Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans may be borrowed to help cover the cost of education. Loans must be repaid, with interest.

To qualify for a Federal Direct Loan students must:

Half-time enrollment for graduate students is 3 credits.

Federal Direct Graduate Unsubsidized Loan

Unsubsidized loans are available to graduate students regardless of whether they demonstrate financial need on the FAFSA.

The FASFA is the only application needed, there is no loan application or credit check.

Interest begins accruing after the loan disburses in full.

In other words, interest on a loan for the fall and spring semesters will start accruing after the spring portion has been applied to your account.  Students have the option of making interest payments on unsubsidized loans while in school or deferring until the loan enters repayment.


Payments begin six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. This six month period is called the grace period.

Learn more about Federal Direct Student Loans.

Steps to Borrow a Federal Direct Graduate Student Loan

The student will log into their MyLongwood portal to accept the Federal Direct Student Loan.

First-time student borrowers will need to visit the Federal Student Aid website and login with their FSA ID and 

 To start select Complete Aid Process – Complete Entrance Counseling – Start.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate PLUS loans are credit-based, unsubsidized loans available to graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time. The program is not related to the Parent PLUS Loan Program and parents may not apply. 

Graduate students may apply for Graduate PLUS Loans in addition to Direct Graduate Unsubsidized Loans. Because interest rates are higher on Graduate PLUS Loans we recommend borrowing up to your annual limit of Direct Unsubsidized Loan first.

As with unsubsidized Direct Loans, Graduate PLUS Loan payments begin six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. This six month period is called the grace period.

Learn more about a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program and apply.

Steps to Borrow a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate PLUS loan applications open June 1 for the following academic year.

  • Log into Federal Student Aid website, with their FSA ID.
  • Select Apply for Aid – Apply for a Grad PLUS Loan – Start.
  • Submit the application
  • Complete a Graduate PLUS MPN (Master Promissory Note)

Graduate PLUS loan applications open June 1st for the following academic year.

Not Approved for the Grad PLUS Loan

There are two available options for students if the Grad PLUS Loan is not approved.

Option 1

The student has the option to obtain an endorser.

An endorser is someone who is willing to essentially co-sign the loan, and repay the loan if the borrower is unable to do so.

Add an endorser 

  • Endorser - Log in to the FSA Website
  • Select Apply for Aid – Endorse a PLUS Loan.

If approved, the student will then need to complete a PLUS MPN (Master Promissory Note) and PLUS Credit Counseling.

Option 2

The student may complete a credit appeal.

A credit appeal requires the student to submit documentation that explains and supports extenuating circumstances related to any adverse credit history.

Complete an appeal

  • Student - log in to the FSA Website
  • Select Apply for Aid – Appeal a Credit Decision.

If approved, the student will then need to complete a PLUS MPN (Master Promissory Note) and PLUS Credit Counseling.

Loan Amounts

The maximum Federal Direct Loan a student may borrow is based on his/her year in school and dependency status, as determined by the FAFSA. If you demonstrate financial need a portion of the totals for undergraduate students may be subsidized.

Year in SchoolDependent StudentIndependent Student
Graduate Student N/A $20,500

*Federal Direct Loans are subject to lifetime borrowing limits, typically referred to as “Aggregate Loan Limits”.

If the total loan amount you borrow over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you are not eligible to receive additional loans.

For information visit Aggregate Loan Limits.

Interest Rates

Interest Rates for Direct Loans First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2024, and Before July 1, 2025
Loan Type Borrower Type Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate or Professional 8.08%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents and Graduate or Professional Students 9.08%

All interest rates shown in the chart above are fixed rates that will not change for the life of the loan.

Loan Fees

Direct loans have loan fees that will be deducted prior to disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed. Current loan fees can be found below. Loan fees are updated by the U.S. Department of Education on July 1st of each year.

Loan Fees for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans
First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
On or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2023 1.057%
On or after Oct. 1, 2019, and before Oct. 1, 2020 1.059%
Loan Fees for Direct PLUS Loans (parent or graduate)
First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
On or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2023 4.228%
On or after Oct. 1, 2019, and before Oct. 1, 2020 4.236%

Private Loans

Private loans, sometimes referred to as Alternative loans, are offered through private lending institutions.  Students apply directly through the lender, and then the school certifies the loan based on the student’s enrollment, cost of attendance, and other aid.

Private loans are not associated with the Federal Direct Loan programs. They require credit checks and most often a co-borrower.

We strongly recommend you compare any private loan you apply for to Federal Direct Loans awarded from your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Interest rates, fees, terms & conditions, and the flexibility of each lending program may not be as favorable as a federally backed loan.

If you are interested in using a private/alternative loan, please review the following steps:

  1. Complete Loan Application
    First you must select your lender and contact them directly to apply. Longwood cannot recommend specific lenders. However, if you do not have a bank, credit union, or other lending institution in mind, you may visit our FASTChoice Private Loan Lender Selection Tool  to review the lenders our students have used most in the past three years.
  2. Complete Additional Documents
    If you are approved for the loan, your lender will send you several documents that must be completed. These will include, but may not be limited to, a promissory note and Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form. Complete and return these to your lender.
  3. Longwood Certification
    Once you have submitted your documentation, the lender will contact Longwood to certify your loan. This includes verifying the number of credits you are taking and your cost of attendance. We take care of all communications with the lender from here. We will contact you via your Longwood email address should we encounter any questions or concerns with your loan.
  4. Processing Time
    It is common for it to take 2-4 weeks from the time you apply for the loan until the funds are applied to your account at Longwood. If it has been more than two weeks since your lender approved your loan and you do not see it applied to your account, feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid and we will gladly check the status of your loan.

Ask Your Lender Before You Apply

  • How many credits must I be registered for each semester in order to borrow?
  • Can the loan be used to pay prior balances?
  • Is there a minimum amount I have to borrow?
  • Do you charge any fees other than interest?
  • What is the interest rate? Is it fixed?
  • Are interest payments required while I am in school?
  • What are the repayment terms? When will I have to start paying the loan back?
  • Must I be making Satisfactory Academic Progress?