US federal government loans

If you’re a student from the USA, you may be eligible for loans offered under the Federal Direct Loans Program.

Subsidised Direct Loan

This loan is for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need as determined by the federal regulations. No interest is charged:

  • while you’re enrolled at least half-time at university
  • during an authorised deferment period
  • for the six-month grace period after you leave university or drop below a half-time enrolment.

Loan repayments start when after one of the following:

  • six months after you graduate
  • when you leave university
  • if you drop below half-time enrolment.

Unsubsidised Direct Loan

This loan isn’t based on financial need and interest accrues on the loan from the time the loan is paid out. You can choose to pay the interest while studying or you can allow it to accumulate until your loan repayments start when one of the following happens:

  • six months after you graduate
  • when you leave university
  • if you drop below half-time enrolment.

Allowing the interest to accumulate adds to your loan amount and may increase your monthly repayments.

PLUS (unsubsidised loans for parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students)

This loan can help pay for educational expenses up to the cost of attendance, minus all other financial assistance. You are required to pass a credit check. Interest accrues on the loan from the time the loan is paid out.

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for Unsubsidised Direct Loans before applying for a PLUS.

Interest rates and fees

Your student loans will be charged fees and interest. This table shows the annual and aggregate loan limits

  Max subsidised
amount in (USD$)
Max combined subsidised and
unsubsidised amounts (USD$)
Dependent undergraduates
First year $3,500 $5,500
Second year $4,500 $6,500
Third year and up $5,500 $7,500
Independent undergraduates
First year $3,500 $9,500
Second year $4,500 $10,500
Third year and up $5,500 $12,500
Graduate/professional students
From 1 July 2012 $0 $20,500
Maximum total debt from Direct Loans when you graduate
 Max subsidised and unsubsidised amounts combined
Dependent undergraduates $31,000 (not more than $23,000 subsidised)
Independent undergraduates $57,500 (not more than $23,000 subsidised)
Graduate/professional students $138,500 (not more than $65,500 subsidised)

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