Federal student loan options

These loans are available through the Federal Direct Loan Program. You should always explore federal loans before considering private student loans.

  • Direct subsidized loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. There is no interest charged while an undergraduate student is in school at least half-time, during deferment (a period when loans are temporarily postponed), or during grace (the period, usually six months after you graduate or leave school, before you begin to make principal and interest payments).
  • Direct unsubsidized loans are federal loans that aren’t based on financial need. Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive. Interest is charged during all periods and will be capitalized (when unpaid interest is added to a student loan’s current principal), even when you’re in school, and during grace (the period, usually six months after you graduate or leave school, before you begin to make principal and interest payments) and deferment periods.
  • Direct PLUS Loans are unsubsidized federal loans for parents of dependent students and graduate/professional students. PLUS loans can help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance, less all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods and will be capitalized. This increases your total loan cost.

How to apply for Federal Direct Loans

Applying for financial aid, including a federal student loan, is free. All you have to do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to federal student loans, the FAFSA also determines your eligibility for other federal student aid like grants and work-study. You need to submit the FAFSA to receive federal student aid.

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This information was gathered on 7/18/2016 from https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.