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Federal Direct Loans

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General Information

Learn about the types of loans, what the fees and interest rates are, and annual and aggregate loan limits.

Types of Loans

  1. Subsidized Direct Loans: loans awarded on the basis of financial need, as determined by the results of the FAFSA. Generally, interest does not accumulate: 1) while you maintain an enrollment status of at least half-time, or 2) during periods of deferment. However, the subsidy can be lost under provisions in the 150% timeframe limitation. More information is available at Federal Student Aid and in this interactive document.
  2. Unsubsidized Direct Loans: loans awarded based on Cost of Attendance minus all other aid awarded. Interest accumulates from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

Fees and Interest Rates

Interest rates are set by federal regulation, effective as of July 1 of the academic year. Origination fees may be assessed.

  • Amounts listed on award letters do not have the origination fee deducted.
  • Direct loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2006 have variable interest rates and are subject to change annually. Check with your lender for the most current interest rate information.
  • Borrowers of subsidized Stafford Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 are once again eligible for an interest subsidy during the 6-month grace period. The subsidy during the grace period had been temporarily removed for the loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012 and before July 1, 2014.

Academic Year Effective: Interest Rate for Undergraduate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Interest Rate for Graduate Unsubsidized Loans
2018 - 2019 July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 5.05% 6.60%

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Loan Limits

Annual Loan Limits for Dependent Undergraduate Students

Classification / Credit Hours Subsidized / Unsubsidized Based Amount Additional Unsubsidized Total Amounts
Freshman / 0 - 29 $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Sophomore / 30 - 59 $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Junior / 60 - 89 $5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Senior / 90+ $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

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Annual Loan Limits for Independent Undergraduate Students

Classification / Credit Hours Subsidized / Unsubsidized Based Amount Additional Unsubsidized Total Amounts
Freshman / 0 - 29 $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore / 30 - 59 $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior / 60 - 89 $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Senior / 90+ $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

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Annual Loan Limits for Graduate Students

For Direct Loans made for periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012, subsidized Direct Loans will no longer be available for graduate students and professional students.

Loans for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012
Classification / Credit Hours Subsidized Based Amount Additional Unsubsidized Total Amounts
Graduate Student/Master's Degree $8,500 $12,000 $20,500
Loans for loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012
Classification / Credit Hours Subsidized Based Amount Unsubsidized Loan Maximum Total Amounts
Graduate Student/Master's Degree $0 $20,500 $20,500

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Aggregate Loan Limits for Direct Loans

  Combined Base Limit for Subsidized* and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans
(minus subsidized amounts)
Dependent Undergraduate Students
(whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan)
$23,000 $8,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduate Students
(and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan)
$23,000 $34,500 $57,500
Graduate and Professional Students $65,500
(including undergraduate Direct loans)
$73,000 $138,500

* Beginning July 1, 2013, subsidized loan eligibility is limited to 150 percent of the length of the student's academic program. More information is available at Federal Student Aid and in this interactive document.

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Learn how to meet federal direct loan eligibility requirements, steps you must complete to receive loan funds, and how to complete entrance counseling and your master promissory note (MPN).

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan, a student must meet each of the following criteria:

  1. Complete the FAFSA for the year in which they intend to receive aid,
  2. Be a degree-seeking student at FHSU,
  3. Be enrolled at least a half-time, and
  4. Have no other loans currently in default.

Further, the amount of the loans:

  • Subsidized Loan - cannot exceed a student's unmet need.
    (Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution - Other Aid = Unmet Need)
  • Unsubsidized Loan - cannot exceed the student's original need.
    (Cost of Attendance - Aid = Original Need)

If a student already has a bachelor's degree, they must also fulfill one of the following requirements (in addition to meeting the requirements listed above) to receive a Direct Loan:

  • Be admitted to Graduate School in a specific Master's degree program and enrolled in Graduate level courses. Notify our office when the process is complete.
  • Be completing prerequisite coursework. A prerequisite form must be completed by student and advisor. Please contact our office for a prerequisite form.
  • Be seeking a second undergraduate degree. Submit an advisor-signed copy of your degree summary. Contact the Registrar's Office for details.
  • Be enrolled in classes for teacher certification. Confirm with the Teacher Licensure Office, RH 220 or 785-628-4542, the status of your teacher licensure program then contact our office. Please note, coursework toward Library Media, School Counselor, and Building or District Leadership must be taken as a degree seeking student to receive aid.

Steps to Complete to Receive Loan Funds

  1. Accept the awarded Direct Loan online through TigerTracks.
  2. Complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN will allow you to borrow additional loans, based on the same Promissory Note, during the current year or subsequent years. Since the MPN does not specify a requested loan amount, refer to your most recent award letter. The amount you accepted is the amount you are borrowing for that academic year. The MPN is active for 10 years, unless revoked in writing to the lender, or if no disbursement is made within one year from the signature date.
  3. Complete Entrance Counseling.

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Graduating & Repaying your Loan

Learn about required loan exit counseling when you graduate, drop below halt-time status, or leave school, how to request an in-school deferment of your loan, your right to cancel your loan, repayment, and the penalties for defaulting on your loan.

Exit Counseling
When you graduate or leave school, you must complete loan Exit Counseling. This is a required process and will update you on your rights as a borrower as you begin payment.

In-School Deferment Request
Visit Federal Student Loan Servicing to find the form you need to defer your Federal loans.

Right to Cancel
If you wish to cancel all or a portion of your Direct or PLUS loan AFTER disbursement, you must do so within 14 days of the receipt date. Please contact Student Fiscal Services for specific instructions.

Repayment on Direct Loans begins six months after graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment status. The Direct Loan Program offers various types of Repayment Plans. Estimate your monthly payments on their Repayment Estimator page.

Penalties for Default
Visit our Defaults page for information about the consequences for failing to repay student loans.

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Borrower's Rights & Responsibilities

Learn about what actions trigger a duty to notify the Department of Education (DOE) and FHSU and your rights as a student borrower.

When to Notify the Department of Education (DOE) and FHSU
You must notify the DOE and your school if you do one of the following:

  • Graduate, withdraw from school, or drop below half-time status.
  • Transfer to another school.
  • Fail to enroll in school during the period for which the loan was intended.
  • Change your name, address, or employer (after graduation only).
  • Have any other status changes relevant to your loan.

Your Rights as a Student Borrower

  • Repay the loan at any time without penalty.
  • Receive a six-month grace period before beginning repayment.
  • Be notified by your lender in writing if your loans are sold or transferred for servicing.
  • Have your loan obligation forgiven if you die or become permanently disabled.
  • Defer repayment for a specified period of time (if you qualify).
  • Receive a copy of your disclosure statement and repayment schedule.

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