Federal Direct Loan Program

The Department of Education has two Federal Direct Loan Programs: the need-based Subsidized and the non-need-based Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan Programs. It is possible for a student to qualify for both programs. However, you may never borrow more than the loan limit or the difference between the cost of attendance and your other financial aid —whichever is less.

More information regarding applying for federal loans is available at

New York State students may qualify for loan forgiveness through the NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program.

Direct Loan Program - Subsidized (Need Based)

The Direct Loan Program provides loans up to $3,500 for freshmen, $4,500 for sophomores, and up to $5,500 for juniors, seniors or 5th-year undergraduate students. Loan proceeds will be disbursed 30 days after the beginning of the semester. The government will pay (subsidize) the interest on the loan while the student is in school. For Subsidized Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1 2023 and before July 1, 2024, the interest rate is 5.50%, subject to change.

Direct Loan Program - Unsubsidized (Non Need-Based)

This program is available only after Direct loan eligibility is determined. For Unsubsidized Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1 2023 and before July 1, 2024, the interest rate is 5.50%, subject to change. For graduate students, the interest rate is 7.05%. The borrower is responsible for paying interest while in school. Interest may be added to the amount borrowed, or paid when billed. The federal government has extended the Direct Loan program to now allow all students to borrow $2,000 in Unsubsidized Direct Loan funding. This amount has been included in your financial aid package. We do not encourage you to borrow more than you need, but want you to know that this additional resource is available.

Federal Direct Loan Limits (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students




$5,500 ($3,500)³

$9,500 ($3,500)

$20,500 for each year


$6,500 ($4,500)

$10,500 ($4,500)

3rd- and 4th-year

$7,500 ($5,500)

$12,500 ($5,500)


$31,000 ($23,000)

$57,500 ($23,000)

$138,5004 ($65,500)

1Except those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
2These limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to barrow a PLUS loan.
3The numbers in parentheses represent the maximum amount that may be subsidized.
4The aggregate amounts for graduate students include loans for undergraduate study.

The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by Houghton University and may be less than the maximum annual amounts shown in the chart above.  The aggregate limits include both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans received through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

Federal PLUS Loan

The PLUS Loan program is available to graduate students or the parent of a dependent undergraduate student. The yearly limit on a PLUS loan is equal to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. The Department of Education will complete a credit check. For Federal PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and before July 1, 2024, the interest rate is 8.05%, subject to change.  Dependent students whose parents have been denied a PLUS loan are eligible to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds. The PLUS loan application can be found at, where the parent will sign in with their own FSA ID to apply.

Alternative Student Loans

Alternative Student Loans are private educational loans.  The loan is in the student’s name; however, the student is required to have a credit-worthy cosigner. This may help lower the interest rate as well as increase the likelihood of approval. The interest rate varies by lender and credit score.  Students are eligible to apply for a maximum loan of the cost of attendance minus financial aid.  Loan approval is based on certification by the Student Financial Services Office and a credit-worthy history for the student and co-signer.

View Houghton's Preferred Lender List

Preferred Lender Disclosures

If you do not want to borrow from one of our preferred lenders, you may visit another lender’s website. We process the majority of our alternative loans through Great Lakes. If your lender does not process loans through Great Lakes, it is your responsibility to provide us with instructions of how to process your loan.