Eligibility for Direct Loans

There are several eligibility requirements that are specific to Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:

  • The student must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis
  • The student must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Students who are seeking a Direct Subsidized Loan must demonstrate financial need

Note that the student must file the FAFSA even if the student is interested in just the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and/or PLUS Loan, which do not depend on demonstrated financial need. Students and their families often underestimate eligibility for need-based financial aid, so the requirement to file a FAFSA was added to ensure that the student receives all the financial aid for which he or she is eligible.

Unlike the Federal Pell Grant, students who have already received a Bachelor’s degree may still receive Direct Loans, up to the borrower’s remaining annual and cumulative Direct Loan limits.

Direct Loans are also subject to the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid, such as the citizenship requirements and the requirement to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

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