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Stafford Loan

How to apply for a Federal Direct Loan

To apply for a Federal Direct Loan you must complete the FAFSA. You can apply for a loan if you are enrolled at least half time and meet other eligibility requirements set by the government.

We offer Federal Direct Loans as part of your award package. You may accept, reduce, or turn down (via E-Services) the amount you wish to borrow.

E-sign the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)

To receive a Federal Direct Loan you must complete a Federal Direct Loan Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN) before we can give you your money. Once you complete the Federal Direct Loan eMPN and the loan is in your student account, you do not have to sign a Federal Direct Loan eMPN again (it is valid for 10 years).

To complete the eMPN, go to the Federal Student Aid website. You will need your U.S. Department of Education PIN to sign your eMPN electronically. After you sign your eMPN, they will notify us electronically. We cannot give you your loan money until you complete your eMPN and, if this is your first loan, complete Entrance Counseling.

Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

If you are taking out your first loan, the federal government requires you to have loan counseling before you receive your money. Entrance Counseling explains how the student loan program works, including repaying and interest, and outlines your rights and responsibilities. You will check your knowledge by answering questions at the end of each section.

You must answer all the questions correctly to complete Entrance Counseling successfully and get your loan. Go to the Federal Student Aid for your counseling. You will need your U.S. Department of Education PIN for Entrance Counseling. After you complete Entrance Counseling, the results are sent electronically to UHCL. We recommend you print a copy of the rights and responsibilities page for your records.

Receiving Loan Funds

When we hear from the Federal Direct Loan Processor that they have a valid eMPN on file for you and you have completed Entrance Counseling, your Federal Direct Loan is automatically credited to your student account if you meet the other Federal eligibility requirements (starting about a week before classes begin each semester).

Request Reduction or Cancellation of Federal Direct Loans

You can reduce or cancel your Federal Direct Loan offer. You may do so in E-Services, or you may notify us in writing (via email or snail mail).

Federal Direct Loan Limits

The Federal government limits the amount of money you can borrow. If you have filed the FAFSA, we award you the maximum amount eligible under such limits. The annual limit applies to the most you can borrow in one academic year, while the total limit applies to the maximum a student can borrow in a lifetime. If you are not eligible for subsidized loans, which are need-based, those amounts can be added to unsubsidized loan amounts shown below.

Annual and Total Limits for Federal Direct Loans

Dependent Students

Student Type Subsidized Unsubsidized Annual Limit Total Limit
Freshman $3,500 $2,000 $5,500 $31,000
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500 $31,000
Junior or Senior $5,500 $2,000 $7,500 $31,000

Independent Students

Student Type Subsidized Unsubsidized Annual Limit Total Limit
Freshman $3,500 $6,000 $9,500 $57,500
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500 $57,500
Junior or Senior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500 $57,500

Graduate and Professional Students

Unsubsidized Annual Limit Total Limit
$20,500 $20,500 $138,500

Interest Rates for Direct Loans

First Disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and prior to June 30, 2024

Loan Type Borrower Type Index Add-On Fixed Interest Rate
10-Year Treasury Note
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 3.45% 2.05% 5.50%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 3.45% 2.05% 5.50%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate/Professional Students 3.45% 3.60% 7.05%
Direct PLUS Loans Graduate/Professional Students and Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students 3.45% 4.60% 8.05%

Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling

The federal government requires that you go through Exit Counseling prior to leaving or graduating from college. To complete Exit Counseling, go to the Federal Student Aid website. You will need your U.S. Department of Education FSAID to complete Exit Counseling.

During Exit Counseling you will learn about the circumstances under which you can reduce or postpone your payments, and how to get the necessary forms. Even though you have a six-month grace period, the Exit Counseling process will help you set up a repayment plan, a direct withdrawal and a payment date.

Federal Direct Loan Repayment

Repayment of Federal Direct Stafford Loans begins 6 months after you graduate or are not enrolled at least half time.

Estimate Repayment Schedule

Additional Federal Direct Loan Information

Contact Federal Direct Loan Servicing Center at or call them at 1-800-557-7394.


  • Student Financial Aid

    Phone: 281-283-2480
    Fax: 281-283-2502

    SSCB 1.105
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 05
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Office hours:
    Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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