Federal Direct Loans

The federal Direct loan is the most widely-used loan for college students and is available to both undergraduate and graduate students. There are two types of federal Direct Loans and your eligibility for both is determined using your financial aid application.

Many students and families borrow loans to assist in financing a college education. Loans are considered part of the family’s investment in a student’s education and become the student’s and/or family’s responsibility to manage and repay once the student graduates.

Loans can come from federal or private lenders. They must be repaid with interest and, in many cases, include additional fees to obtain the loan.

Compare loan programs, then choose the one that best suits your needs and goals.

Do not take on more debt than you can handle. Borrow only what you need.


Applying for Direct Loans
Entrance Counseling

All first-time federal Direct Loan borrowers are required to undergo entrance counseling before any Direct Loan funds can be disbursed to the borrower. We recommend that you complete this requirement online. The entrance counseling session provides you with information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. After reading the information, you will be quizzed on your knowledge.

To complete the entrance counseling online:

The process should take about 30 minutes. Once your session is successfully completed, your information will be transmitted to UWest Financial Aid Office within two or three business days.

Timely completion of entrance counseling ensures you receive your funds in time to pay tuition and fees by the settlement deadline.


Exit Counseling

If you have borrowed from the Federal Direct and/or Federal Graduate Plus Loan programs and you are no longer enrolled at least half-time, federal regulations and university policy requires that you complete an online exit loan counseling session. This policy applies to all students who are graduating, officially withdrawn, dismissed, each time on a leave of absence or dropped below half-time, or simply ceased enrollment at UWest.

To complete exit counseling online:

Exit counseling session should take about 30 minutes to complete. The UWest Financial Aid office will be notified electronically when you complete the process.

Repayment Plans

Borrowers of federal student loans are automatically enrolled into the Standard Repayment Plan after graduation. Borrowers can then decide to remain in the Standard Repayment Plan or choose a different plan. The Repayment Plans range from 10 to 25 years for repayment. Borrowers can find more detailed information about all of the Repayment Plans listed below on the federal website.


Repayment Plan Type Payment Type and Length Comments
Standard Fixed monthly payments ($50 minimum) for 10 years Borrowers will pay less interest under this plan.
Graduated Increasing monthly payments for 10 years Good for borrowers who have a limited income in first years after graduation but anticipate income increasing annually.
Extended Monthly payments that may be fixed or graduated for 25 years Payments will be less but the borrower will pay more interest.
Income Based (IBR) Monthly payments based on income (15% of discretionary income.) After 25 years of qualifying monthly payments the remaining loan balance is forgiven. Borrower must have a financial hardship and qualify. Borrower has lower monthly payments but pays more interest.
Income Sensitive (ISR) (FFEL Loans only) Monthly payments based on income for 10 years. Similar to the ICR but for FFEL Loans. Borrower must have a financial hardship and qualify annually. A borrower has lower monthly payments for a time period but pays more interest.
Income Contingent (ICR) (Direct Loans only) Monthly payments based on income (20% of discretionary income.) After 25 years of qualifying monthly payments the remaining loan balance is forgiven. Borrower must have a financial hardship and qualify. Borrower has lower monthly payments but pays more interest.
Pay As You Earn (Direct Loans only) Monthly payments based on income (10% of discretionary income.) After 20 years of qualifying monthly payments the remaining loan balance is forgiven. Borrower must have a financial hardship and qualify. Must have been new borrower as of 10/1/07 and received a disbursement after 10/1/11.


Repayment Calculators

Using the repayment calculator » on the Federal Student Aid » website will enable students to see their expected repayment about.


Loan Default and Disputes
Defaulting on Student Loans

Student loan borrowers in default do have options to repay their loans. We encourage students to speak to their loan servicers and The Department of Education.


Resolving Loan Repayment Disputes

If you are having a dispute with your servicer or another agency regarding repayment of your federal student loan, you may consider contacting the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman for assistance. You can reach the Ombudsman’s office by phone at (877) 557-2575 or by mail at this address:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman
830 First Street, NE
Fourth Floor
Washington, DC 20202-5144

Federal Direct Loans are disbursed after the end of the Add/Drop period each semester. Because loans are subject to origination fees, about 1%, the amount received from the Department of Education will be slightly less than the total amount borrowed.

If there is a credit balance on your student account, a direct deposit will be made to an authorized bank account that you have set up with UWest, within 14 days.

  • Federal regulations require two (2) disbursements for all loans, including one-semester loans. Students attending a single semester or summer term will receive their second disbursement at the calendar midpoint of the term.
  • If a student is in the first year of undergraduate study and is a first-time Direct Loan borrower, there is a waiting period of thirty calendar days for the first loan disbursement.
  • Students who drop below half-time enrollment are no longer eligible for a Direct Loans
  • Full-time enrollment for financial aid purposes is defined as follows:
Stage of Studies Full-time Definition Corresponding Course(s)
Coursework – Undergraduate 12 units per term Degree Applicable Courses
Coursework – Graduate 9 units per term Degree Applicable Courses
Master’s Thesis, all course work complete 3 units per term PSYCH699A, REL700 (Maximum: 2 terms)
Doctoral Qualifying, all course work complete 3 units per term BMIN705, REL 705 (Maximum: 2 terms)
Candidacy, engaged in research requirement 3 units per term BMIN698A, 698B, 710, REL698A, 698B, 710
Candidacy, research requirement fulfilled 1 unit per term BMIN 698B, 715; REL 698B, 715
Continued Practicum, all course work complete 1 unit per term PSYCH 712 (Maximum: 2 terms)


Students should refer to the catalog for time-to-degree standards in their program of enrollment. Extending studies beyond the program standard, if approved, may affect aid eligibility.

  • Loan disbursements will not be released until the instructors have completed the attendance verification. The attendance verification must be completed, or the financial aid refund will be delayed.


Annual Loan Limits
Year Dependent Undergraduate Independent Undergraduate and Dependent Undergraduate whose parent can’t borrow PLUS
1st (1-29 units) $5,500 (maximum $3,500 subsidized) $9,500 (maximum $3,500 subsidized)
2nd (30-59 units) $6,500 (maximum $4,500 subsidized) $10,500 (maximum $4,500 subsidized)
3rd and beyond (60+ units) $7,500 (maximum $5,500 subsidized) $12,500 (maximum $5,500 subsidized)
Graduate/Professional N/A $20,500 (unsubsidized only)



Aggregate Loan Limits
Dependent Undergraduate Independent Undergraduate* Grad/Professional
$31,000 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized) $57,500 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized) $138,500 (maximum $5,500 subsidized)

*Including dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain a PLUS loan.


Interest Rates
Type of Loan Interest Rate
07/01/23 – 06/30/24
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students 5.50%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan for Grad/Professional Students 7.05%
Direct PLUS for Parents and Grad/Professional Students 8.05%

It is recommended that you pay the interest while in school. The interest is accrued immediately after the loan funds are disbursed, and is capitalized and added to the principal amount of the loan until you enter repayment. This will increase the total amount that you have to repay.

Origination Fee
Type of Loan On or after 10/01/20 and before 10/01/24
Direct Subsidized and unsubsidized Loans 1.057%
Direct PLUS Loans 4.228%

The federal government charges an origination fee when the loans are issued. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You’re responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.