DePaul University > Admission & Aid > Financial Aid > Types of Aid > Federal Loans

Federal Loans

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Overview of the Federal Direct Loan Program

If you meet all federal eligibility requirements and complete a FAFSA, you, and possibly your parent, will be considered for the Federal Direct Loan Program. There are three types of Federal Direct Loans:

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a loan for undergraduate students. Eligibility is determined by your financial need from your FAFSA. Loan maximums vary according to your academic level and dependency status. The government pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half-time.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a loan for undergraduate or graduate/law students. Eligibility is not based on financial need from your FAFSA. Loan maximums vary according to your academic level and dependency status. The interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan accrues from the date of disbursement.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students (Parent PLUS) or graduate/law students (Grad PLUS). Generally, borrowers are eligible if they:

  • do not have an adverse credit history,
  • are not in default on a federal student loan, and
  • meet the other eligibility requirements outlined in the loan application.

The interest accrues from the date of disbursement. A borrower may request up to the amount of the cost of education minus other financial aid received, including any other educational loans. Visit the Federal Direct PLUS Loans page for more information.

  • Interest rates are determined each spring for new loans being made for the upcoming award year (July 1-June 30).
  • Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan.
  • There is a loan fee, known as the origination fee, deducted from your loan before you receive the funds.
  • Find more information about federal student loan interest rates or current loan fees at Federal Student Aid.

If you are a first-time Federal Direct Loan borrower, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and online Entrance Counseling before you can receive funds. Your individual loan requirements will appear as To Do items in your Campus Connect Tasks tile.

The MPN is a legal promise to repay the loan (including interest and fees). Entrance Counseling ensures you understand the terms and conditions of your loan and your rights and responsibilities. You’ll learn what a loan is, how interest accrues, your repayment options, and how to avoid delinquency and default.

A PLUS Loan borrower who applies with an endorser or appeals a credit decision is required to complete PLUS Credit Counseling.

The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement is recommended for all borrowers to understand how your loans affect your financial future.

Finally, all student borrowers must complete Exit Counseling to prepare for federal loan repayment. This requirement applies when you leave or fully withdraw from school.

Undergraduate Students

Your Federal Direct Loan offer is calculated based on your academic grade level at the time of awarding. If your grade level changes after you are awarded, and you wish to be considered for additional loan funding based on that change, please complete the Request to Adjust Federal Loans, available on the Loan Forms webpage. Here are the maximum loan amounts:

Academic Level Dependency Status Maximum Subsidized Amount Unsubsidized Amount Annual combined maximum amounts a dependent undergraduate may borrow
(0-43 earned credit hours)
Dependent $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
(44-87 earned credit hours)
$4,500 $2,000 $6,500
(88+ earned credit hours)
$5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Freshman Independent $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior/Senior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Graduate/Law Students

Academic Level Unsubsidized Amount Annual maximum amounts a graduate/law may borrow
Any $20,500 $20,500

The above chart reflects graduate unsubsidized borrowing limits only. Refer to the PLUS Loans page for more information on Graduate PLUS Loans.

There are maximum lifetime limits you can borrow in subsidized and unsubsidized loans called the aggregate loan limit. Once you reach these limits, you can no longer borrow Federal Direct Loans.

Undergraduate students Dependent students $31,000 — No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Independent students $57,500— No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Graduate/Law students Independent students $138,500
  • Loan funds will be disbursed directly to your student account.
  • In general, you will receive an equal amount for each term.
  • You must be enrolled at least half time to receive a loan disbursement.
  • Loan funds are first used to pay tuition and other university expenses.
  • Any remaining credit, or excess amount, will be refunded based on your preference in Campus Connect.

Note: If your parent has borrowed a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, and a credit balance occurs as a result of their loan disbursement to your student account, the credit balance will be refunded based on the preference established by your parent. Visit our Federal Direct Parent PLUS Credit Balance FAQ for more information.

You have the right to cancel any student loan within 14 days of disbursement. If you would like to request the cancellation of a disbursed loan, contact the Office of Financial Aid at DePaul Central. Please remember that cancellation of your student loan disbursements will remove credits already applied to your account and, therefore, may result in a balance due. This balance will be your responsibility.

All federal student loans obtained by you or your parent are reported to and tracked in the My Aid section of your Federal Student Aid account. Log in using your Federal Student Aid ID username and password. It can take up to six weeks for newly disbursed loans to reflect on your account. Your loan records are accessible to all authorized users, including schools, student loan guaranty agencies, lenders, federal agencies and other authorized users. Only federal loan information is reported to Federal Student Aid (formerly National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)). Private educational loan information is not reported to Federal Student Aid. You should reach out to your loan servicer for more details.