Government Loans for United States (US) Citizens

Types of Loans

Direct Subsidized Loans Available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Available to undergraduate, graduate, or professional students. Eligibility is not based on financial need.

 

 

Direct PLUS Loans

 

 

Grad PLUS Loan

Available to graduate or professional students. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required.

Parent PLUS Loan

Available to parents of dependent undergraduate students. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required.

Note: US Pell Grants are not available to students attending foreign schools.


Eligibility

  • US citizens or permanent residents who are registered full-time (nine or more credits per term) in a degree-granting program are eligible (excluding students registered in medicine, dentistry, and nursing programs).
  • Students registered in Open Studies, certificate, diploma, or continuing education courses are not eligible.
  • Students who have been admitted to the University of Alberta under a non-matriculated (mature) student stream are not eligible.
  • Other situations may be deemed ineligible by the US Department of Education.

Note: Canadian / US dual citizens should consult with our loan experts before applying for loans.


Restrictions

  • Students cannot take courses through St. Joseph's College, St. Stephen's College, or online courses.
  • Students who wish to study abroad must study at a US loan eligible institution outside of the US.

Loan Amounts and Limits

For all students (undergraduate and graduate / professional), the US Direct Loan Program has annual as well as lifetime loan limits that vary based on:

  • Grade level
  • Status (dependent or independent)
  • Loan type: need-based (subsidized) or non-need based (unsubsidized and PLUS)
  • Cost of attendance (student cannot borrow more than this amount)

Annual Limits

Graduate / Professional

A graduate / professional student can borrow up to the cost of attendance or up to the specified loan limit (whichever comes first). The annual unsubsidized Direct Loan limit is US$20,500.

Grade Level / Status Aggregate (Lifetime) Loan Limits
Dependent undergraduate student

US$31,000
(no more than US$23,000 may be subsidized)

Independent or dependent undergraduate whose parent is ineligible for PLUS funding US$57,500
(no more than US$23,000 may be subsidized)
Graduate / professional student US$138,500
(no more than US$65,500 may be subsidized)
Undergraduate Dependent

An undergraduate's dependent status is determined by information on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The student can borrow up to the cost of attendance or up to the specified loan limit (whichever comes first).

The loan is divided into two amounts:

Base amount: Subsidized and/or unsubsidized (determined by the loan calculation: cost of attendance minus expected family contribution and financial aid received)

Unsubsidized amount: A standard amount of US$2,000 is available to all dependent undergraduate students. If the parent of a dependent undergraduate is denied a Parent PLUS Loan, the student is eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan amount that increases the annual loan limit.

Year of Study Base Amount
Subsidized / Unsubsidized Direct Loan
Unsubsidized Amount Direct Loan Annual Direct Loan Limit Additional Amount Unsubsidized Direct Loan if Parent PLUS Loan Denied Direct Loan Limit if PLUS Loan Denied
First Year US$3,500 US$2,000 US$5,500 US$4,000 US$9,500
Second Year US$4,500 US$2,000 US$6,500 US$4,000 US$10,500
Third Year US$5,500 US$2,000 US$7,500 US$5,000 US$12,500
Fourth Year US$5,500 US$2,000 US$7,500 US$5,000 US$12,500
Undergraduate Independent

An undergraduate's independent status is determined by information on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The student can borrow up to the cost of attendance or up to the specified loan limit (whichever comes first).

The loan is divided into two amounts:

Base amount: Subsidized and/or unsubsidized (determined by the loan calculation: cost of attendance minus expected family contribution and financial aid received)

Unsubsidized amount: Based on grad level (see chart below)

Year of Study Base Amount
Subsidized / Unsubsidized
Direct Loan
Unsubsidized Amount
Direct Loan
Annual Direct Loan Limit
First Year US$3,500 US$6,000 US$9,500
Second Year US$4,500 US$6,000 US$10,500
Third Year US$5,500 US$7,000 US$12,500
Fourth Year US$5,500 US$7,000 US$12,500

How to Apply

The application process and documentation required varies according to the type of loan you are applying for.

Direct Loan

1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year. The University of Alberta's federal code is: 00836200

2. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This must be done annually.

3. Grant the University of Alberta consent to view your FAFSA application via email usloans@ualberta.ca.

4. The University of Alberta will request further information to start the assessment of your student loan application.

Note: First-time student borrowers of Direct Loans will also be required to complete US Department of Education entrance counseling. If entrance counseling is not completed, loans are not disbursed.

Direct PLUS Loan

Grad PLUS Loan

1. Graduate students can apply for a Grad PLUS Loan only if they have already applied for the maximum amount of unsubsidized Direct Loan for which they are eligible.

2. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year. The University of Alberta's federal code is: 00836200.

3. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This must be done annually.

4. Complete a loan application to authorize a credit check and confirm with the University of Alberta your intent to receive a US government loan.

Note1: First-time student borrowers of Direct Loans will also be required to complete US Department of Education entrance counseling. If entrance counseling is not completed, loans are not disbursed.

Note2: Should a Direct PLUS Loan credit check be denied due to adverse credit history, the borrower may:

secure an approved endorser (who must pass the credit check), or

appeal the decision based on extenuating circumstances.

In either case, the applicant (not the endorser) will be required to complete US Department of Education PLUS counseling. This is not the same as entrance counseling.

Parent PLUS Loan

1. The student's loan(s) and the Parent PLUS Loan application(s) may be submitted concurrently.

2. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year. The University of Alberta's federal code is: 00836200.

3. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This must be done annually.

4. Complete a loan application to authorize a credit check and confirm with the University of Alberta your intent to receive a US government loan.

Note: Should a Direct PLUS Loan credit check be denied due to adverse credit history, the borrower may:

secure an approved endorser (who must pass the credit check), or

appeal the decision based on extenuating circumstances.

In either case, the applicant (not the endorser) will be required to complete US Department of Education PLUS counseling. This is not the same as entrance counseling.


Loan Deadlines

All steps in the application process must be completed by June 1 in order to ensure funds are available for the fall term fee payment deadline or December 1 for students registering in the winter term.

Late applications are processed on a rolling basis and there is no guarantee funds will be disbursed by the fee payment deadlines.

By US Department of Education regulations, a US Loan (subsidized, unsubsidized, or Grad / Parent PLUS) cannot be originated after the student's study period end date.


Receiving Your Loan

Once the loan has been assessed, you will receive a letter confirming your loan amount. The letter will be posted in Bear Tracks. You must accept or decline the loan amount, or request a different amount, by providing a written letter to an advisor in Student Connect or by email to usloans@ualberta.ca. This must be done at least 10 days prior to the first disbursement date listed.

The loan funds are disbursed to your student account in Canadian funds on the scheduled disbursement dates. The disbursement schedule for most students is two equal instalments:

  • Fall term: September (October for first time borrowers)
  • Winter term: January (all borrowers)

Deferring Your Existing US Government Loan(s)

Student registration is reported to the US Department of Education through the National Student Loan Data Service (NSLDS). Loan repayment for previous and current loans is deferred for full-time students. Students can verify the status of their loans and request a deferment on the NSLDS website.


Regulations for US Federal Student Aid Recipients

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements

Withdrawal / Refund Policy

USDL Consumer Information