University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Federal Direct Loans

If you are not eligible for grant funding, Loans are monies that you and/or your parents will repay with interest over a specified period of time. Often, students are not eligible for grant funding, but they still need funding for college. Loan programs are the answer. They allow you and your parents to finance an education that may not have otherwise been affordable.

Federal Direct Student Loans

What are Direct Loans? 

Direct Loans are an available resource for students who are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) and are either subsidized or unsubsidized.

  • Direct Subsidized Loan-a Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. The Federal government makes the interest payment on this loan while you are enrolled in school; therefore, you will not be charged any interest before you begin repayment or during any deferment periods.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan-a Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You are responsible for the interest that accrues on the loan from the time of disbursement until it is paid in full; however, you may elect to capitalize your interest, which takes the interest that accrues during the year and adds it to the principal of the loan.

How much can I borrow?

You may borrow a maximum of $31,000 as a dependent, undergraduate or $57,500 as an independent, undergraduate in the Federal Direct Loan program. As you complete credits, the amount of loan money that you are permitted to borrow increases:

Completed Credits

Dependent Students

Independent Students


$ 5,500 (of which $3,500 can be subsidized)

$ 9,500 *(of which $3,500 can be subsidized)


$ 6,500 (of which $4,500 can be subsidized)

$ 10,500 *(of which $4,500 can be subsidized)

54 or more

$ 7,500 (of which $5,500 can be subsidized)

$ 12,500 * (of which $5,500 can be subsidized)

*Amounts include additional unsubsidized loan funds which are available to independent students and to dependent students whose parents are denied the PLUS loan. Also, please note that lenders can take origination fees ranging from 1%-4% of your loan which is deducted from the amount borrowed.

What is the interest rate? 

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

  • 3.73% for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022
  • 2.75% for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021

When does repayment begin?

Repayment begins following the six-month grace period, meaning that six months after you graduate, withdraw from the institution, or drop below half-time status (less than six credits), you will begin repayment.

How do I apply for the Direct Student Loan?

You can apply for the Direct Student Loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once your financial aid file is complete, we will certify your Direct Student Loan. If you are a first-time borrower, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. You will also need to complete entrance counseling, which can be done online at

How do I choose a lender?

The University of Pittsburgh participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This means that all Direct loan borrowers, including students at the Johnstown campus, will borrow Direct Student Loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Federal Direct Plus Loans

What are Direct PLUS Loans?
Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are federally guaranteed loans available to help pay for your child's educational expenses. In order to be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, you must have an acceptable credit history and your son or daughter must be enrolled at least half time (at least 6 credits) and making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree. Both the borrower and the student must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.

How much can I borrow?
The annual limit on a Direct PLUS Loan is equal to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid that the student is receiving. For example, if the cost of attendance is $15,000 and the student is receiving $7,000 in other financial aid, then you could borrow up to -- but no more than -- $8,000. A 4.228% origination fee is deducted from each Direct PLUS loan. 

What is the interest rate?
The interest rate on a Direct PLUS Loan is fixed at 6.28%. Interest is charged on a Direct PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full.

  • Because credit checks are only valid for 180 days, PLUS loan requests will be available at according to the following schedule:
    • Academic year (August - April) - Approximately mid-March
    • Summer (May – August) – Approximately mid-January

When does repayment begin?
Two repayment options exist:

  • Begin repayment of the principal and interest 60 days after the loan fully disburses.
  • Defer principal and interest payments until six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits). Deferments must be requested on an annual basis, and interest accrues during deferment periods. To request a deferment, call 800-848-0979.

How do I choose a lender?
You will not select a lender. Pitt-Johnstown participates in the Direct Loan program, so you will borrow from the U.S. Department of Education. 

How do I apply for a Direct PLUS Loan?

  • All Parent PLUS applications must be initiated with the Department of Education at
  • Parent borrowers must sign in using their own Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to complete the Direct Loan PLUS Request. If you do not have an FSA ID, visit
  • Because credit checks are only valid for 180 days, PLUS loan requests will be available at according to the following schedule:

Academic year (August - April) - Approximately mid-May
Summer (May – August) – Approximately mid-March

  • First-time borrowers, whose credit is approved, must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You may complete the MPN electronically at and use your federal FSA ID to sign the MPN (recommended), or you have the option to have a paper MPN mailed to you for completion.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at (if you have not already done so). Pitt-Johnstown will not process this request until a completed FAFSA is on file.

What happens if I am denied the Direct PLUS Loan?
If your application is denied due to adverse credit, two alternate options exist:

  • Seek a credit-worthy endorser for the loan. If an endorser is used, the MPN becomes a "single loan" note and is not valid for 10 years. By signing, the endorser promises to repay the loan if you fail to repay the loan.
  • The student may apply for additional unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan funds, up to $4000 for students who have completed 53 or fewer credits and up to $5,000 for students who have completed 53.5 or more credits. You must reapply for the Direct PLUS Loan each year and be denied in order for your child to receive the additional unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan. 
Loan Counseling
A new provision requires special loan counseling for any PLUS Loan applicant who has an adverse credit history but who qualifies for a PLUS Loan through the process of reconsideration due to extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an endorser for the loan.