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. Loans must be accepted on your MyUCSC student portal no later than 10 business days prior to the end of your student's term of enrollment for an academic year. Awards not applied for and approved (including all required loan documents) by this time cannot be processed.  

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