Loans

Federal Direct Loan Programs

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The non-need-based Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is offered on your Financial Aid Notification based on the review of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The terms of this loan require that the student borrower repay, with interest.

First-Time Borrowers: If you wish to borrow from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program, please review How to Apply below.
Repeat Borrowers: The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan will be processed for the amount listed on the Financial Aid Notification.

The terms of the non-need-based Federal Direct Loan Program require that the student borrower repay, with interest, this source of financial assistance. Additional terms, subject to revision by federal regulation, include:

  • 6.54% fixed interest rate for graduate students during repayment for loans first disbursed from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023
  • 1.057% origination fee for student loans with a first disbursement date from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2022
  • Repayment on both principal and interest begins six months after the student ceases to be enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis, generally extending over a 10-year period
  • $138,000 maximum aggregate graduate borrowing limit for "Unsubsidized" loans. 

“Unsubsidized” Federal Direct Loans do accumulate interest while the student is enrolled in school. Interest begins to accrue after disbursement of the loan funds; however, the student may choose to have the payment of the interest deferred during enrollment and later capitalized (added to principal) at the time of repayment.  For more information about Federal Direct Loans, visit studentaid.gov.

How to Apply

Borrowers who wish to utilize the Federal Direct Loan Program (Student), should complete the steps below as soon as possible to ensure Notre Dame can begin processing your loan(s) prior to the fall semester statement. The two steps below only need to be completed if you are a first-time borrower at Notre Dame. 

STEP 1. Complete Entrance Counseling (First-time Borrowers)

Visit studentaid.gov.

“Log In” using the student's FSA ID (Federal Student Aid username and password).

Select “Complete Entrance Counseling.”

The interactive entrance counseling session helps you to understand your loan responsibilities and provides tools to develop a budget for managing educational expenses. Entrance counseling takes 20-30 minutes to complete and requires your FSA ID (used to complete your FAFSA).

STEP 2. Complete Master Promissory Note (First-time Borrowers)

Complete/Submit "Master Promissory Note."

Select "Subsidized/Unsubsidized."

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN also offers details on the terms and conditions of the loan. Completion of the MPN takes up to 30 minutes and requires the following:

  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of two references
  • Your driver’s license number (if applicable)

Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Students

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan provides a borrowing option in excess of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan for Graduate/Professional Students. Based upon your credit history, you may borrow through this federally guaranteed, non-need-based loan program. We encourage students to exhaust their Federal Direct Student Unsubsidized Loan eligibility prior to borrowing from the Federal PLUS Loan program, as the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has more favorable terms.  Additional terms, subject to revision by federal regulation, include:

  • 7.54% fixed interest rate during repayment for loans first disbursed from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023
  • 4.228% origination fee for PLUS loans with a first disbursement date from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2022
  • Repayment on both principal and interest begins six months after the student ceases to be enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis, generally extending over a 10-year period
  • Graduate/professional student’s ability to apply for up to the full cost of education minus other packaged student aid

Eligibility

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receive a determination of Federal Direct Loan eligibility by the Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for a PLUS Loan.

For more information, please review How to Apply below.

NOTE: Information about your loans will be reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).  Information in NSLDS is accessible to schools and loan servicers for specific purposes as authorized by the department.

How to Apply

Borrowers who wish to utilize the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Program should complete the steps below as soon as possible to ensure Notre Dame can begin processing your loan. 

STEP 1. Apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Visit studentaid.gov.

“Log In” using the student's FSA ID (Federal Student Aid username and password).

Select "Apply for a Grad PLUS Loan."

Complete the loan application through the Department of Education. Applications will automatically be sent to the school within a few business days. 

STEP 2. Complete Entrance Counseling (First-time Borrowers)

Select “Complete Entrance Counseling.”

The interactive entrance counseling session helps you to understand your loan responsibilities and provides tools to develop a budget for managing educational expenses. Entrance counseling takes about 20-30 minutes to complete and requires your FSA ID (used to complete your FAFSA). 

STEP 3. Complete Master Promissory Note (First-time Borrowers)

Complete/Submit "Master Promissory Note."

Select "MPN for Graduate/Professional Students."

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN also offers details on the terms and conditions of the loan. Completion of the MPN takes up to 30 minutes and requires the following:

  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of two references

  • Your driver’s license number (if applicable)


Federal Loan Processing Overview

The U.S. Department of Education will notify Notre Dame after you have completed entrance counseling and signed your MPN.

You will receive a disclosure statement from the U.S. Department of Education providing specific information about your loan, including loan amount, fees, and the expected disbursement dates.

To ensure your loan disbursement is credited to your University account for the start of the fall term, complete the two steps above as soon as you are able. Loans are processed starting in June as soon as the steps above are completed.

The Office of Financial Aid will notify you via email when your loan funds have been disbursed to your University account.

Loan applications cannot be processed after the academic year ends or if the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

The timely repayment of your student loans is important to maintaining a good credit history, especially if you wish to consider applying for future consumer or student loans. Therefore, it is important to know who owns your loan, when your payments are due, how to make a payment and your total amount of indebtedness. Federal regulations require that all students who have borrowed from the federal loan programs receive exit loan counseling. Exit loan counseling provides details regarding a borrower’s rights and responsibilities for student loan repayment, deferment options, and loan consolidation benefits.

Learn more about the Federal Direct Loan Program by visiting studentaid.gov.

Learn more about repayment options for Federal Direct Loans by visiting studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment.


Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group

The Ombudsman Group is dedicated to helping resolve disputes related to Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, and Guaranteed Student Loans. If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your loan dispute and you still are not satisfied, you may need to contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The Ombudsman Group is a neutral, informal, and confidential resource to help resolve disputes about your federal student loans.

Additional information on the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group is available from the Department of Education.


Private Loans

After exhausting the opportunities available from the federal aid programs, you may consider private loan programs as a source of funding. You may apply for the full cost of education (minus other student aid) from this non-need-based loan option. As always, taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amounts needed. Additional information is available from the Department of Education publication, Federal Aid First.


Additional Financing Options

Monthly Payment Plan

A Nelnet Payment Plan will allow you to make monthly payments versus making two larger payments, one at the beginning of each semester.

Earned Assistance

Graduate and professional students working on campus are typically employed on assistantship agreements arranged directly with their academic department. Earnings from part-time work are intended to help you pay for personal and other related educational expenses. Non-need-based stipends do not affect your financial aid and thus, will not be reflected on your FAN. Part-time employment opportunities may be found on the JOBboard.