Eligibility:  To be eligible for Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program
  • Be enrolled half time (6 credits for undergraduates and 5 for graduates)
  • Meet the minimum requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Not be in default on previous federal loans

How to Apply:

First-time borrowers need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note at studentaid.gov. In most cases, you will only need to complete these items once during your college career.

Your Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans will appear as a credit on your tuition bill after you complete these requirements.

  • Complete your loan counseling requirement by logging onto studentaid.gov and open "Complete Loan Entrance Counseling"
  • Sign a MPN* (preview a pdf copy of the MPN before you begin) by logging onto studentaid.gov and open "Complete a Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note /MPN)"

*If you have technical difficulty signing the MPN, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Student Loan Support Center at 800-557-7394.

Comparison of Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

Direct Subsidized Loan

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Based on financial needNot based on financial need

The federal government pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled in school at least half-time.

Interest begins accumulating as soon as funds are disbursed until the loan is paid in full.

Accrued interest will be added to the balance of the loan. (You are not required to pay the interest while you are in school, but we recommend that you do, if possible.)

Interest Rates

Due to the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, Direct Loans interest rates will be tied to the financial market. Under the new interest rate structure, rates will be determined each June for new loans and will be fixed for the life of the loan. The rates are calculated using a 10-year Treasury Note Index plus an add-on amount for each loan program and include interest rate caps.

The following fixed interest rates are for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and prior to July 1, 2022.

Direct Subsidized Loan for undergraduate students3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan for undergraduate students3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students5.28%

Origination Fees

The loan origination fee is a fee charged by your lender upon entering into a loan agreement to cover the cost of processing the loan. This agreement will be made when you sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentaid.gov. The fee will be taken out of the gross amount of your loan when the funds are disbursed to the school.

Net vs. Gross Amount of Loan

Your Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan will appear on the financial aid portal and billing statement; however, the loan amounts will be different.

The loan amount on the Financial Aid Portal is the gross amount.

The billing statement will reflect the net amount after the loan origination fees have been deducted.

Once you have accepted your loan, the funds will automatically disburse to your student account after classes begin.

Example 1

You are awarded a $2,750 Direct Subsidized Loan for one semester:

$2,750 is your gross loan amount.

$2,721 is your net loan amount that will disburse to your student account (gross amount minus the origination fee).

Example 2

You are awarded a $1,000 Direct Unsubsidized Loan for one semester:

$1,000 is your gross loan amount.

$990 is your net loan amount that will disburse to your student account (gross amount minus the origination fee).


Your parent needs to complete a Parent Loan Application. This PLUS application is completed online at https://studentaid.gov/ . The steps necessary to receive this loan are detailed on the following link.