Loans are funds that are borrowed to help pay for your education expenses. Loans must be repaid, usually with interest. You must be a degree-seeking student and  enrolled at least half-time status in eligible coursework (recognized in your program curriculum and corresponding Degree Audit) to receive Federal loans.

  • Federal Direct Loans


    Governors State University participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program where students borrow directly form the federal government. Federal loan programs offer interest rates and more flexible repayment plans than most private loans. 

    Student loans are not prorated based on enrollment. However, you must be enrolled at least half-time status in eligible coursework (recognized in your program curriculum and corresponding Degree Audit) to be eligible for loans. Failure to stay enrolled at least half-time will cause ineligibility for student loans.

    •   Federal Direct Subsidized Loan (undergraduates only): is a loan for undergraduate students. Eligibility is determined by your FAFSA results and your undergraduate academic level. The government pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half-time. Loan maximums vary according to academic level and dependency status. 
    •  Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: is a loan for undergraduate or graduate/professional students. Eligibility is not based on your FAFSA results, but it is determined by your academic level. The interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan accrues from the date of disbursement. Loan maximums vary according to academic level and dependency status. 

    The federal Stafford Loan programs carry both annual and cumulative (lifetime) limits. The SAR (Student Aid Report) from your FAFSA contains your cumulative borrowing history, and you may also view your entire student loan history online via

    Subsidized + Unsubsidized
    Dependent Freshman$5,500$3,500
    Dependent Sophomore$6,500$4,500
    Dependent Junior/Senior$7,500$5,500
    Independent Freshman$9,500$3,500
    Independent Sophomore     $10,500$4,500
    Independent Junior/Senior$12,500$5,500

    Lifetime Limits  

      Subsidized + Unsubsidized
    Dependent Undergraduate$31,000$23,000
    Independent Undergraduate$57,500$23,000
    *The graduate debt limit includes loans received for undergraduate study.


    What happens if I reach a lifetime limit?

    If you reach a lifetime loan limit, you will no longer be able to receive any more of that type of loan. If you exceed the limit, aid already disbursed will be billed back. You will have to find alternate ways to finance your education. Therefore it is to your advantage to borrow only what you need for educational expenses, and to keep track of your cumulative debt. Our counselors are happy to work with you to find ways to minimize your borrowing. 

    150% Subsidized Loan Limit

    Below are the maximum lengths of time a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans depending on their academic program.  If a student reaches the 150% Subsidized Loan Limit, they are no longer eligible to borrow any additional Direct Subsidized loans. Also, if they continue attending, they will lose the interest subsidy on their previously borrowed loans beginning on the first day of continued enrollment. 

    Length of Degree ProgramMaximum Eligibility Period
    2 Years3 Years
    4 Years6 Years
    5 Years7.5 Years


    Consolidated Loans

    Consolidated Loans representing any underlying Stafford or SLS loans that were  paid off by the Consolidation Loan is counted towards the aggregate Stafford Loan limits. 

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan


    Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students (Parent PLUS) or graduate/professional students (Grad PLUS). Generally, borrowers are eligible if they:

    • do not have an adverse credit history
    • are not in default on a federal student loan

    The interest accrues from the date of disbursement. A borrower may request up to the amount of the cost of education minus other financial aid received, including any other educational loans.Visit the Federal Direct PLUS Loans page for more information.

  • Private Student Loans


    Private loans are non-federal educational loans. These loans are typically offered by private lenders (educational financing institutions, guaranty agencies, banks) to assist with educational and living expenses not covered by other financial aid. In general, you may borrow up to the cost of education minus all other financial aid you receive. Before you apply for a private loan, Governors State recommends researching all TitleIV federal forms of aid, including PLUS loans, as they may be more favorable to borrow.

     Governors State University does not promote or endorse any private educational loan lenders. ELM Select is a loan comparison tool that assists the borrowers in selecting a private loan. Please review the information carefully and contact the lender with questions.ELM Select lists several of the loan companies from which our students have chosen to borrow during the previous aid year.


    Be aware:


    • If you are attending non-consecutive semesters, you will need to apply for a loan EACH SEMESTER.
    • Once processed, only reductions and cancellations can be made. 
    • Students who want to cancel a disbursement of a private loan or cancel the loan entirely MUST submit a written request to the Office of Financial Aid. The borrower must also notify the lender of the intent to cancel funds.