Graduate and Professional Student Loans

Graduate and Professional Student Loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest loans to eligible students to help cover the cost of education.



Under the William D. Ford Federal Loan (Direct Loan) Program, the U.S. Department of Education offers two types of loans to eligible Graduate, degree-seeking students.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to Graduate and Professional students. There is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • Direct PLUS Loans are available to Graduate or Professional students. Like the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. This loan is credit-based.

In general, the requirements for you to receive a Federal Direct Loan include: 

  • Be enrolled at least half-time. Normally, 5 units of graduate level coursework is considered half-time.
  • Be a degree-seeking Graduate or Professional student.


Yes. One of the eligibility requirements to receive a Direct PLUS Loan is that the applicant must not have an adverse credit history. A credit check is performed to determine whether a Direct PLUS Loan applicant meets this requirement. Below are answers to common questions about adverse credit and Direct PLUS Loans

For purposes of qualifying for a Direct PLUS Loan, you’re considered to have an adverse credit history if 

  • you have one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off (written off) during the two years preceding the date of the credit report; or 
  • during the five years preceding the date of the credit report, you have been subject to a
    • default determination, 
    • discharge of debts in bankruptcy, 
    • foreclosure, 
    • repossession, 
    • tax lien, 
    • wage garnishment, or 
    • write-off of a federal student aid debt 

See Department of Education document for more information, 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will notify you if you are denied the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. The school will provide the loan reference/ ID number for a denied loan through an email to the Student’s Arizona email account.

  • If you are denied the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, there are two options available.
  • OSFA will not continue to process the loan until you communicate via email as to which of the two options you prefer.
  • Please note that once one of the options is selected, our office will process your aid based on that selection. You must notify our office via email to authorize a change in your original selection, as we will not take action based solely on new information received from ED or over the phone.

The two options available when a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is denied for adverse credit are listed below:

1. Appeal the adverse credit decision with the Direct Loan Applicant Service Center at 1.800.557.7394.

2. Obtain a credit worthy endorser. Be aware that if your loan request is denied, it will most likely continue to be denied in the future. You should be prepared to secure an endorser who can also assist you in future years. The steps the endorser must complete are listed below:

  • Obtain a Federal FSA ID.
  • Sign in with the FSA ID at
  • Use the Loan Reference Number (same as the loan identification number, also called an "Endorser Code" or "Award Identification Number") that OSFA will provide to you via email. 

The endorsement is only valid for one loan. You must complete a new Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note and endorsement each time you request a Federal Graduate PLUS loan.

Visit our Accept Your Loans page for detailed instructions.

Find current interest rates and loan fee information on Federal Student Aid.

Your school determines the loan type(s), if any, and the actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year (i.e., at the University of Arizona an academic year consists of the Fall, Spring and Summer terms). There are limits on the amount in loans you may be eligible to receive which is referred to as your annual loan limit and your aggregate loan limit. These limits vary depending on your career in school.

Learn more Annual and Aggregate Loan Limits

Before you take out a loan, it’s important to understand that a loan is a legal obligation that you will be responsible for repaying with interest. You may not have to begin repaying your federal student loans right away, but you don’t have to wait to understand your responsibilities as a borrower. 

Watch this video from Federal Student Aid to learn more about responsible borrowing.

Before you borrow or enter repayment, you can use the Department of Education's Repayment Estimator to get an early look at which repayment plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall.

Requesting Additional Federal Direct Loan Funds

To request that additional Direct Loan funds be offered, you must contact our office via the Ask Aid portal or call 520-621-1858.

Requesting Cancelation of Your Federal Direct Loan(s)

A written request (fax: 520.621.9473, email: via the Ask Aid portal) is required to reduce or cancel a Federal Direct Loan. If the funds have already disbursed to your Bursar billing account, you will be required to return the disbursed funds before the loan will be canceled. Any account balance created as a result of the reduction or cancelation of a disbursed loan must be repaid immediately.

Your consent is not required if the University of Arizona must cancel or reduce your loans to remain in compliance with Federal regulations. Regardless of the type of cancelation, any account balance created as a result of the reduction or cancelation of a disbursed loan must be repaid by the student immediately.

OSFA will begin offering Graduate students with Federal Direct Loans in early July. Review instructions for how to apply for aid here

You may request to be offered the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan by contacting the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid office. Your request will be reviewed and if you are offered the loan, you must follow instructions listed here to accept and apply for the loan as the loan does require a credit-check.

Fall 2023-Spring 2024 Federal Direct Loan Dates

In general, loans can begin to be accepted in mid-July for the following academic year (fall and spring semester) and must be accepted by the last day of the semester in which you attend. 

A student is no longer eligible for loan funds if they cease attendance or their enrollment becomes less than halftime and the loans were not accepted before the enrollment change.

Federal Direct Loans accepted after the following priority deadlines may not be processed. Please review the important dates below to ensure the timely processing of your direct loan funds.

Students and parents must accept Federal Direct Loans before the end of the academic term for which they (or their students) are registered. If students are not registered for the spring term, their federal loans must be accepted and processed before the end of the fall term.

Fall 2023 deadline to enroll in Web Refund August 10, 2023
Spring 2024 deadline to enroll in Web Refund January 2, 2024
Deadline to Accept loans for December graduates or students not enrolled for Spring 2024 December 11, 2023
Deadline to Accept 2023-2024 Federal Loans April 25, 2024


Accept Your loans