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There are four types of Direct Loans available:    

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. 
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.

If you are an undergraduate student: 

  • Up to $5,500 per year in Perkins Loans depending on your financial need, the amount of other aid you receive, and the availability of funds at your college or career school. 
  • $5,500 to $12,500 per year in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans depending on certain factors, including your year in college.

If you are a graduate student:

  • Up to $8,000 each year in Perkins Loans depending on your financial need, the amount of other aid you receive, and the availability of funds at your college or career school. 
  • Up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • The remainder of your college costs not covered by other financial aid in Direct PLUS Loans. Note: A credit check is required for a PLUS loan.

If you are a parent of a dependent undergraduate student:

  • The remainder of your child’s college costs that are not covered by other financial aid. Note: A credit check is required for a parent loan (called a PLUS loan). 

Source: Federal Student Aid Website, a part of the U.S. Department of Education,


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