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U.S. Student Loans

Loan Funding for US students


Government loans

Students who are citizens or permanent residents of the US may apply for Stafford and PLUS loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans - DL). This program includes Stafford and PLUS (parent and Graduate) loans only. Students attending foreign schools are not eligible for grants from the US government. Students must be registered in a degree program. Students in online or correspondence programs are not eligible.

NOTE:  The following programs are not eligible for funding through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program:  all nursing programs, doctor of medicine, diploma programs or certificate programs.

How much can I borrow?

Stafford loans are need-based (subsidized) and non-need based (unsubsidized) and are subject to annual limits. The maximum amount you can borrow each year depends on your grade level and on whether you are a dependent student or an independent student. The loan calculation includes information from your FAFSA, information about other financial aid you are receiving and the cost of attendance (tuition and living expenses), which is set by the school. The loan calculation determines whether the base amount of the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized. The remainder of the Stafford loan is always unsubsidized. If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, an additional unsubsidized amount may be borrowed.

Annual loan limits for dependent undergraduates

Grade Level Base Amount Unsubsidized Loan TOTAL Additional Unsubsidized Loan if PLUS Denied Total if PLUS Denied
Freshman $3,500 $2,000 $5,500 $4,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500 $4,000 $10,500
Junior and Higher $5,500 $2,000 $7,500 $5,000 $12,500


Annual loan limits for independent undergraduates

Independent undergraduates may borrow the same base amounts as dependent undergraduates plus both amounts of the additional unsubsidized Stafford loan.

Grade Level
Base Amount
Additional Unsubsidized Stafford Total
Freshman
$3,500
$6,000
$9,500
Sophomore
$4,500
$6,000
$10,500
Junior and Higher
$5,500
$7,000
$12,500


Annual loan limits for graduate and professional students

Graduate and professional students may borrow up to the cost of attendance, to a maximum of $20,500US.

Grade Level   Unsubsidized Loan
Graduate or Professional   $20,500


How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?

  1. Complete a FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year. Dalhousie's federal code is G06838.
  2. E-sign a Stafford Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  3. E-mail awards@dal.ca to advise us if you want the full eligible amount of Stafford loans or just the subsidized amount and of any financial aid/scholarships you are receiving (excluding any Dalhousie awards). All funds and requests should be given in US dollars.
  4. Students who are first time borrowers of Stafford loans must complete Entrance Counselling.

How will I get the loan funds?

Funds will be disbursed electronically to your student account at Dalhousie. The first disbursement will be in early September (except for programs which begin in August) provided Entrance Counselling has been completed by mid-August. The second disbursement of funds for all students will be made the first week of January. For Graduate Students, the third disbursements will be in early May. Once your tuition and fees are paid, any remaining funds are to be used for your book and living expenses. See the refunds section for information on how to request a refund.

How do I apply for a PLUS Loan?

Parents and Graduate/Professional (Law, Medicine, Dentistry, BEDS) program students who wish to borrow funds through the Parent/Graduate PLUS program must complete 3 steps (4 steps for first time borrowers of the PLUS):

  1. Complete a FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year. Dalhousie's federal code is G06838.
  2. E-sign a Plus Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  3. Complete the Plus Loan application.
  4. E-mail awards@dal.ca to advise us how much Parent/Graduate PLUS loan you wish to borrow and of any financial aid/scholarships you are receiving. All funds and requests should be given in US dollars.
  5. Students who are first time borrowers of Parent/Graduate PLUS loans must complete Entrance Counselling.

How are PLUS Loans disbursed?

Funds from Parent/Graduate Plus loans will be disbursed electronically in two disbursements to your Dalhousie student account. The first disbursement will be in early September (continguent on the Entrance Counselling being complete for Graduate Plus Loans), the second in early January. Three Disbursements of Graduate PLUS loans for programs that the academic year covers three terms will be required. The third disbursement will be in early May.

Deadline to apply

All parts of the application process (FAFSA, completion of the MPN(s), and the email to be sent to us) should be completed by July 15  to ensure timely processing.  Once all necessary steps have been completed, your award letter will be emailed to you.  You will be asked to respond to the email confirming acceptance of the full award or part of the award.  Please note that Dalhousie will continue to process Direct Loans up to one month prior to the end of the student's academic year.

Policies

Other US loan funding

Questions?

For mailing information or if you have further questions, please contact the Registrar’s Office or email: awards@dal.ca.