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 Program
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 are eligible to borrow Direct Loans. Eligibility is dependent on 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.
The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for students with exceptional financial need. The loan is awarded by the financial aid office and the school is the lender. Unlike Direct Loans, Perkins Loan funds are limited and are not available at all schools.
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.
For the most up-to-date information regarding federal loan programs, including loan limits and interest rates, visit studentaid.ed.gov.
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? FAME offers online help and in-person FAFSA help sessions during January and February each year.