Federal student loans

If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest. Loans currently offered by the federal government include:

Federal loan program Loan details
(subject to change)
Annual award
(subject to change)
Direct Subsidized Loan
  • For undergraduate students who are enrolled at
    least half time and demonstrate financial need
  • For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020
    and before July 1, 2021, interest rate is 2.75%
  • Student is not usually charged interest on the
    loan during certain periods of deferment
  • The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is the
    lender; payment is owed to ED
  • $3,500–$5,500, depending on grade level and
    dependency status
  • Annual loan limits:
    — Up to $3,500 for first-year undergraduate
    — Up to $4,500 for second-year undergraduate
    — Up to $5,500 for remaining undergraduate years
  • For total lifetime limit, go to studentaid.gov/sub-unsub
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • For undergraduate and graduate students who
    are enrolled at least half time; financial need is
    not required
  • For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020,
    and before July 1, 2021:
    — 2.75% interest rate for undergraduate students,
    and
    — 4.30% interest rate for graduate and
    professional students
  • Student is responsible for interest during all
    periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
  • $5,500–$20,500 (less any subsidized amounts received
    for same period), depending on grade level and dependency status
  • Annual loan limits:
    — Up to $6,000 for first-year undergraduate
    (determined by dependency status)
    — Up to $6,000 for second-year undergraduate
    (determined by dependency status)
    — Up to $7,000 for remaining undergraduate years
    (determined by dependency status)
    — Up to $20,500 for graduate/professional students
  • For total lifetime limit, go to studentaid.gov/sub-unsub
Direct PLUS Loan
  • For parents of dependent undergraduate
    students and for graduate or professional
    students; financial need is not required
  • Student must be enrolled at least half time and
    must be either a dependent undergraduate
    student for whom a parent is taking out a Direct
    PLUS Loan or a graduate or professional student
    who is receiving a Direct PLUS Loan
  • For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020,
    and before July 1, 2021, interest rate is 5.30%
  • Borrower must not have negative credit history
  • Borrower is responsible for interest during all
    periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
  • Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other
    financial aid student receives; no minimum amount
  • For Direct PLUS Loan details and updates, visit
    studentaid.gov/plus

For up-to-date federal student loan rates and information, visit studentaid.gov