Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans

Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness benefits, which other education loans are not required to provide.

If you decide to borrow you must complete the following steps:

Step 1:  Accept your loan on MyUCSC student portal: https://my.ucsc.edu

Step 2: Complete the  Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov

Step 3: Sign your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov

For information on interest rates and loan fees click here.

Eligibility Requirements
  • You must file your FAFSA
  • You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree of certificate program at a participating school
  • You must be a permanent resident or U.S. Citizen
  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available only to undergraduate students who have financial need
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to both undergraduates and graduate or professional degree students regardless of financial need
Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Terms
  • The Direct Subsidized Loan is available to students with financial need
  • The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to students regardless of financial need
  • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on the Direct Subsidized Loan while the student is enrollled at least half-time
  • The borrower is responsible for paying interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan for any disbursed amount
  • Interest and processing fees for the year are determined annually on July 1
  • Loan servicer will be assigned by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Does not require a credit check
  • Processing fee deducted from each disbursement



Annual Borrowing Limits (Combined Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Limits):
Grade Level Dependent Student Independent Student


$5,500 ($3,500 sub max)

$9,500 ($3,500 sub max)


$6,500 ($4,500 sub max)

$10,500 ($4,500 sub max)


$7,500 ($5,500 sub max)

$12,500 ($5,500 sub max)

Graduate Students



Cumulative Lifetime Limits (Aggregate Limits):

Undergraduate Dependent Students

$31,000 ($23,000 sub max)

Undergraduate Independent Students

$57,500 ($23,000 sub max)

Graduate Students


See Also