Financial Aid

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) are made available to degree-seeking students, that are enrolled at least half-time, through the U.S. Department of Education. 

To apply for a federal student loan, you must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on the results of your FAFSA, CSU will send you a financial aid offer, which may include a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans.

Direct Subsidized Loans

Loans offered to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need, as determined by the FAFSA, to help cover the costs of higher education.  With Subsidized loans, the U.S. Department of Education will cover the interest accrued while a student is attending school at least half-time and during eligible deferment periods.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Loans offered to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, whose eligibility is not based on financial need.  With Unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues while attending school and during the post-enrollment grace period.

You may choose to defer the interest, but if this option is selected, the interest will be capitalized (added to the principal loan amount) upon repayment.

Additional Requirements

Before you receive your loan funds, you will be required to complete Loan Entrance Counseling (LEC) and sign a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note (MPN):

  • Entrance Counseling - To ensure you understand your loan responsibilities and obligations.
  • Master Promissory Note – A legal document in which you promise to repay your federal student loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to your lender.
  • Exit Counseling – Required each time you drop below half-time enrollment, graduate, or leave school (even if transferring to another school). Please note that completing exit counseling does not cause your loans to enter repayment.

All requirements can be completed online at; you will need to login using your FSA ID.

Loan Limits:

Note, there are limits on the amount of Federal Direct Stafford Loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amount that you may borrow as an undergraduate or graduate/professional student (lifetime loan limits).

Different loan limits also apply to dependent vs. independent undergraduate students.

Helpful Links:

PDF icon Direct Loan Limits (published by USAFunds)

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Interest Rates

Direct Loan Repayment Information

Federal Student Loans – Basics for Students