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Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid administers financial aid from federal, state, institutional, and private resources according to the Federal guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The university works with students and families in determining available funds to help meet the cost of education at the University of Saint Francis.

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Federal Direct Loans

What is a federal Direct loan? 

According to Federal Student Aid, a federal Direct loan is "A federal student loan, made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, for which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools."

What is the difference between Direct subsidized and unsubsidzed loans?

There are two types of federal Direct Loans available to students, subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized Direct Loans

Unsubsidized Direct Loans

How do I apply for a Direct Loan?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is used as the application for the Direct loan program.  Students must have a valid FAFSA on file and be enrolled at least half time to be eligible to borrow the Direct loan.  Students will be notified of their Direct loan eligibility via the award notification. If students wish to borrow all or a portion of their Direct loan(s), they will need to complete all the steps listed below. 

Steps to borrowing a Direct Loan

  1. File a valid FAFSA with USF's school code 001832
  2. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on
  3. Complete Entrance Counseling on

Once the MPN is signed, it is valid for 10 years while attending USF. After the MPN and entrance counseling are completed, students will automatically have loan funds they are eligible for disbursed to their student accounts each year unless they notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing that they wish to decline all or a portion of the loan.

Please take a look at this video tutorial to help guide you through completing your Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note for your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct loans.

Looking for a quick guide to help you understand your next steps to borrowing your Direct loan? Check out our Next Steps Guide.

When will I have to repay a Direct loan?

Students are not required to make payments on Direct Loans while they are enrolled at least half-time (at least 6 credit hours per semester). Students have a six month grace period prior to entering repayment on Federal Direct loans. The grace period begins when the student graduates, drops below half-time, or ceases to be enrolled.

What are the interest rates for Direct loans?

Interest rates are established annually for each academic year, and this interest rate will apply for the life of the loan. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans have different interest rates. Undergraduate and graduate borrowers will also have different interest rates. Interest rates may vary from year to year, but undergraduate loans have a cap of 8.25% and graduate loans have a cap of 9.50%. 

Subsidized Loans

Unsubsidized Loans

How much can I borrow in Direct loans? 

Undergraduate (Dependent Students)
Completed Credit Hours
Subsidized Maximum
Unsubsidized Maximum
Total Annual Direct Limit
1-29 $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
30-59 $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
60+ $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

"Dependent" students have an undergraduate aggregate lifetime limit of $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which may be Subsidized) for Direct loan borrowing.

Undergraduate (Independent Students)
Completed Credit Hours
Subsidized Maximum
Unsubsidized Maximum
Total Annual Direct Limit
1-29 $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
30-59 $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
60+ $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

"Independent" students have an undergraduate aggregate limit of $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which may be Subsidized) for Direct loan borrowing.

Graduate (Independent Students)
Completed Credit Hours
Subsidized Maximum
Unsubsidized Maximum
Total Annual Direct Limit
0+ Not eligible $20,500 $20,500

Graduate students have an aggregate lifetime limit of $138,500 in the Direct loan program.

150% Direct Loan Subsidized Eligibility

As of July 1, 2013 first time borrowers of subsidized Direct loans will have a limit to their subsidized loan eligibility. In addition to qualifying for subsidized loans, students will now also be limited to borrowing 150% of their program’s length in subsidized loans.

For example, if Johnny Cougar is enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree (4 academic year) program at USF, then he will have 6 academic years of subsidized loan eligibility because 150% of 4 years = 6 years.

USF Degree Programs Include

Subsidized loan eligibility is based on a student’s current program. If Johnny Cougar first enrolls in a 2 year program and then switches to a 4 year program, his subsidized loan eligibility would increase from 3 academic years to 6 academic years. However, if Johnny was first enrolled in a 4 year program and then switched to a 2 year program, his subsidized loan eligibility would decrease from 6 academic years to 3 academic years.

Students who are enrolled part time and receive a full academic year of subsidized loans will only have one half year of subsidized eligibility counted against their 150% eligibility.

Once students have used all of their 150% subsidized loan eligibility, they will still be eligible for Direct unsubsidized loans up to their maximum annual and lifetime limit. Students who run out of subsidized loan eligibility will also be responsible for paying any interest that accrues on their Direct subsidized loans after meeting the 150% limit.

For more information please review Federal Student Aid’s announcement on this subject.