Federal Direct Loans for U.S. students

TWU is an approved Title IV institution, which allows eligible US students to access the Federal Direct Loan Program.

However, since TWU is considered a foreign school by the U.S. Department of Education, students are not eligible for Pell Grants or Perkins Loans.

Federal Direct Loan Program

At TWU, the loans available through the Federal Direct Loan program are Direct subsidized and Direct unsubsidized loans, as well as Parent and Graduate PLUS loans.

Student Eligibility

To be eligible for a Direct Loan you must:

  • Be a US citizen, national, US permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen
  • Demonstrate satisfactory academic progress while attending TWU.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Comply with the US Selective Service System registration requirements
  • Have completed a high school diploma or equivalent

Program Eligibility

You must be registered in at least 6 semester hours per semester (5 semester hours for graduate programs), in an eligible program at TWU. The following are not eligible for Direct Loans:

  • BSc. and MA in Nursing
  • BA and MA in Linguistics
  • BSc. in Biotechnology
  • Laurentian Leadership Centre programs
  • Study abroad or student exchange programs
  • Online programs 
  • Online courses, correspondence courses, directed and independent studies courses. 

It is the student's responsibility to enroll in eligible programs, and to be familiar with Federal Student Aid eligibility requirements for foreign schools.  If you enrol in an ineligible course, your program will become ineligible for Direct Loan funding. If you plan to study in any of these programs, then you can look into private loan options.

Documents & Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy - Official policy on maintaining eligibility in regards to academic standards and progress

Refund of Title IV funding (R2T4) Policy - Official policy on returning US loan funding for withdrawals

Exit Counseling - Exit counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrolment.

Consumer Information Disclosure – Consolidated consumer information for students

Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans

Students may be eligible to receive a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loan funding.

Direct subsidized loans

  • Must demonstrate financial need, which is calculated by subtracting the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from cost of attendance.
  • Interest-free while you are in school at least half-time
  • Available to undergraduate students only

Direct unsubsidized loans

  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Not based on financial need
  • Interest is charged from the date the funding is disbursed into the student’s account
  • Choose to pay interest while in school or added to the principal balance of the loan

Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loan Amounts

Maximum amounts depend on whether you are a dependent or independent student.  The U.S. Department of Education has set yearly loan limits as well as aggregate (lifetime) limits.

Annual Loan Limits

Year Dependent Students Independent Students
First-year $5,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans $9,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans
Second-year $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans
Third-year and beyond $7,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans $12,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans
Graduate students Not applicable $20,500 (unsubsidized only)

Interest rates & fees

Visit studentaid.ed.gov to find out more about current interest rates and fees for subsidized/unsubsidized loans.

Parent & Graduate Plus Loans

Parents of eligible dependent children studying at the undergraduate level as well as graduate students studying at least half-time can apply for PLUS loans.

  • Not based on financial need
  • Interest is charged from the dates the funds are disbursed into the student’s acccount. 
  • A credit check assessment by the US Federal Government is required.

See Federal Student Aid website for more info on PLUS loans

Plus Loans Amounts

The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is TWU's calculation of your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid (including subsidized and unsubsidized loans).

Interest rates & fees

Visit student.ed.gov to find out more about current interest rates and fees for PLUS Loans.

How to apply

Applying for a US Loan at TWU is different than schools in the U.S.  As a foreign school, we are not notified if you have submitted the MPN (Master Promissory Note). Apply for your loan at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the semester to ensure funding will arrive by the first week of classes.

All the steps below must be completed in order for your loan to be processed.  TWU will not be aware that you are applying for a U.S. loan until we receive the US Loan Request Form.

Steps to apply

  1. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    1. TWU school code: G09486
  2. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov for each loan type you are applying for.  There are separate MPN’s for subsidized/unsubsidized and PLUS loans.
  3. If this is your first Direct loan application at TWU, complete your entrance counselling session at studentloans.gov.
  4. If you are applying for a Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan, complete your application at studentloans.gov.
  5. Submit the US Loan Request Form(s). 
  1. Your loan will not be processed until this form has been received. Please send the completed form to awards@twu.ca 


Understanding the repayment process for your federal student loans can go a long way toward building a solid financial foundation. Remember, federal student loans are real loans, just like car loans or mortgages. You must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult. Payments are arranged through your loan servicer. Each servicer has its own payment process, so check with your servicer if you aren’t sure how or when to make a payment. You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and making your payments, even if you do not receive a bill. Find out more about repayment of your federal student loans

Grace period

The grace period is a set period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrolment before you must begin repayment on your loan. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Direct Subsidized and unsubsidized loans have a six-month grace period However, not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for most loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.

Choosing a repayment plan

You have a choice of several repayment plans that are designed to meet your needs. The amount you pay and the length of time to repay your loans will vary depending on the repayment plan you choose. Get details about repayment plans and calculate your estimated repayment amount under each of the different plans.

Loan consolidation

You can apply to have your loans consolidated to one Loan Servicer. It may be easier to manage your finances if you are making payments to only one Servicer.

Deferment & forbearance

Deferment and forbearance offer a way for you to temporarily postpone or lower your loan payments while you’re back in school, in the military, experiencing financial hardship, or in certain other situations. Find out more about deferment and forbearance.