Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan

These are loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. Undergraduate students and graduate students regardless of their need, qualify for an unsubsidized loan, provided they have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interest accrual begins immediately, and the student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or upon entering repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.

Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan

These are loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. Undergraduate students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time and during certain periods of deferment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

These are loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to their cost of attendance each year, less any other financial aid received. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must also be submitted before a PLUS Loan Application can be processed. Graduate students may apply for this loan at StudentAid.gov.

If a graduate student has adverse credit history, they may still receive a PLUS Loan through one of these two options:

  1. Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history.
  2. Documenting to the U.S. Department of Education’s satisfaction extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history.

Annual and Aggregate Loan Limits

The amount you can borrow may be limited by factors such as other financial aid you may receive. The loans are for educational purposes and can never exceed the cost of your attendance less any other aid.

Annual and Aggregate Loan Limits
Year (credit hours) Freshman (0–29) Sophomore (30-63) Junior/Senior (64+) Graduate
Loan Limit Dependent - $5,500 Independent - $9,500 Dependent - $6,500 Independent - $10,500 Dependent - $7,500 Independent - $12,500 $20,500
Aggregate (Lifetime) Limit Dependent: $31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
Independent: $57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
$138,500 (no more than $65,000 may be subsidized)

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which the student promises to repay their loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of the loan(s). In most cases, the student may receive more than one loan under an MPN over a period of up to 10 years to pay for their educational costs. 

Graduate students may be eligible for both Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans, which have different MPNs. In addition, if the graduate student has an adverse credit history and has obtained an endorser for a PLUS Loan, the MPN that the student completes becomes a "single-loan" promissory note. No further PLUS Loans may be made under that MPN. The endorser is liable only for the specific loan that he or she has agreed to endorse.

Students can complete the MPN at StudentAid.Gov.

Entrance Counseling

The Federal Government requires students who have not previously received a Direct Student Loan, to complete entrance counseling. The mandatory process is meant to ensure that students understand their responsibilities and obligations when assuming a student loan.

Completing entrance counseling fulfills counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Completing entrance counseling to borrow a loan as a graduate or professional student will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans.

Entrance counseling must be completed before loans will disburse to the student’s account. Entrance counseling can be completed at studentaid.gov.


Student loans must be accepted and all requirements completed prior to loan disbursements. Students can accept loans and also view outstanding requirements by accessing My Bill and Aid in myMiami. In accordance with federal student aid regulations, Federal Direct Loan disbursements may occur as early as ten days prior to the beginning of the semester if all requirements are met.

The interest rate is fixed and is adjusted each year on July 1. There is a loan fee deducted from each disbursement of the student loan. (See information about interest rates and fees.)

The loan will be applied to the student’s account. The loan must be disbursed in two equal amounts at the beginning of each term. If the disbursement is in excess of the amount owed on the bill, a refund will be issued to the student.

Changing Loan Amounts

Students may cancel all or portions of their loan(s) after the funds have credited to their account by contacting the One Stop in writing within 30 days after the date of the disbursement notice.

Exit Counseling

Exit counseling provides important information to prepare students to repay their federal student loan(s).

Students who have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan(s), must complete exit counseling each time they:

  • Drop below half-time enrollment
  • Graduate
  • Leave school

Borrower's Responsibilities—Repayment

Student loans will be originated with the Direct Loan Servicing Center which, in addition to information on repayment plans, provides repayment calculators to help determine how much to pay and how long it will take to repay the loan based on the plan chosen.

Approximately 7–10 business days after the first disbursement of the loan, the loan is assigned to a loan servicer who will then send information regarding the loan. Repayment of student loans is managed by the loan servicer. Students that graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or leave school, will enter  into repayment on their Federal Student loan(s) after a six-month grace period. When the loan enters repayment, the servicer will automatically place the student on the Standard Repayment Plan. Students can request a different repayment plan at any time. The Federal Direct Loan Program offers loan repayment plans designed to meet the needs of almost every borrower and allows them to choose which repayment plan is best for them. Students can review their loans, and obtain their loan servicer contact information, at StudentAid.gov.

Current students can see information about their estimated educational loan debt from Miami University by visiting Know Before You Owe and logging in with their Miami UniqueID and password.


Borrowers who encounter difficulty making monthly loan payments may be able to postpone payments through a deferment or forbearance request. Deferments are also an option for borrowers returning to school after an absence. Borrowers may also be eligible to have Federal Direct Loans forgiven (see listing of forgiveness programs).

Loan consolidation may be an option for some borrowers to avoid loan delinquency or a default. A Direct Consolidation Loan allows borrowers to combine one or more federal education loans into a new loan that offers several advantages. For more information, visit StudentAid.gov.

Student Loan Code of Conduct

The guiding principles for ensuring the integrity of the student aid process and the ethical conduct of employees in regard to student loan practices are provided in the Miami University Student Loan Code of Conduct.