Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid
Types of Financial Aid - Federal

Interest Rates, Fees and Limits

The Federal Direct Loan is a guaranteed student loan which may be subsidized, unsubsidized, or a combination of both subsidized and unsubsidized. Interest rates differ depending on whether you are an undergraduate or graduate/professional student and the time frame that you borrow the loan. The federal government sets interest rates for the Direct Loan each July 1st for the upcoming academic year.

Interest Rates and Loan Fees:

  • Undergraduate students: The fixed interest rate for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2015 and before July 1, 2016 is 4.29%.
  • Graduate/professional students: The unsubsidized fixed interest rate for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2015 and before July 1, 2016 is 5.84%.
  • Origination Fees: The Direct Loan has an origination fee that is deducted from each loan disbursement you receive. See the chart for origination fee amounts.

Subsidized Loan:

  • The subsidized loan is a need-based loan available only to undergraduate students.
  • The federal government pays the interest on the subsidized loan while you are in school at least half-time (6 credits). NOTE: Undergraduate borrowers of subsidized loans disbursed between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014 are responsible for any interest that accumulates during the six-month grace period.
  • You can borrow up to your financial need as determined by the federal financial aid formula or up to the program maximum, whichever is less.

Unsubsidized Loan:

  • The unsubsidized loan is not based on need. Interest accrues beginning the date of disbursement, during the in-school period, the grace period, and periods of repayment or deferment.
  • The interest may be paid during the in-school period or deferred. Students are encouraged to pay the interest while in school to avoid capitalization of interest. Deferment of interest payments will capitalize interest (add your interest to the principal amount of the loan) and will increase the amount of your loan making your loan more expensive.

Loan Limits

Direct Loan Limits per Grade Level Dependent Student Independent Student
Grade level 1 (0-29 semester credits completed) $5,500 $9,500
Grade level 2 (30-59 semester credits completed) $6,500 $10,500
Grade levels 3 or 4 and 5 (post-baccalaureate) $7,500 $12,500
Grade levels 6 or 7 (graduate student)   $20,500

The maximum aggregate Direct Loan limits are specified by federal law. Federal regulations stipulate that a student cannot receive financial aid in excess of the cost of attendance. Therefore, some students are not able to borrow the full amounts listed.

  • Dependent Undergraduate: $31,000 (only $23,000 subsidized)
  • Independent Undergraduate: $57,500 (only $23,000 subsidized)
  • Graduate and Professional Students: $138,500


Return to the Loans Overview Page

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