How do I apply for a federal student loan?

You need to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before you can take out federal student loans, including Direct Loans (sometimes called Stafford Loans) and Perkins Loans.

How to Apply: Step by Step

  1. Complete the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA (for returning students) at
  2. Receive a financial aid award letter by mail or email from your school's financial aid office. This letter will summarize your available financial aid, including the Direct Subsidized Loan (if eligible) and Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  3. Contact your school’s financial aid office to accept the financial aid and student loans.
  4. Review and sign any associated paperwork, such as the Master Promissory Note (MPN).