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 (undergraduates only): is a loan for undergraduate students. Eligibility is determined by your FAFSA results and your undergraduate academic level. The government pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half-time. Loan maximums vary according to academic level and dependency status.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: is a loan for undergraduate or graduate/professional students. Eligibility is not based on your FAFSA results, but it is determined by your academic level. The interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan accrues from the date of disbursement. Loan maximums vary according to academic level and dependency status.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan: is a credit-based loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students (Parent PLUS) or graduate/professional 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).
  • Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
  • There is an origination fee deducted from your loan before you receive the funds.
  • Find more information about federal student loan interest rates or current origination fees at Federal Student Aid.

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

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s).

Counseling is to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming.

  • Entrance Counseling: If you have not previously received a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), the federal government requires you to complete this counseling to ensure that you understand the financial responsibilities and obligations you are accepting.
  • PLUS Credit Counseling: This will help graduate students and parents of undergraduate students understand the obligations associated with borrowing a PLUS loan and assist them in making careful decisions about taking on student loan debt.
  • Exit Counseling: Provides important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s).

The maximum subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts available vary according to your dependency status and academic level:

Undergraduate Students

Academic Level Dependency Status Maximum Subsidized Amount Unsubsidized Amount Annual combined maximum amounts a dependent undergraduate may borrow
Freshman Dependent $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Junior/Senior $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

Note: 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 in the Loan Forms section of our website.

Graduate/Professional Students

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

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/Professional 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 fourteen 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 on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). NSLDS loan records are accessible to all authorized NSLDS users, including schools, student loan guaranty agencies, lenders, federal agencies and other authorized users.  Only federal loan information is reported to NSLDS - private educational loan information is not reported to NSLDS.  You can view all your federal loan information at NSLDS by logging into the system with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID.