Federal Direct Loan Program

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education. FGCU students are strongly encouraged to only borrow what is needed to cover their cost of attendance for the academic year.

There are three types of Federal Direct loans available at FGCU:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans (for students only) - awarded to students based on demonstrated financial need. The interest on Subsidized Stafford loans is paid by the federal government while the student is in school, during the grace period and during authorized deferment.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (for students only) - are not awarded on the basis of need. For Unsubsidized Stafford loans, students are responsible for all of the interest that accrues while the student is enrolled in school.
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans (for parents only) - are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Parent PLUS loan borrowers cannot have adverse credit history (a credit check will be done). Borrowers must be the student's biological or adoptive parent or the student's stepparent, if the biological or adoptive parent has remarried at the time of application. The borrower's child must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program.
  • How to Apply

  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

  • Student Loan Practices Code of Conduct

  • Entrance & Exit Counseling

  • Master Promissory Note

  • Loan Repayment Options

  • 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit

Federal Loan fees & Interest rates

Loan Type First Disbursement Date Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans & Direct Unsubsidized Loans On or after 7/1/21 and before 6/30/22 3.73%
  On or after 7/1/22 and before 6/30/23 4.99%
Direct Subsidized Loans & Direct Unsubsidized Loans On or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/21 1.057%
  On or after 10/1/21 and before 10/1/22 1.057%

Borrowing Limits for Federal Subsidized Stafford and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

The table below shows the maximum amount a student can borrow each year. The maximum amount is based on a student’s dependency status, as determined by information on the FAFSA, and the student's grade level.

Dependent Students Max Subsidized Unsubsidized = Total Annual Amount/limit
Freshman $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Junior or Senior $5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Freshman $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior or Senior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Aggregate Loan Limits

Dependent Undergraduate: $31,000 (Maximum $23,000 in Subsidized)

Independent Undergraduate: $57,500 (Maximum $23,000 in Subsidized)

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

How to Apply for a PLUS Loan

PLUS Loan applications can be completed online at for both Parent PLUS Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans. In addition the student must also complete a FAFSA in order to receive a Parent PLUS or Graduate PLUS loan. A FSA ID is required to complete the FAFSA application and to sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). This is the same FSA ID used to complete the FAFSA. FGCU will receive the completed application and credit decision electronically within 2-3 business days and will award the PLUS Loan to the student's account accordingly.

Direct PLUS Loans On or after 7/1/21 and before 6/30/22 6.28%
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 7/1/22 and before 6/30/23 7.54%
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 10/1/19 and before 10/1/20 4.236%
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/21 4.228%


Private/Alternative Loans

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships encourages all students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and exhaust all federal, state, and institutional aid eligibility, including Federal Stafford Loans, before applying for a private loan. It is strongly recommended that students contact a Financial Aid Advisor prior to applying for a private loan.

Additional Information on Private Loans

  • You may select any lender of your choice. FGCU does not recommend any particular lender and does not maintain a preferred lender list.
  • The lender will conduct a credit check prior to approval.
  • Interest rates, fees and terms vary among lenders. Contact the lender for detailed information on rates and terms.
  • The borrower (student) must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program and be meeting standards of academic progress.
  • Most lenders require a co-signer with good credit.
  • Processing time for private loans may take up to 2 to 3 weeks.
  • It is strongly recommended that you borrow Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct PLUS Loans before considering a private loan.