Undergraduate Federal Direct Loans

If you wish to borrow a Federal Direct Loan that is not already part of your current award package, please contact your aid counselor to determine your eligibility. You can learn more about loans provided by the government on their website. The Federal Student Loan Support phone line is 800-557-7394.

If you wish to decline a Direct Loan you were awarded at Tufts, email your request to: studentservices@tufts.edu. To see how much you have already borrowed in federal loans,  please log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Direct Subsidized Loans

Depending on your eligibility, you may borrow a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan in amounts up to $3500 in the first year, $4500 in the second year, and $5500 in each of the third and fourth years. Loan amounts are divided in half and disbursed per semester. The interest rate for the 2018-19 year is 5.05%. The loan fee is 1.066%. Loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018, will have a 1.062% loan fee.

There is a maximum time limit on how long you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. Direct Subsidized Loans will only be available for up to 150% of the published length of your program. You can find more detailed information on the federal government's website.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Any student ineligible for a  Direct Subsidized Loan may borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Unsubsidized means that all interest charges for this loan are the responsibility of the borrower. The interest rate for the 2018-19 year is 5.05%. The loan fee is 1.066%. Loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018, will have a 1.062% loan fee. Loan limits are shown below. You can choose to make interest payments by checking off the appropriate box on the Master Promissory Note. You may choose to capitalize the interest (add interest charges to the amount owed) but this will significantly increase the total amount of your debt burden at repayment. See loan limits below.  

Undergraduate students who borrow their maximum grade level Direct Subsidized Loan can also borrow an additional $2000 in a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Also, if your parent is denied a federal Parent PLUS Loan, you may borrow additional amounts (see below for limits) in Direct Unsubsidized Loans.  

We are concerned about loan indebtedness, and the impact of loan repayment on future quality of life, and encourage students not to borrow unless absolutely necessary.

Federal Direct Loan Limits

The Department of Education sets annual and aggregate (lifetime) limits on the amount of debt a student can obtain from the federal government. The chart below summarizes the current limits for the Federal Direct Loan. As of July 1st, 2013,  first-time Direct Subsidized Loan borrowers may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. You can find more information on the Federal Student Aid website.

Grade Level
Dependent Undergraduate Student
Independent Undergraduate Student*
Graduate Student
1st Year/ Freshman $5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan. $9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan. $20,500 - No more than $8,500 of this amount may be used in Subsidized loan. *As of July 1, 2012, Subsidized Direct Loans will be eliminated for graduate students.
2nd Year/ Sophomore $6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan. $10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan.

3rd Year/ Junior
4th Year/ Senior

$7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be used in Subsidized loan. $12,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan.
Maximum lifetime borrowing $31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be used in Subsidized loan. $57,500 - no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan. $138,500 - No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized loan.
* Also applies to dependent undergraduate students whose parent was denied a PLUS loan
Direct Loan Application Process

1. Complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).

  • You will need a valid email address, and must have the FSA ID from when you completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Forgot your FSA ID? There will be a prompt when you log in to help you retrieve it.
  •  Have on hand the names, addresses and phone numbers of two references (friends or family).

2. Complete Entrance Counseling

The counseling explains your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower. You must complete entrance counseling before loan funds can be disbursed.

If you have any problems completing the Master Promissory Note, you may call the Applicant Information Center at 800-557-7394.