Secure your federal loans

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans 

UAlbany participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program, in which students obtain federal educational loans directly from the U.S. Department of Education. 

  • All Federal Direct Loans are subject to fixed interest rates and origination fees. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for current interest rates and current fees.  

  • Payments on your Federal Direct Loans will begin six months after you drop to half time enrollment (less than six credits per semester), leave school or graduate. Keep in mind, though, any previous gaps in your enrollment (other than summer) can use up part, or all, of that grace period.

  • Temporary relief and repayment plans are available. Forgiveness, cancellation or discharge is possible in some cases. 

In order to secure your Direct Loan, you must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. Both processes are explained below.

Eligibility Requirements 

All students are required to have a valid current year FAFSA on file, and undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least six credits, to be eligible. Direct Subsidized Loans have slightly better terms to help students with financial need. 

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education. Students are not charged interest on the loan while in school. 

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate and professional students, but eligibility is not based on financial need. Students are responsible for interest during all periods. 

Annual and lifetime borrowing limits for federal loans also apply. Please note that undergraduate students’ annual borrowing limits are based on their grade level. For the purposes of loans, grade level is calculated based on the number of credits a student has completed: 

  • A freshman has completed less than 24 credits. 

  • A sophomore has completed 24 to 55 credits. 

  • A junior has completed 56 to 87 credits. 

  • A senior has completed 88 or more credits.

Students that earn credits in a prior semester resulting in them progressing to the next grade level could be eligible for a loan increase for the academic year.  If you have determined that you are eligible for a loan increase based on grade level progression, please complete the loan adjustment form below selecting "Grade Level Change" for the adjustment reason.  

Fill out the Federal Direct Loan Adjustment Form to request increases or changes in your federal direct loan.

You may also want to review our Request a Cost of Attendance Increase page.


Entrance Counseling 

Students borrowing Federal Direct Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized) for the first time must complete Entrance Counseling

The funds from your federal loan cannot be disbursed into our account until you complete Entrance Counseling on the Federal Student Aid website. The process takes about 30 minutes. UAlbany will receive a notification two to three days after the entrance counseling is completed online. 

When you drop to half time enrollment (less than six credits per semester), leave school or graduate, you’ll also be required to complete Exit Counseling. Complete your exit counseling 30 days before you graduate or 30 days after you last attended full-time. 

Master Promissory Notes (MPN) 

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.  

The MPN gives detailed descriptions on the terms and conditions of your loan(s). It includes information on how interest is calculated as well as deferment and repayments options available to you. 

Why do I have to complete an MPN? 

The funds from your federal loan cannot be disbursed into our account until you have a valid MPN on file with the U.S. Department of Education. Monitor MyUAlbany for Important Notices to determine if you need to complete an MPN. 

The MPN for Federal Direct Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized) is generally valid for 10 years, so you should only need to complete the MPN once while attending UAlbany.  

How do I complete an MPN? 

You can complete the MPN electronically on the Federal Student Aid website. You'll need your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to sign the MPN. 

The process takes about 30 minutes to complete and involves the following steps: 

  1. Enter your personal information and school information. 

  2. Enter information about two references who you have known for at least three years. 

  3. Read all terms and conditions. 

  4. Review your MPN and electronically sign it using your FSA ID. 

  5. Submit the MPN. 

Federal Direct Consolidation Loan

A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to combine multiple federal education loans into one loan. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments. Loan consolidation can also give you access to additional loan repayment plans and forgiveness programs. 

Consolidation can lower your monthly payment by giving you more time (up to 30 years) to repay your loans. You’ll also be able to switch any variable rate loans to a fixed interest rate. 

However, because consolidation usually increases the amount of time for repaying your loans, you’ll likely make more payments and pay more in interest. You may also lose certain borrower benefits — such as interest rate discounts, principal rebates or some loan cancellation benefits — associated with your current loans. 

If you’re paying your current loans under an income-driven repayment plan, or if you’ve made qualifying payments toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, consolidating your current loans will cause you to lose credit for those payments. 

There are some lenders that offer private loan consolidation. However, you should not consolidate private loans with your federal loans. Consolidating federal loans outside the Direct Loan Consolidation program will result in the loss of federal loan interest and repayment terms.