The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program offers student loans to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. A subsidized loan is need-based and doesn't accrue interest while the student is enrolled in school. A unsubsidized loan is not based on need, and interest does accrue while the student is enrolled in school.
Undergraduate Student Borrowing Limits
- Freshman can borrow up to $5,500 per year, of which no more than $3,500 can be subsidized
- Sophomores can borrow up to $6,500 per year, of which no more than $4,500 can be subsidized
- Freshman can borrow up to $7,500 per year, of which no more than $5,500 can be subsidized
Graduate Student Borrowing Limits
All graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 per award year. Graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized loans.
2016 Interest Rates
- Undergrad Subsidized: 3.76%
- Undergrad Unsubsidized: 3.76%
- Graduate Unsubsidized: 5.31%
- Parent PLUS: 6.31%
- Graduate PLUS: 6.31%
All Direct Loans are subject to an origination fee. The origination fee is deducted from the loan before your school receives the funds.
- Subsidized: 1.069%
- PLUS: 4.276%
Lifetime Borrowing Limits
- Dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to $31,000, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized.
- Independent undergraduate students can borrow up to $57,500, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized.
- Graduate students can borrow up to $138,500.
- Professional students can borrow up to $224,000.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
- You must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- You must be enrolled in a program leading to your first bachelor’s degree
- You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- You must not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a repayment on federal grant