UC 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. The loans accrue simple interest while in school and repayment begins six months after graduation or dropping below half-time. Interest capitalizes upon entering repayment. The standard repayment length is 10 years. We offer Loan Repayment workshops in your final term to provide additional tips and strategies.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans are non-need based loans. The limit for your program is $20,500. All students who meet general eligibility requirements may qualify for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

  • Interest Rate: 6.6% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2018
  • Origination Fees: 1.062% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2018

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans are non-need based loans. Grad PLUS Loans 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 education each year, minus any other expected financial aid.

  • Interest Rate: 7.6% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2018
  • Origination Fees: 4.248% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2018

Available loan amounts. Below is a chart summarizing the available borrowing capacity each term. This is the amount you can expect to be offered to you each term.

Federal Borrowing Summer 2017 Fall 2017 Spring 2018 Summer 2018 Fall 2018 Total
Federal Direct Loan $4,100 $4,100 $4,100 $4,100 $4,100 $20,500
Federal Grad Plus $34,278 $34,278 $34,278 $34,278 $34,278 $171,390
Total $38,378 $38,378 $38,378 $38,378 $38,378 $191,890

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. Visit StudentAid.gov/fsaid for more information. To request federal loans, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Complete the FAFSA for the current AND upcoming standard academic years. For the class entering May 2018 you should complete the 2017-18 FAFSA by April 2018, the 2018-19 FAFSA by July 2018 and the 2019-20 FAFSA by July 2019.

Application Process for Federal Loans

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.