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Activate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Loans


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

Students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the basic eligibility requirements outlined above, will have Federal Direct Student Loans offered as part of Central Michigan University's financial aid determination process.  Complete information on the Federal Direct Student Loan Program is available from the Federal Student Aid website.  

First-time borrowers need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. 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 student bill after you complete these requirements.

* If you have technical difficulty signing the MPN, please contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

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, 2023 and prior to July 1, 2024.

Type of Direct LoanFixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loan for undergraduate students5.05%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan for undergraduate students5.05%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students7.05%

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). The fee will be taken out of the gross amount of your loan when the funds are disbursed to the school.  The Department of Education provides additional information on Federal Direct Student Loan interest rates and origination fees

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 differ.

  • 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).

How do I get my parent loan?

Your parent needs to complete a Parent Loan Application. The steps necessary to receive this loan are detailed on Activate Federal Parent Loan (PLUS) page.