Graduate Federal Direct Student Loan Program

UIS participates in the Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education. No credit check is required, except for PLUS loans. Students may apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)® . To be eligible, students must be enrolled at least half-time.

Interest Rates and Origination Fees

Loans First DisbursedGraduate
Interest Rates Between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 20247.05%8.05%
Origination Fees Between October 1, 2020 and before October 1, 20241.057%4.228%

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available for graduate students and is not based on financial need. Students are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is allowed to accumulate, it will be added to the principal amount of the loan and increase the amount to be repaid. Repayment is deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. The annual limit is $20,500 for Graduate Students, or less, based on the Cost of Attendance and other aid resources. Aggregate, or lifetime, borrowing limits also apply.

Accept/Reduce/Decline a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Loans will be offered to eligible students based upon cost of attendance and annual loan limits. You can accept or decline a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan on your electronic aid offer notification by selecting “Accept” or “Decline” in the dropdown box in Self-Service. You can reduce your loan by selecting “Modify” in the dropdown box and entering a lower loan amount in the Modified Amount field. If you wish to request loan changes, you should use the “Request Changes” button on the Financial Aid Notification page.

Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling are required for Federal Direct Loans before the loan funds will be disbursed. In most cases, you will only be required to complete one MPN and complete one entrance counseling session during your college career.

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans

Grad PLUS Loans are federal loans that graduate and professional students are eligible to borrow, pending a credit check approval by the U. S. Department of Education. To be eligible for a Graduate PLUS loan, students must be enrolled at least 5 hours during the fall and spring semesters; or at least 3 hours during the summer semester.  The maximum a student can borrow is the cost of attendance less any other financial aid.  Repayment begins 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or fall below half-time enrollment.

Apply for a Grad PLUS Loan

To apply for a Grad PLUS loan you must complete the FAFSA®. Additionally, you will need to complete the Online Graduate PLUS application, sign a Grad PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN), and complete Entrance Counseling. The Entrance Counseling requirement for a Grad PLUS Loan is different from that of a Direct Loan (subsidized/unsubsidized) but may be completed at the same time by completing the Combination – Stafford and PLUS loan option.


The graduate/professional student borrower must not have an adverse credit history. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a grad PLUS loan through one of these two options:

  1. Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the grad PLUS loan if you do not repay it. Log in to apply.
  2. Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit historyLog in to apply.

With either option 1 or option 2, you also must complete credit counseling for PLUS loan borrowers. For further guidance please contact 1-800-433-3243 or visit the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

Grad PLUS Loan Processing / Receipt of Funds

Federal Student Aid will notify you and UIS Office of Financial Assistance of the result of the credit check. If credit is approved, loan funds will be disbursed. The funds will be applied to tuition, fees, and other university charges first. If a Grad PLUS disbursement generates a refund, the excess amount will be refunded to the student. Authorizing direct deposit of refunds gives you the quickest access to your funds. Visit University Bursar for more information about billing and refunds.

Exit Loan Counseling

Students who withdraw from the university, graduate, or drop below half-time enrollment and have borrowed federal student loans must complete Student Loan Exit Counseling. This is a federal requirement. Failure to complete exit loan counseling may place a hold on the student account, preventing the student from registering for classes.

up to $20,500/year. Additional available under the PLUS loan program.
Grant Source
US Department of Education