William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program: Federal Direct Subsidized Loans **, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct Plus Program are student loan programs under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. These loans are made to students who are enrolled in a USF degree program on at least a half-time basis. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender and loan funds are delivered directly to USF students' accounts through the Student Accounts office.
To apply for aid from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After USF receives the FAFSA information electronically, the Financial Aid office will determine students' eligibility and award letters will be mailed or emailed to them. Direct Student loans are electronically originated with the Department of Education as soon as USF Financial Aid Office receives the students' acceptance of their financial aid, including Direct loans. Additional requirements will include the completion of on line promissory notes and loan entrance counseling. Students must complete these requirements and be enrolled in classes before receiving their first Direct Loan disbursements.
The combined annual loan limit for graduate student borrowers from both the Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan programs through July 1, 2012 is $20,500. After July 1, 2012, Graduate student borrowers will only be eligible for the unsubsidized loan program for an annual loan limit of $20,500.
**Budget Control Act of 2011
Effective for loans made on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. The terms and conditions of Direct Subsidized Loans received by any student for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012, for either graduate or undergraduate study, are not affected by this change. 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.
In addition, the BCA terminates the authority of the Department of Education to offer any repayment incentives to Direct Loan borrowers to encourage on-time repayment of loans, including any reduction in interest rate or origination fee, effective for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012. As a result, the up-front interest rebate that has been provided to Direct Loan borrowers at the time of their loan disbursement will no longer be offered on any Direct Loan program loan with a first disbursement date that is on or after July 1, 2012.
The law continues to authorize the Department to offer interest rate reductions to Direct Loan borrowers who agree to have payments automatically electronically debited from a bank
Federal Plus Loans For Graduate and Professional Students
The Budget Reconciliation Act of 2005, passed by the Congress and signed by the President in March 2006, authorizes graduate and professional students to borrow from the Federal Direct PLUS program.
The Federal Direct PLUS program allows eligible graduate and professional students to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other aid they’ve been awarded. To be eligible to borrow from PLUS, graduate and professional students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must first borrow from the Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Federal Student Loan program. Among the features of the PLUS program is a fixed 7.9% interest rate, in-school payment deferment, and fixed monthly payments. PLUS loans can be consolidated with other federal student loans and may be a good alternative to private education loan programs for some student borrowers.
If you are interested in Grad PLUS loan, please go to our forms page and select the appropriate PLUS Loan Pre-Application for your particular degree program, complete and return it to your financial aid office.