US Students

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are made directly to students through the US Department of Education in subsidized and unsubsidized loans.  Loans are borrowed money you must repay. Your program year determines your maximum loan amounts. You cannot exceed either your yearly borrowing limit (see Undergrad Loan Maximums or Grad Loan Maximums ) or your estimated cost of attendance (see  Undergrad FAQs and Graduates FAQs).

Subsidized & Unsubsidized loans

Subsidized loans are awarded to undergraduates only based on your financial need.  There is no interest charged on these amounts while you are in school.

Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and interest is incurred from the time the loan is disbursed until it is repaid in full.  

See the US Department of Education's Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

Topic Subsidized Unsubsidized
Who pays the iterest? The federal government pays interest on subsidized loans while you are in school at least half-time and during grace and deferment periods. Some limitations apply: refer to your Borrower Rights and Responsibilities Statement in your Master Promissory Note. Interest starts accruing (accumulating) from the time the funds are disbursed to you
Financial Need a Requirement? Yes No

Who pays the interest for an unsubsidized loan?

You (the student) are responsible for all interest. You can choose to pay the interest as it accumulates or have it capitalized while you are in school.  If you let the interest capitalize, your loan principal will increase and you will have to pay interest on the increased loan principal amount.  This will result in the total amount you repay over the life of your loan being greater, than if you paid the interest while you are in school.

Eligibility Requirements: Enrollment Status


    Half time

    Three Quarter time

    Full time


    8-11 units 12-14 units 15+ units

    Graduate Per Unit Program

    5 units 6-9 units 10+ units
    Graduate Research Based Program Full time if registered in program

How will SFU Calculate my Cost of Attendance?

The total cost of attendance includes tuition, student fees, books, a return transportation allowance, and a standard living allowance for your academic study period. Effective Fall 2017, SFU will be using an average of 12 units per term for undergrads to calculate your Tuition for your loan period.

If you will be registering in additional units, and you are have remaining room in your loan maximums, and you need additional funding, contact us at to revise your loan.

If you will be registering in fewer units, and you want to cancel or reduce your loan prior to disbursement, contact us at to revise your loan.

What are the other eligibility requirements?

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) while at SFU
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program at SFU
  • Be a US citizen, national, US permanent resident or an eligible non-citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent (e.g., GED)
  • Comply with the US Selective Service Registration requirements.  You can register online at:, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 25
  • Be in good standing with any previous loans
  • Not have obtained loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate loan limits.

You can verify information on your previous loans and/or aggregate loan amounts at:

Find more details about eligibility requirements at

Consumer Disclosure Information

The US Department of Education requires schools to develop a consumer information document that includes links on such things such as financial aid information, academic programs, tuition and fees, transfer credits, refund policies, SFU Retention and Graduation Rates, student health and safety. Please see SFU's 2018 Consumer Disclousre Information.

SFU will be entering into an agreement with you, the student, or the Parent Borrower (if Parent Plus Loan), regarding your Direct Lend loan. You information will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System and will be accessible by servicers determined to be authorized users of the data system.

Distance Education Courses

If you take any Distance Education and/or an online course as a part of a credential, you will be ineligible for US Direct Loan funding for the duration of your program. For more information about Distance Education and US Loans.