Federal Direct Loans
Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct subsidized loans are available to students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the cost of higher education. Eligible students must qualify for federal financial aid and enroll in at least six credits each semester. The U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on a subsidized loan while you are enrolled at least half-time, during the first six months after you leave school (your grace period), and during a period of deferment. Annual limits are based on class level and dependency and range from $5,500 to $10,500 per year at community colleges.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct unsubsidized loans are available to students regardless of financial need. You are responsible for paying all accrued interest on the loan. You may may pay interest on an unsubsidized loan while you are in school or defer interest payments, which will be added to the principal of the loan. There are annual limits as to how much you can borrow just like subsidized loans.
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct PLUS loans, or parent PLUS loans, are available to parents of dependent students to help pay for their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. The annual limit on a direct PLUS loan is equal to the student's cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.