Federal Direct Loans are made directly from the U.S. Federal government to students through the Federal Direct Loan Program. The two types of Direct Loans are Subsidized Loans and Unsubsidized Loans.

Federal Subsidized Loan

These loans are based on demonstrated need determined by the Office of Financial Aid. The government pays the interest on federally Subsidized loans during the student's full-time enrollment and in authorized deferment periods.

Federal Unsubsidized Loan

The student is responsible for all the interest that accrues on this loan, including interest that accrues while in school. Interest also accumulates during deferment and the grace period. Once the student enters repayment the interest becomes part of the loan principal in a process called capitalization.

Students without full eligibility for the Federal Subsidized Loan are eligible for this loan program.

Undergraduate Students

Maximum Loan Amount

  • First Year: $5,500 maximum of which up to $3,500 can be in the form of Subsidized loan funds.
  • Second Year: $6,500 maximum of which up to $4,500 can be in the form of Subsidized loan funds.
  • Third Year: $7,500 maximum of which up to $5,500 can be in the form of Subsidized loan funds.
  • Fourth Year: $7,500 maximum of which up to $5,500 can be in the form of Subsidized loan funds.

Interest Rate for the 2023-2024 academic year

3.73% for Loans disbursed between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
5.50% for Loans disbursed between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.


Direct loan fees are 1.057% for loans disbursed between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2024. Direct loan fees are deducted from the loan proceeds at disbursement. For example, a Direct loan disbursement of $2000 would have $21 in fees deducted from it so that the net proceeds of the disbursement would be $1,979.

Note: Direct loans are fixed rate loans. Undergraduate Direct loans taken out in the 2023–2024 academic year that are disbursed after June 30, 2023 will have a fixed rate of 5.50% for the life of that loan. Each academic year the government will determine the interest rates for that year’s loans. The interest rate for undergraduate Direct Loans is based on an index + 2.05%. Under the law, the index rate is determined each year as the “10-Year Treasury Note High Yield” auctioned at the final auction held prior to the June 1 preceding the July 1 of the year for which the rate will be effective.


  • Students must have a completed financial aid application for the applicable academic year.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens
  • Students must be accepted in a degree-seeking program.
  • Students must be registered at least half-time.
  • Students must attend classes and maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to be eligible for their loans.
  • Direct loans are awarded as part of a student’s financial aid package. Once the loan is awarded the student will need to accept the Direct loan award(s) online via eCommon.
  • First time Direct loan borrowers at Emerson College are required to complete Direct loan Entrance Counseling and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). These documents can be completed at any time at www.studentaid.gov.
  • All borrowers are required to participate in Exit Loan Counseling if they stop attending or drop below half-time standing. Exit Counseling can be completed online via www.studentaid.gov.

How to Apply

All students wishing to borrow a Direct Loan must complete their annual FAFSA and then accept the Direct loan award(s) online via eCommon. Emerson College will notify the Direct Lending Service that you are attending Emerson College and certify your eligibility for a Direct Loan. A fall semester applicant’s lender will be notified in late June. A spring semester applicant’s lender will be notified starting in December.

If you have not previously borrowed a Direct Loan at Emerson College:

  1. You must complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). To complete the Direct Loan MPN, go to the Direct Loan Website. You only need to do the MPN once and it is valid for subsequent loans for up to 10 years.
  2. You must complete the federally required Entrance Interview. The Interview can be found on the Direct Loan Website. If you have borrowed a Direct Loan at Emerson College in the past, you do not need to complete another Entrance Interview.

Note: The following PDFs may not be accessible for assistive technologies. If you need assistance accessing this file's contents, please contact finaid [at] emerson.edu (finaid[at]emerson[dot]edu).


Loans are disbursed in two equal installments split evenly between each semester, each portion disburses after the Add/Drop period each semester.

  • The estimated Fall 2023 term disbursement date is 9/22/2023
  • The estimated Spring 2024 term disbursement date is 2/2/2024

If you enroll in Summer 2023 and apply for financial aid, the estimated disbursement date is 7/17/2023.

Right to Cancel

When your loan has disbursed, Emerson College is required by fed reg to notify the borrower that the funds have disbursed to their student account. Further, this regulation states that we must inform you of your right to cancel all or a portion of your loan. To do so, you must submit a written request via email to studentloans [at] emerson.edu within fourteen (14) days of the date of this notice and include the following information:

  • Type of loan(s) to be cancelled
  • Amount of loan(s) to be cancelled
  • Date of request

Please note that the student is the borrower of the Federal Direct Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) and Graduate PLUS loan. The parent is the borrower of the Federal Direct PLUS Loan. The parent is the borrower of the Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

Upon receipt of the request, the College will cancel the loan(s) and return the funds to the lender/servicer. We will send confirmation of this to the borrower. Please be aware that if you have used a student or parent loan to pay your semester bill, cancellation of any loans(s) may result in an open balance owed to the College. Emerson requires immediate payment of balances resulting from cancellation of your loan(s).

If you submit a request to cancel a loan beyond the 14-day period, the College is not required to honor your request. However, we will give it every consideration and notify you, in writing, of the outcome.


For Subsidized Loans, the interest is subsidized while the student is enrolled at least half time. Once a student is attending less than half time, leaves, or graduates, the student will enter their 6 month grace period. Loans disbursed after July 1, 2014 after graduation or separation from the school. Repayment of principal and interest begins after the 6 month grace period

Note: If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

For Unsubsidized Loans, interest accrues each month after the funds are disbursed to the school. Unsubsidized loans have a 6 month grace period after the student drops below half-time status, leaves, or graduates; however, interest does accrue each month while the student is in school.

There are several repayment options available. Students will receive Exit Loan Counseling when they leave school. To review your repayment information now, visit the Federal Student Aid website. It also offers helpful interest and repayment calculators to help you better understand your repayment options.

You can also read our Loan Repayment Options page for more information about loan repayment assistance.

Emerson College’s two year cohort default rate on Direct Loans is 1.4% which is substantially lower than the national average of 9.1%.