Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution.
With Direct Loans, you
- Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact-the Direct Loan Servicing Center--for everything related to the repayment of your loans, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
- Have online access to your Direct Loan account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.
As with all federal student aid, you apply for Direct Loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information on your FAFSA is transmitted to the schools that you list on the application, and those schools use the information to assess your financial need for student aid.
Direct Loans are generally awarded as part of a larger award package,which may contain other types of aid as well, to help you meet the costs of going to college or career school.
The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans:
- Subsidized: for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
- Unsubsidized: not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.
- PLUS: unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.
- Consolidation: Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan.
*Please Note: In order to receive a Direct Loan, you must be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours) in undergraduate-level courses or at least half time (5 credit hours) in graduate-level courses.
ATTENTION- Students Pursuing Alternate Certification or Add-On Certification:
Students pursuing Alternate Certification or Add-On Certification will ONLY qualify for student loans if the coursework is required for elementary or secondary teacher certification or recertification in the state where the student plans to teach. Optional courses that the student elects to take for professional recognition or advancement, and courses recommended by the school but not required for the certification, do NOT qualify. Financial assistance for both the Alternate Certifications and the Add-On Certifications are awarded at the undergraduate level.