Types of Direct Loans

An overview of Direct Loan types and their annual and aggregate limits.

Types of US Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans), interests and amounts vary depending on whether a student is an undergraduate or a graduate.

For undergraduates

Types of Direct Loan Loan details
Direct Subsidised Stafford Loans (Direct Subsidised Loans)
  • For undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time and demonstrate financial need
  • Interest is 4.29%*
  • Origination fee is 1.068%**
  • Student is not charged interest on the loan while in school at least half-time and during deferment periods
  • The US Department of Education (ED) is the lender; payment is owed to ED
Direct Unsubsidised Stafford Loans (Direct Unsubsidised Loans)
  • For undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time
  • Interest is 4.29%*
  • Origination fee is 1.068%**
  • Student is responsible for interest during all periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • For a Parent of dependent undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time
  • Borrower must not have adverse credit history
  • Interest is 6.84%*
  • Origination fee is 4.272%**
  • Borrower is responsible for interest during all periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED

*These rates apply to all Direct Loans made on or after 1 July 2015 and before 1 July 2016.
**The fee applies to all Direct Loans first disbursed on or after 1 October 2015 and before 1 October 2016.

For graduates

Types of Direct Loans Loan details
Direct Unsubsidised Loan
  • For graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time
  • Interest is 5.84%*
  • Origination fee is 1.068%**
  • Student is responsible for interest during all periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
Direct PLUS Loan
  • For graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time
  • Borrower must not have adverse credit history
  • Interest is 6.84%*
  • Origination fee is 4.272%**
  • Borrower is responsible for interest during all periods
  • ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED

*These rates apply to all Direct Loans made on or after 1 July 2015 and before 1 July 2016.
**The fee applies to all Direct Loans first disbursed on or after 1 October 2015 and before 1 October 2016.

Annual limits for Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans (in USD)

Dependent undergraduates* Subsidised Loan Total Subsidised & Unsubsidised Loans
First year US$3,500 US$5,500
Second year US$4,500 US$6,500
Third year and beyond US$5,500 US$7,500

*Excluding dependent students whose parents cannot borrow Direct Parent PLUS Loan.

Independent undergraduates**
Subsidised Loan Total Subsidised & Unsubsidised Loans
First year US$3,500 US$9,500
Second year US$4,500 US$10,500
Third year and beyond US$5,500 US$12,500

**Including dependent students whose parents cannot borrow Direct Parent PLUS Loan.

Graduate
Subsidised Loan Total Subsidised & Unsubsidised Loans
First year US$0 US$20,500

Aggregate limits for Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans (in USD)

Student
Subsidised Loan Total Subsidised & Unsubsidised Loans
Dependent undergraduate*
US$23,000 US$31,000
Independent undergraduates**
US$23,000 US$57,500
Graduate
US$65,500 US$138,500

*Excluding dependent students whose parents cannot borrow Direct Parent PLUS Loan.
**Including dependent students whose parents cannot borrow Direct Parent PLUS Loan.