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Federal Direct Loans For Undergraduate Students

Degree-seeking students enrolled at least half-time may borrow student loans through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Federal Direct loans are low-interest loans made available directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

Eligible students may borrow up to $5,500 their freshman year, $6,500 their sophomore year, and $7,500 for both their junior and senior years. Additional funds may be available for independent students or for students whose parents who are not eligible for Federal Direct PLUS Loans.

Types of Loans

Subsidized Loans

Subsidized loans are available to eligible undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need determined by filing the FAFSA.

Quick Facts:

  • Interest – Interest begins to accrue six months after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time.
  • Loan Availability – The amount of available subsidized loans is determined by the annual maximum loan for your grade level and your financial need.
  • Repayment Options – You will have a six-month grace period after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you are required to begin repayment.
       

Unsubsidized Loans

Unsubsidized loans are available to eligible undergraduate students, regardless of family income or demonstrated financial need.

Quick Facts:

  • Interest – Interest begins accruing the day the loan is paid to you until the day the loan is repaid in full.
  • Loan Availability – Unsubsidized loans are available if your estimated cost of attendance is greater than your financial aid and you have not reached your annual maximum loan limit based on your grade level.
  • Repayment Options – You have the option to pay the interest while in school or let the interest accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid. You will have a six-month grace period after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you are required to begin repayment.
        

Annual Borrowing Limits

The federal government sets limits on the amount of money a student can borrow.

Widener University awards students that have filed the FAFSA the maximum amount eligible based on the annual limits. The chart below shows the limits a student may borrow in one academic year. Independent students and dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan are eligible for additional funds.

Year in School Subsidized/Unsubsidized
Combined Maximum (A)
Subsidized Maximum (A) Additional Unsubsidized
Eligibility (B)
First Year (0-29 credits) $5,500 $3,500 $4,000
Second Year (30-59 credits) $6,500 $4,500 $4,000
Third Year (60-89 credits) $7,500 $5,500 $5,000
Fourth Year (90+ credits) $7,500 $5,500 $5,000

A – For all undergraduate students
B – For independent students and dependent students whose parents are denied a Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Applying For and Receiving Federal Direct Loans

  1. Create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Your FSA ID will be used to electronically sign your FAFSA and MPN.
  2. Complete the FAFSA.
  3. Accepted students will be notified if they qualify to receive a Federal Direct Loan in their financial aid award letter.
  4. E-sign the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  5. Complete Entrance Loan Counseling.
  6. Your Federal Direct Loan will be credited to your student account at the start of each semester as long as all other federal student aid eligibility requirements are met.
        

Reducing or Cancelling Loan Funds

If you wish to cancel or reduce your offer of a loan, you may do so by making a notation on your financial aid award letter and returning it to Financial Aid Services.

Exit Counseling

Prior to leaving or graduating from Widener, the federal government requires that students complete Exit Counseling.


For additional information, contact the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Center.