Top NavTop NavTop Nav

Federal Direct Loans

Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution. With Direct Loans, you

  • Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact - the Direct Loan Servicing Center - for everything related to the repayment of your loans, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
  • Have online access to your Direct Loan account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Direct Loans on the Web at
  • Can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.

Federal Subsidized Direct Loans

You may borrow these funds if you demonstrate financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid in accordance with federal regulations. In general, this means your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) must be less than the Cost of Attendance at Cal State East Bay. The amount you may borrow depends on your need and your grade level. While you are in school at least half-time (6 units or more), no repayment is required during school or the six-month grace period.

Repayment of loan principal and interest begins six months after enrollment falls below half-time, and is usually calculated over a maximum 10-year period.

If unpaid, the interest will be added (capitalized) to the principal amount of the loan when the grace period ends. The current in-school interest rate paid by the government is fixed at 3.76%.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans

You may borrow this variable interest loan without demonstrating financial need. This loan is similar to the Federal Subsidized loan except borrowers are responsible for interest, which begins to accrue at disbursement. The interest rate for undergraduates it is 3.76%i and for graduate students it is 5.31%

Limits and Repayment of Direct Stafford Loans

While this loan may cover the entire Cost of Attendance, including your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the amount you may borrow depends on your grade level. Borrowers are required to begin repayment of loan principal six months after enrollment falls below halftime, and repayment is calculated over a maximum 10-year period.

Direct Loan Counseling Sessions

Before your Direct Loan application is certified by the Financial Aid Office you must successfully complete an Online Direct Loan Counseling session. Federal regulations require we inform student loan borrowers of their rights and responsibilities regarding their loan and explain the terms and conditions of the Direct Stafford Loan program. Contact us at (510) 885-2784 M-Th 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., or email: if you have questions about loans.

Loan limits for undergraduate and graduate students are detailed respectively in the following two tables.

Federal Direct Loan Limits for Undergraduate Students - Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Dependent 1Independent 2
First Year - Freshman $5,500 ($3,500)3 $9,500 ($3,500)
Second Year - Sophomore $6,500 ($4,500) $10,500 ($4,500)
Third and Fourth Year - Junior and Senior $7,500 ($5,500) $12,500 ($5,500)
Credential, PHAP, and Unclassified Post Baccalaureate $5,500 ($5,500) $12,500) ($5,500)
Aggregate $31,000 ($23,000) $57,500 ($23,000)

1 Except those students whose parents are denied a PLUS loan.
2 These limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are denied a PLUS loan.
3 The numbers in parentheses represent the maximum Subsidized loan amounts.

Federal Direct Loan Limits for Graduate Students
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2016Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2016
Each Year $20,500 ($8,500) $20,500
Aggregate $138,500 1($65,500) $138,00 1($65,500)

1 The aggregate amounts for graduate students include loans borrowed during undergraduate study.

© California State University, East Bay. All Rights Reserved.