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Students (or parents of dependent students) may be eligible for federal loans at Fairfield University.  In order to qualify, students must:

  • Meet various federal regulatory requirements
  • Demonstrate matriculation into a degree-granting program at Fairfield University
  • Enroll for at least half-time status (6 credits or more)
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as defined by Fairfield University and the federal government

Direct Loans

What are Direct Loans?

These loans are made through the Federal Direct Loan Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education. They can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Students can receive a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan for the same enrollment period. Repayment begins six months after graduation or six months after enrollment status is less than half time (five or fewer credits).

subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the expected family contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance (COA). The EFC is determined by the Department of Education and is calculated from your data on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The COA or undergraduate programs is determined by the University. Interest on this loan is not charged while students are in school and enrolled for six or more credits.

An unsubsidized loan is a non-need based loan program. Students will be charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid off. The interest can accrue during enrollment and during other periods of non-payment, but it will be capitalized. If this interest is not paid during enrollment, it is accrued and added to the principal balance of the loan. Capitalization occurs the day the grace (or deferment) period expires. This additional amount subsequently accrues interest, which adds an additional expense to the loan.

How much money can I borrow?
The loan amounts a student can borrow depend on grade level in college and on student status (dependent undergraduate, independent undergraduate, dependent undergraduate whose parents are unable to get a Direct PLUS Loan), or graduate student.

Undergraduate Student Annual Loan Limits for Direct Loans (first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008)
  Dependent Undergraduate Student Independent Undergraduate Student
1st Year $5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
2nd Year $6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
3rd and 4th Years (each) $7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Maximum Total Debt from Stafford/Direct Loans Upon Graduation $31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Fairfield University participates with the Federal Direct Loan Program and does not have a preferred lender list. Fairfield University abides by all principles outlined in the CT Code of Conduct.

How do I apply for a Direct Loan?

Students must first submit the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student in writing (e-mail or mail) of eligibility for a Direct Loan. If accepted, students must complete both the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) in order for the loan proceeds to disburse at the University. These loan requirements can only be completed online through the Department of Education's web site, using the student's Federal Student Aid ID (FSAID).

What are the Direct Loan interest rates?

Current Loan Interest Rates by Disbursement Dates
Loan Type Borrower Type Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/22 and before 7/1/23
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate 4.99%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate 4.99%
Direct PLUS Loans 7.54% 7.54%

*For more information on interest rates, please refer to th Federal Student Aid website.

What are the loan fees? 

Current Loan Fees by Disbursement Dates
Loan Type First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans

On or after 10/1/20 and through 10/2/23

On or after 10/1/19 and through 10/1/20



Direct PLUS Loans

On or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/23

On or after 10/1/19 and before 10/1/20



Important Items to Note:

  • New Direct Loan borrowers on or after July 1, 2013 will not be eligible for new Direct Subsidized Loans if the period during which the borrower has received such loans exceeds 150 percent of the published length of the borrower's educational program. Read more.
  • A borrower reaching the 150 percent limit becomes ineligible for interest subsidy on all Direct Subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.
  • As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which passed on August 1, 2011, undergraduate Direct Subsidized Loan borrowers whose loans were first disbursed after July 1, 2012, will have the interest subsidy cease when enrollment drops below six credits. The government will not subsidize interest for students during their grace period between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014.
  • All students who borrow with the Direct Loan programs must also satisfy the Exit Counseling requirement to fully understand the terms of loan repayment. Exit Counseling will be required prior to graduation, at the time of withdrawal, or when enrollment drops below six credits.

Direct Plus Loans

The Direct PLUS Loan is a loan that a parent can utilize to help pay for a student's educational expenses. This loan is for parents of dependent, undergraduate students who have an official FAFSA on file for the academic year in which the parent wishes to borrow the loan, confirmed enrollment of at least half time (six credits or more), and maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as required by the University. These loans are processed through the U.S. Department of Education. Parents must be credit-worthy and have no adverse credit history.

An eligible parent can borrow up to the cost of attendance (COA) for the academic year, minus any other financial aid the student receives.

If a parent is NOT approved for this loan, the student will be eligible to receive more loan funds in a Direct Unsubsidized Loan (amount varies by student status). Students will be notified of any additional loan funds via University e-mail.

Parents can submit a credit check and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. This Department of Education website requires the parent use his/her Federal Student Aid ID (FSAID) to access the website for a credit check. It is very important that after completing the credit check application that the MPN is completed immediately. If both applications are not complete when the loan is approved, the university will be unable to process the loan.

Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/22 and before 7/1/23 will have an interest rate of 7.54%.

Yes, there is a 4.228% (effective October 1, 2020) loan origination fee on all Direct PLUS Loans.

When a parent receives your Direct PLUS Loan, he/she will be contacted by the loan's servicer. The loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of the Direct PLUS Loan and will provide information on how and when to repay the loan. Read more about loan servicers.

Payments are generally required on this loan while the student is in school and will begin after the loan is fully disbursed for the year; however, payments can be deferred until six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or is enrolled for less than six credits, only after the payment deferment has been approved by the loan servicer. If payments are deferred during the in-school period and/or the six month post-enrollment period, parents will receive quarterly interest statements and have the option to pay the accrued interest. Unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized (added to the principal loan balance) at either the end of the in-school deferment or, if taken, the end of the six-month post-enrollment deferment, increasing the overall loan costs.

Alternative Student Loans

It is recommended that student consider borrowing with the Direct Loan and/or Direct PLUS Loan programs before considering an alternative student loan.  Direct loans may be less expensive, with fixed interest rates and with various options for repayment.  The Office of Financial Aid will certify any alternative student loan at the request of any borrower, provided they are approved and provided the amount does not exceed their eligibility for the year.  However, it is the responsibility of the borrower to determine which alternative loan best fits their borrowing needs.

Alternative student loans are available to assist students to cover any financial gap that may exist between their educational costs (cost of attendance) and the amount of financial aid they are receiving. There are many types of alternative student loans and each are calculated with different interest rates and repayment terms, which vary, depending on the borrower and cosigner's credit-worthiness. Students and families should review their finances to determine which financing option best fits their borrowing needs. Most undergraduate students usually require a credit-worthy cosigner in order to obtain the best rate and loan benefits.

Fairfield University does not have a preferred lender list for alternative student loans, nor can we recommend specific lenders. However, through ELM Select, a service provided by ELM Resources, can assist students with what is likely one of the most important tasks in the financial aid process. ELM Select is an online lender comparison resource that provides free and extensive loan options. This service has several features that can help students make the financing decision that best fits their financial needs. It also provides a wealth of information regarding borrower rights, responsibilities and loan repayment.

Note: This loan process can take at least three to four weeks to complete. Please apply as early as possible to allow for this processing time.

Fairfield University participates with the Direct Loan Program and does not have a preferred lender list. Fairfield University abides by all principles outlined in the CT Code of Conduct.

Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about any information on this page.

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