Students and parents may borrow from the federal government to help pay for college. Federal loans offer some low interest rates and flexible repayment options.

Federal Direct Loan Programs

Federal Direct Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half time and can be one of the lowest-cost loan options. These loans are not credit based, and nearly all students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are eligible to borrow. Eligibility is dependent on general eligibility for federal financial aid (you do not necessarily have to have financial need), school cost, enrollment, and grade level.

There are two types of Federal Direct Loans available to students:

  • Direct Subsidized Loan is a need-based loan. Interest does not accrue while the student is in school.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not need-based. Interest does accrue while the student is in school.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan for parents and graduate students is a credit-based loan. Direct PLUS Loans can help pay for expenses not covered by other financial aid.

How Do I Apply for Federal Student Loans?

File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for ALL federal financial aid, including loans. Need help with your FAFSA? Visit FAME’s Filing the FAFSA page.

For the most up-to-date information regarding federal loan programs, including loan limits and interest rates, visit