Student Loan Information Guide

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid recognizes that financing a Loyola education may involve deferring some of the costs through a fixed interest loan program. Your educational investment will require informed financial decisions about loans, and we are committed to helping you understand your federal loan eligibility and options. We have designed this guide to provide information about the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional students, offered through the U.S. Department of Education. 

Types of Loans

The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 was signed into law on August 2, 2011.  The Act significantly affects graduate and professional students. Effective for loans made beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. The annual loan limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $20,500, but this amount will now be limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Also, effective July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive the rebates associated with Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS Loans. Therefore, the Department of Education will charge an origination fee as follows:

Loan Origination Fees
Loan Type First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18 1.066%
On or after 10/1/18 and before 10/1/19 1.062%
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18 4.264%
On or after 10/1/18 and before 10/1/19 4.248%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a non-need-based loan. You are responsible for all interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You may pay the interest while you are enrolled or allow it to accrue and be capitalized. 

Direct Plus Loan for Graduate and Professional Students

Graduate and Professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their Cost of Attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. The requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history. Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a financing option with flexible repayment options. However, you should do research first on the Department of Education website, to make sure it's the best fit for your needs. Click here to compare PLUS Loans with other types of federal loans.

Interest Rates

Congress has passed and the President has signed The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act, interest rates will be determined each June for new loans being made for the upcoming award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

Interest Rates for Direct Loans 
Loan Type Borrower Type Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/17 and before 7/1/18 Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/18 and before 7/1/19
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate or Professional 6% 6.6%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents and Graduate or Professional Students 7% 7.6%

Applying for a Federal Direct Loan

Students may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online at using Loyola's federal school code (002016). By submitting the FAFSA, a student initiates the financial aid process.

Students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan online at

Requirements for Federal Aid

According to federal regulations, a student must be degree-seeking to receive federal aid.     

A person must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program in order to receive FSA funds. A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree. A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree is not eligible for further Title IV aid for that program (Federal Student Aid Handbook).

Since the College of Law Bulletin states “the requirement for the degree of Juris Doctor is 90 credit hours of work earned in the College of Law,” we may not allow a student to borrow funds over and above the required 90 hours. In the instance of a failure, withdrawal, or other extraordinary circumstance, please contact our office for information on appealing this regulation.

Graduate and Professional students must be enrolled in a minimum of 5 required credit hours in a degree-seeking program each semester. For the summer semester, a student enrolled in at least 3 hours may qualify for federal loans. To qualify for federal aid programs, a student must meet certain requirements.

Required Documents


You must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is a legally binding agreement to repay your loan to the Department of Education. In most cases, one MPN can be used for loans that you receive over several years of study. It is very important that you understand the long-term commitment you are making by signing this note. We encourage you to record all amounts that you borrow and keep all your loan paperwork together so you can keep track of your cumulative borrowing. The loan will not disburse to Loyola until you complete the Master Promissory Note.

Complete the Grad PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. Simply log in to by clicking on the green Log In button and entering your federal PIN information. Note: The Grad PLUS MPN is not the same MPN that you may have completed for your subsidized or unsubsidized loan. It is exclusive to the Grad PLUS.


Borrowing money is a serious legal obligation. We want all of our students to understand their rights and responsibilities under this program. First-time undergraduate and graduate borrowers at Loyola must also complete an “Entrance Interview” before receiving funds. Complete your Entrance Counseling at Be sure to select the "Graduate" student type when prompted.

PLUS Credit Counseling

What is PLUS Credit Counseling?

PLUS Credit Counseling will help students and parents understand the obligations associated with borrowing a PLUS loan and assist them in making careful decisions about taking on student loan debt.

PLUS Credit Counseling is required if the U.S. Department of Education has informed you that you have an adverse credit history and you have:

  • Obtained an endorser or

  • Documented extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education

PLUS Credit Counseling can be completed voluntarily at any time. If PLUS Credit Counseling is completed voluntarily and you are determined to have an adverse credit history by the U.S. Department of Education within 30 days of PLUS Credit Counseling completion, your PLUS Credit Counseling requirement will be considered to be fulfilled. Students can complete this requirement online at

Borrowing Limits

Qualifying students may borrow up to $20,500 in Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds. Under the Direct PLUS Loan Program, qualifying students may borrow up to their Cost of Attendance minus other estimated financial assistance.

Contact Information for the Direct Loan Program

Direct Loan Website:

Repaying your federal student loans:

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data:

Visit My Federal Student Aid to view information about all of the federal student loans you have received and to find contact information for the loan servicer or lender for your loans.

Direct Loan Consolidation Center:
1-800-557-7392 or

Private Loans

Private loans can provide you  with another avenue for meeting remaining costs and covering your expected family contribution. Many banks and lending institutions offer student loans privately. The loan will be in the student's name, but most lenders also require a co-signer. Terms and interest rates vary, so borrowers should exercise due diligence and carefully evaluate each private loan offer.