Direct Loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) to eligible students to help cover the cost of college or career school. Check current interest rates, fees, and loan limits.

Eligibility requirements 

  • Enrolled at least half-time (6 credits undergraduate / 3 credits graduate).
  • Making satisfactory academic progress.     

Application process


  • Repayment begins six months after ceasing at least half-time enrollment in school.
  • On unsubsidized loans, interest begins to accrue at disbursement. Payment of accruing interest is not required until the loan enters repayment. 
  • On subsidized loans, interest accrues according to date of first disbursement. For most subsidized loans, interest accrual begins six months after ceasing at least half-time enrollment in school.
  • The standard repayment term is 10 years.
  • The minimum monthly payment is $50.     

Subsidized loans: 150 percent loan limit 

Due to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a new borrower on or after July 1, 2013, cannot receive subsidized loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of the borrower’s educational program (for example, a student who is in a 4-year program can receive subsidized loans for up to 6 years).

The law also notes that a borrower who becomes ineligible for subsidized loans because of the 150 percent limit is ineligible for interest-subsidy benefits on all subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.

Who's a first-time borrower? Generally, one who did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or on a FFEL Program loan on July 1, 2013.

Please note that, as of July 1, 2021, this loan limit has been repealed for all first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2021. While this limit will still apply to students who borrowed a Federal Direct Loan or FFEL Program Loan between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2021, students whose first Federal Direct Loan disbursement was on or after July 1, 2021 will no longer be held to this 150% limit.

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Office of Student Financial Services
3307 3rd Ave West, Suite 114, Seattle WA 98119
206-281-2061 | 800-737-8826 (toll free)