Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

The Federal Direct Loan Program allows students to borrow low interest loans directly from the federal government to help meet their educational costs. The Federal Direct Loan Program offers both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. These loans must be repaid by the student.

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. If the student qualifies for a subsidized loan, the federal government pays the interest on the loan ("subsidizes" the loan) while in school.

An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. If the student qualifies for an unsubsidized loan, the student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The student can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accumulate. If the student allows the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized (that is the interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan and will increase the amount to be repaid). If the student pays the interest as it accumulates, the student will repay less during the loan repayment period.

How Much Can I Borrow?

Annual Loan Limits *

1st Year Student 2nd Year Student ***
Dependent ** $5,500 $6,500
Independent $9,500 $10,500

The undergraduate aggregate limit is $57,000 for independent students and is $31,000 for dependent student. No more than $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized.

* The annual Loan Limit starts over for each academic year a student is enrolled up to the undergraduate aggregate limits.

** A student would be considered a Dependent student if it was required to list parent information on the FAFSA.

*** If a student is enrolled in a two-year program and has completed 30 or more credits, the student would be considered a second-year student.

For additional information on limits for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans see Maximum Eligibility Period for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.

How will my loans affect my financial future?

The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment is a tool to help you understand how your loans will affect your financial future. While this is not a requirement for the 2021–2022 academic year, we highly recommend that you complete the online Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement for your benefit.

Application and Eligibility Criteria

  1. The student must file a FAFSA.

  2. The student must meet federal program eligibility requirements.

  3. The student must be enrolled in at least six credit hours and attending for each semester of the loan period.


Before the loan funds can be disbursed, first-time borrowers must complete a Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling session.

Loan funds are applied first to any outstanding balances on the students' account. Any remaining balance is then credited, according to the Hawkeye refund schedule, to the designee on the application form in one disbursement per semester. If the loan is for one term, you will receive the full loan in two disbursements.

Students may choose to cancel all or part of the loan up to 14 days after the disbursement of funds.

For specific disbursement dates see Financial Aid Dates and Deadlines.

For additional disbursement information see Financial Aid Award Disbursement.


Repayment begins six months after dropping below six credit hours or graduation. Learn more about repaying your student loans.

Information on the servicer assigned to your student loan can be found at Federal Student Aid.

Contact Information

Financial Aid

Hawkeye Center 118
800-670-4769 ext.4020
319-209-9239 (text only)
319-296-4495 (fax)
Email Financial Aid

Regular Hours

Mon–Fri 8:00am–4:30pm

Schedule an appointment

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