Student Loans

Loan Information

Select a link or scroll down the page:

Federal Direct Loans 

Federal Perkins Loans

Federal PLUS Loans

Private / Alternative Loans 

Federal Direct Loan Program

The Direct Loan Program has low interest loans that undergraduates, graduates and parents of dependent students may obtain from the Department of Education. This program includes the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal PLUS Loan. These loan programs were created by Congress to help all eligible students and parents, with and without financial need, pay for the student's educational expenses.

Subsidized Loan (undergraduate only)

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded to students with demonstrated need. Financial need is determined by subtracting the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), provided from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), from the cost of attendance (COA). If financial need is not fully met through other forms of aid e.g. grants and scholarships, students are eligible for Subsidized Loan funds up to the remaining amount of their financial need or up to the loan limits based on their grade level, whichever amount is lower. The Federal Government will pay interest on a Subsidized Loan while students are in school and during their six-month grace period.

Unsubsidized Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is awarded to students without demonstrated need and the borrower pays the interest while in school and during the grace period; however, the interest payments may be deferred until the end of the grace period. Students may receive a combination of both loans depending on their eligibility of need versus no-need and their dependency status. Some independent students are eligible to borrow additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan funds despite their demonstrated need.

Loan Limits


Maximum Loan Amount







Seniors/5th Year


Graduate Students


Loan Limits effective July 1, 2008

Independent students and students whose parents were denied for a PLUS loan are eligible for additional funding through the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan program.

Interest Rates

The table below shows the fixed interest rate on subsidized loans set by federal statute and based on the date the loan is made.

Loan Type

Borrower Type First Disbursement Date Fixed Interest Rate

Direct Subsidized


7/1/15 -6/30/16 4.29%
7/1/14 -6/30/15


7/1/13 -6/30/14


7/1/11 -6/30/13


7/1/10 -6/30/11


7/1/09 -6/30/10


7/1/08 -6/30/09


7/1/06 -6/30/08


Graduate or Professional 7/1/06 -6/30/12


Direct Unsubsidized Loans

 Undergraduate 7/1/15 - 6/30/16 4.29%
7/1/14 - 6/30/15


7/1/13 - 6/30/14




7/1/15 - 6/30/16


7/1/14 - 6/30/15


7/1/13 - 6/30/14


All 7/1/06 - 6/30/13


Federal Perkins Loans

This federally funded, low-interest need-based loan is awarded based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and applications received by the priority deadline. Funds are limited. 

Federal PLUS Loans

The Federal PLUS Loan allows parents of a dependent undergraduate student to borrow at a low fixed rate to help meet the student's cost of attendance not covered by other financial aid.  Interest rates and repayment provisions on PLUS loans are usually better than other alternative loans available for educational expenses.  Completion of the FAFSA is required.

Credit History

Parents are also required to pass a credit check when they are applying for the PLUS Loan.  If a parent's application for a PLUS Loan is denied based on the borrower's credit history, the student may become eligible for an additional unsubsidized student loan.  Freshmen and sophomore students can borrow up to $4000 in a Federal Direct loan, while juniors and seniors could borrow up to $5000.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan allows Graduate and Professional students to borrow at a low fixed interest rate after the subsidized and unsubsidized loan eligibility has been exhausted.  The Graduate PLUS Loan can be used to pay for the total cost of attendance minus any financial aid you've already been awarded.  The Graduate PLUS Loan is largely dependent on the borrower's credit rating and history.

Interest Rates

Federal Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.9%. Interest is charged from the date of disbursement until the loan is paid in full.

Private/Alternative Loans

Federal loans e.g. Direct loans, Perkins loans, and PLUS loans, are generally the best options and should be a student’s first consideration. The maximum interest rates and fees on these loans are set by federal law, so the terms and conditions for these loans are clearly defined and may not change over time.

Alternative loans are considered a "last resort" for students who have exhausted all other financial aid options.  Alternative loans cannot exceed the cost of attendance for a student.

Students will need to apply directly with the lender of their choice.  Most students will be required to have someone co-sign the loan application. Interest rates for loans are determined by the lender and are based on the student and co-signers credit worthiness.  Questions about alternative loans should be directed to the chosen lender or contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Effective February 14, 2010 all private loan borrowers are required to submit a self-certification form to their lender prior to the school receiving a request to certify the loan. This is a new federal requirement under Regulation Z-§226.48 (f). For additional information visit the Federal Government FDIC regulations.

For a list of private lenders and a comparison of the loan terms offered, visit FinAid.

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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