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Loan types

Explore the types of US Federal Student Aid loans that you may be eligible for.

If you meet the eligibility criteria for US Federal Student Aid, there are several types of loan you may qualify for.

Direct Subsidised

  • Direct Subsidised Loans are based on financial need and are available to eligible undergraduate students.
  • The US government pays the interest while students are enrolled at least half time, during the six-month grace period, or during an authorised deferment period.

Direct Unsubsidised

  • Direct Unsubsidised Loans are not based on financial need and are available to eligible undergraduate and graduate students.
  • You are responsible for paying the interest from the time the funds are disbursed.
  • Interest may be paid as it comes due, or it may be postponed and allowed to accumulate while you are enrolled at least half time, during the six-month grace period or during an authorised deferment period.
  • Interest accrues on postponed payments and is capitalised (added to your principal loan balance).

Direct PLUS

There are two types of PLUS Loans: Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS. These loans are not based on financial need and can be up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus all other aid.

Parent PLUS

  • For eligible parents, if their child is a dependent undergraduate student.
  • Borrower must not have adverse credit history. A credit check will be conducted.
  • Permission must be given before funds can be disbursed to your child to meet living costs.
  • Parent borrowers must start repayments once funds have been disbursed, unless a deferment is requested while your child is enrolled at least half time.

Grad PLUS

  • For eligible graduate students to cover the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and all other awarded aid, after applying for other Direct Loans.
  • Borrower must not have adverse credit history. A credit check will be conducted.
  • Repayments can be deferred while in school, but start immediately once students leave university or drop below half-time study.

For further information on loan types, visit the US Department of Education's website.

Private loan

  • Private loans are available from private non-government lenders.
  • Approval is based on credit history.
  • You can use private education loans to borrow the difference between the maximum cost of attendance and any Federal or other loans and scholarships borrowed.
  • It is advisable to explore the options of US Federal Student Loans first, as Private loans are less favourable than Federal loans due to higher interest rates and fewer associated benefits.
  • For private loan interest rates, contact your private loan lender.

Current interest rates and origination fees

Go to the US Department of Education's website for information on current interest rates and loan origination fees for US Department of Education loans.

Borrowing amounts and limits

Borrowing amounts

The US government specifies the maximum a student may be eligible to borrow through Direct Loans. Depending on your eligibility assessment and cost of attendance calculation, the amounts awarded may be lower than the maximum amounts specified by the US government.

The eligible US loan amounts are determined by the cost of attendance minus any other aid (estimated financial assistance) you are receiving (other loans, grants, scholarships).

We recommend students consider paying interest while in school (unsubsidised and Grad PLUS loans) to reduce the total debt when leaving the University.

Direct Loan borrowing limits

Annual borrowing limits for dependent undergraduate students

Grade level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidised loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$) Annual loan limit (US$)
First-year undergraduate (freshman) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second-year undergraduate (sophomore) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third-year and beyond undergraduate (junior, senior) $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

Annual borrowing limits for independent undergraduate students

Grade level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidised loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$) Annual loan limit (US$)
First-year undergraduate (freshman) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second-year undergraduate (sophomore) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third-year and beyond undergraduate (junior, senior) $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Annual borrowing limits for graduate or professional students

Grade level Total limit for unsubsidised loans (US$)
Graduate or professional $20,500

Lifetime borrowing limits

Grade level Combined base limit for subsidised and unsubsidied loans (US$) Additional limit for unsubsidised loans (US$) Total aggregate subsidised and unsubsidised combined (US$)
Dependent undergraduate students (whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $8,000 $31,000
Independent undergraduate students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $34,500 $57,500
Graduate or professional $65,000 $57,500 $138,500

Aggregate limits for graduate students include loans borrowed as an undergraduate student.

Go to the US Department of Education’s website for more information, then apply for US Federal Student Aid.