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Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans) are self-help government loans that must be repaid with interest. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender. Students are required to be enrolled at least half time (6 hours for undergraduate students and 5 hours for graduate students). Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. For more information visit the Federal Student Aid page about federal loans.


Students can also receive a loan overview from the Federal Student Aid Student Loan website. Should a student drop below half time for any reason, they must complete student loan exit counseling through the Federal Student Aid Loan website.



No. The FAFSA is the application for Federal Direct Loans.

Only for first-time borrowers. First-time borrowers must complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This will require the student’s FSA ID. If these steps cannot be confirmed by the UAFS Financial Aid Office, loan funds will not be disbursed to the student account.

There are three time periods associated with Federal Direct Loans:

  • In-School Deferment
  • Grace Period
  • Repayment


While a student is enrolled at least half time, direct loans are in an In-School Deferment status. This means students are not required to make payments on these loans during this time. Half-time enrollment at UAFS is a minimum of 6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students.

Once a student drops below half-time enrollment for any reason (less than 5-6 credit hours, fully withdrawing, degree completion, etc.) the outstanding direct loans will enter a grace period of six (6) months. If the student were to re-enroll at least half time before the end of the grace period, that student’s federal loans may re-enter In-School Deferment. However, if the student does not re-enroll at least half time, that student’s federal loans will enter Repayment. Once a student enters Repayment, that student no longer has a grace period, even if they re-enroll at least half time later.

Once a student has exhausted their grace period, that student is required to begin making payments monthly for any federal loans that the student has outstanding.

The Cohort Default Rate (CDR) is the percentage of a school’s borrowers who enter repayment on certain Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans during a particular federal fiscal year (FY), Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, and default or meet other specified conditions before the end of the second following fiscal year. You can find UAFS’s current CDR rate by visiting UAFS’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) webpage.


Types of Federal Direct Loans

There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: Federal Direct Subsidized and Federal Direct Unsubsidized.


The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan (sub loan) is a need-based loan, based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Cost of Attendance (COA). Interest begins accruing with the first disbursement to the student account. However, the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest that accrues while the student is enrolled at least half time and during the student’s grace period.
NOTE: If a sub loan was disbursed to you from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014, the borrower is responsible for any interest that accrues for any grace period on that sub loan.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (unsub loan) is not need-based, but is a loan that must be repaid with interest. Interest begins accruing with the first disbursement to the student account, and the student is responsible for any interest that accrues.