Rule Limits Amount of Time for Loans


If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time that you can receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.

This limit is measured by time (published length of program of study), not dollars.

  • A first-time borrower is one who borrows after July 1, 2013, for the first time.
  • A first-time borrower can be someone who borrowed money and has paid off the entire balance and is borrowing again or anew for the first time after July 1, 2013.

If this limit applies to you, you cannot receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of your program of study. This rule applies to certificate programs as well as degree programs.

Maximum eligibility period = 150% of the current length of your program of study, including certificate programs

Why Is This Important?

  • Your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length.
  • Changing programs multiple times or transferring can impact your eligibility.
  • Enrolling or transferring into a shorter-length program could cause you to lose your interest subsidy when previously the U.S. Department of Education would have paid for it. If you lose your subsidy, you cannot regain it.
  • Your Subsidized Eligibility Usage period is tracked for each semester in which you take out a subsidized loan.

This time limit does not apply to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS loans.

Have Questions?

Have questions about your eligibility? Check out these resources: