The University of California, Berkeley participates in the William D. Ford Federal Loan Program, which allows students enrolled at least half-time (6 units) to borrow money directly from the federal government at a fixed interest rate.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are non-need based loans. The annual limit is $20,500 per academic year. All students who meet general eligibility requirements may qualify for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Interest accrues at disbursement on the portion that is disbursed. The interest that accrues is not compounded or capitalized during periods of enrollment; the accrued interest is capitalized just prior to entering repayment.

  • Interest Rate: 6.6% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2018
  • Origination Fees: 1.066% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2017

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans are non-need based loans. Grad PLUS Loans are credit-based loans which require a credit check. To be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan you must meet the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid Programs, and must not have an adverse credit history (i.e. no more than 90 days late on any debt, no bankruptcies or tax liens within the past 5 years, and no defaults or adverse actions on any prior education debt). Students can borrow a Grad PLUS Loan up to the remaining total Cost of Attendance each year, minus any other expected financial aid. The definition of “adverse credit” for the Grad PLUS Loan is defined in detail on the FAQ section of the FSA (Federal Student Aid) website.

  • Interest Rate: 7.6% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2018
  • Origination Fees: 4.264% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2017

How to Apply

First, obtain a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to file your FAFSA. This FSA ID is also used to sign your Master Promissory Notes and access your loan accounts online. Keep the FSA ID, even after graduation. It will facilitate loan repayment and monitor your loan balance. Visit for more information.

To request federal loans, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our school code is 001312. The FAFSA must be filed each academic year that you wish to receive federal loans–you will not be offered a loan until the FAFSA for the applicable year has been filed. Although the FAFSA must be filed each year, the supplemental steps of Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling only need to be completed once while at Haas.The loans must be paid back beginning six months after graduation or dropping below half-time attendance. The standard repayment term for the loans is 10 years.

Application Process for Federal Loans
  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at [annually]
  • If the UC Berkeley Financial Aid Office requests it, submit additional documentation [contact Haas Financial Aid]
  • Once you have a UC CalNet ID and passphrase and have received your Financial Award Notification (beginning in June), accept your awards on CalCentral [annually]
  • Complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Direct Loans [just the first year you borrow]
  • Complete the Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you also wish to borrow this loan [just the first year you borrow]
  • Complete the Federal Loan online Entrance Counseling [just the first year you borrow]
  • Sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to more quickly receive loan funds borrowed beyond billable costs at [just the first year you borrow]

Federal Loan Eligibility

General Eligibility Requirements:
In order to be eligible for any of the federal loan programs, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident or eligible non-citizen
  2. You must have a valid Social Security Number
  3. You must be enrolled at least half-time for the semester (6 units)
  4. You must not be in default on a federal educational loan and not owe a refund on a federal grant
  5. You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
  6. If male, you must be registered with the Selective Service or obtain a waiver from the Selective Service Office

A note about Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain eligibility for federal and institutional aid, you must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). All graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 for continued participation in the program and graduation. If your GPA falls below the minimum, you will be placed on academic probation and may become ineligible for the undisbursed portion of any federal loan. Further, students must successfully complete at least 67% of attempted units both cumulatively and in each term that they are enrolled, including terms in which a student withdraws. There is a maximum time frame for receiving aid, therefore students who do not meet the guidelines noted above are encouraged to contact our office for more specific guidance as this maximum varies by program.

Loss of Federal Loan Subsidy for Graduate Students

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by Congress and signed into law in August 2011. This law removes subsidies on all graduate Federal Direct Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2012. (There is an exception for teacher credential programs which is not applicable to graduate business students.) This means that the option of a partial subsidy on the $20,500 Direct Loan will go away for the 2012-2013 academic year. No graduate business students will be offered the $8,500 subsidized loan after the 2011-2012 academic year. Additionally, the rebate on Federal Loan fees will go away.