit (includes subsidized and unsubsidized loans)
Dependent undergraduate $23,000 $31,000
Independent undergraduate $23,000 $57,500
Graduate student $65,500 $138,500
Medical, Dental, Optometry $65,500 $224,000

For more information on Federal Direct loans, including repayment options, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

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Cost & Aid