Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program are low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Eligibility is not based upon need. The student is responsible for paying all interest charges, and interest begins to accrue the day the loan is disbursed. Repayment of the unsubsidized loan may be deferred during in-school, grace, and deferment periods; however, the accrued interest may be capitalized. Interest rates and fees are shown in the chart below.
Eligible medical students may borrow up to $47,167 per twelve-month academic year from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program.
The combined Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized aggregate loan limit for eligible medical students is $224,000. The aggregate loan amounts include any Federal Stafford Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, Federal Direct Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans received as an undergraduate and/or graduate student.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students can use to help pay education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based upon need. The student is responsible for paying all interest charges, and interest begins to accrue the day the loan is disbursed. Repayment of the PLUS loan may be deferred during in-school and deferment periods; however, the accrued interest may be capitalized. Interest rates and fees are shown in the chart below.
Annually, eligible medical students may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid received. There is no aggregate limit.
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history or documenting, to the U.S. Department of Education’s satisfaction, extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history. See Adverse Credit History & PLUS Loans for more information.
Adverse Credit History & PLUS Loans
A professional student with an adverse credit history is prohibited from obtaining a PLUS Loan unless he or she meets additional criteria. The Department of Education obtains a credit report for each loan applicant from at least one national credit bureau. Your credit history may be considered adverse if you are experiencing any of the following credit conditions:
- Bankruptcy discharge within the past five years.
- Voluntary surrender of personal property to avoid repossession within the last five years.
- Repossession of collateral within the last five years.
- Foreclosure proceedings started.
- Foreclosure within the last five years.
- Conveying your real property that is subject to a mortgage (by deed) to your lender to avoid foreclosure (deed in lieu of foreclosure).
- Accounts currently 90 days or more delinquent.
- Collection accounts that have been placed in collection during the two years preceding the date of the credit report with a balance greater than zero.
- Charge-offs/write-offs that have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the credit report with a balance greater than zero.
- Wage garnishment within the last five years.
- Defaulting on a loan, even if the claim has been paid.
- Lease or contract terminated by default.
- County/state/federal tax lien within the past five years.
Applicants cannot be rejected for a PLUS Loan because they have no credit history—i.e., the absence of a credit history cannot be construed as an adverse credit history. For more details on adverse credit history, go to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/faqs.action, click “credit check,” and click “what is considered adverse credit.”
Someone with an adverse credit history can qualify for a PLUS Loan by securing an endorser who doesn’t have an adverse credit history. Instead of securing an endorser, an applicant may appeal a determination of adverse credit history to the Department by documenting extenuating circumstances (see https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/whatYouNeed.action?page=credit). Note: The Department makes the final decision on whether to make a loan to a student.
A student with an adverse credit history must also complete the Department’s credit counseling for borrowers called PLUS Counseling.
Interest Rates and Fees
|Interest Rates for Direct Loans First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2017|
|Loan Type||Borrower Type||Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/17 and before 7/1/18||Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/18 and before 7/1/19|
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergraduate||4.45%||5.05%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergraduate||4.45%||5.05%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Graduate or Professional||6%||6.60%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||Parents and Graduate or Professional Students||7%||7.60%|
|Loan Type||First Disbursement Date||Loan Fee|
|Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans||On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18||1.066%|
|On or after 10/1/18 and before 10/1/19||1.062%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18||4.264%|
|On or after 10/1/18 and before 10/1/19||4.248%|
*Loans first disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2017, have different loan fees.
For more information on Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/.
The National Student Loan Data System
As a consumer, you need to know that the U.S. Department of Education will post your Federal Direct Loan data on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which is accessible by guarantee agencies, lenders and institutions which the Department of Education has authorized access to this data.
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the national database of information about loans and grants awarded to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants during their complete life cycle, from aid approval through disbursement, repayment, deferment, delinquency, and closure. At any time, students can obtain a free report of their federal student aid history by logging into https://nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/ and clicking on “My Data.”
In order to qualify for federal student aid funds, a student must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study. Enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home institution may be considered enrollment in the home institution for purposes of applying for federal student aid. The student must be carrying an academic workload that is as least one-half of the minimum program requirements for a full-time student.
Application – FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the Department of Education’s official application for federal student aid programs.
The amount the student is expected to pay, referred to as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is determined by the information submitted on the FAFSA. As a graduate/professional student, you are considered an independent student, and only your (and your spouse’s, if you are married) information is included in the EFC calculation. Parental information is not required.
When a student submits a FAFSA, the information is sent to the Department of Education’s Central Processing System (CPS). CPS generates two reports, a Student Aid Report (SAR) and an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR). The SAR is sent to the student, and the ISIR is sent to institutions selected by the student on the FAFSA. ACOM then uses the ISIR to determine a student’s eligibility for various financial aid programs.
Title IV Eligibility Requirements
In order to qualify for federal student aid, students are required to meet certain federal requirements which include but are not limited to the following:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen. Eligible noncitizen is defined as a U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
- “Asylum Granted”
- “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)”
- “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
- Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder
- “Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)
- Have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
- Most male students must be registered with Selective Service to receive federal student aid. You also must register if you are a male and are not currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. If you are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau, you are exempt from registering. You can call Selective Service toll-free at 1-888-655-1825 for general information about registering, or register online at https://www.sss.gov/ or via the FAFSA.
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program. A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized education credential offered by that institution.
- Be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Possess a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.
- You must not be in default on a federal student loan, and you cannot owe money on a federal student grant.
- You must not be convicted of the sale or possession of illegal drugs while receiving federal student aid.
- If applying for a Federal Direct Grad PLUS loan, you must not have an adverse credit history.
- Sign a statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) certifying that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.
Drug Convictions & Title IV Eligibility
Students convicted of a federal or state offense of selling or possessing illegal drugs may not be eligible
for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study). Students who answer “Yes” to the drug conviction
question on the FAFSA will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center to determine if the
conviction affects eligibility for aid. In addition, if the Financial Aid Office is notified that a student has
been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs during the academic year, all federal student aid will
be suspended immediately.
Convictions only count against a student for aid eligibility purposes (FAFSA question 23c) if they were for
an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal
student aid—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period, unless the student was denied
federal benefits for drug trafficking by a federal or state judge. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set
aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when the student was
a juvenile, unless the student was tried as an adult.
The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds,
depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether
the student had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes
convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.
|Possession of Illegal Drugs||Sale of Illegal Drugs|
|1st Offense||1 year from date of conviction||2 years from date of conviction|
|2nd Offense||2 years from date of conviction||Indefinite period|
|3rd Offense||Indefinite period||Indefinite period|
If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs,
and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for
the longer period. Schools must provide each student who becomes ineligible
for FSA funds due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written
notice of his loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he can become
A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends
(i.e., for a 1st or 2nd offense); or when he or she successfully completes
a qualified drug rehabilitation program that includes passing two
unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions
will make him ineligible again.
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain eligibility
after completing any of the following options:
- Successfully completing a rehabilitation program, as described below, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program);
- Having the conviction reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record; or
- Successfully completing two unannounced drug tests which are part of a rehab program (the student does not need to complete the rest of the program).
A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
- Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal,
state, or local government program;
- Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally
or state-licensed insurance company;
- Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government
agency or court; or
- Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed
hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.
In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the Financial Aid Office the date of the conviction and if (s)he has completed a drug rehabilitation program.