Financial Aid

Financial Aid Handbook & Policies

Federal Direct Loans

The loan amounts listed on your award letter are your maximum eligibility for federal loans. Loans can be a valuable resource, but borrow only what is absolutely necessary because loans must be repaid. Loan repayments become a burden when amounts exceed 8% of your monthly adjusted gross income. Consider all other sources, including part-time employment, before borrowing.

First-time borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling before funds can be released - both may be completed at

Please contact the Financial Aid Office from your STARS account if you wish to reduce your loan amount. Remember that you may return/cancel a loan disbursement through WIU within 30 days of receiving the disbursement, but you must first repay any refund that resulted from loan proceeds. You have 120 days to return and cancel a loan disbursement through your loan servicer (can be found using the National Student Loan Data System).

Types of Direct Loans

The subsidized Direct Loan is based on your EFC, the cost of attendance at WIU, and your financial need. Interest does not accrue while enrolled at least half-time and repayment is deferred until six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment status. Undergraduate subsidized loans will have a fixed 5.05% interest rate for the 2018-19 school year.

The unsubsidized Direct Loan is based only on the cost of attendance minus any other aid. Unsubsidized Direct Loans are not based on financial need. The principal, but not the interest, is deferred until after leaving school. Undergraduate unsubsidized loans will have a fixed 5.05% interest rate for the 2018-19 school year. Graduate unsubsidized loans will have a fixed 6.60% interest rate for the 2018-19 school year.

Fixed interest rates on older loans vary based on when your loan was disbursed - previous year rates include the following:

    7/1/2017 to 6/30/2018 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2019
Subsidized Loans Undergraduate 4.45% 5.05%
Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate 4.45% 5.05%
Graduate 6.00% 6.60%


Direct Loan Annual Loan Limits

The combination of subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans cannot exceed federal loan limits as indicated below:

Dependent student:
$3,500 freshman + $2,000 unsubsidized
$4,500 sophomore + $2,000 unsubsidized
$5,500 junior + $2,000 unsubsidized
$5,500 senior + $2,000 unsubsidized

Independent student:
$3,500 freshman + $6,000 unsubsidized
$4,500 sophomore + $6,000 unsubsidized
$5,500 junior/senior + $7,000 unsubsidized

Graduate student:
$8,500 unsubsidized+ $12,000 unsubsidized

Direct Loan Aggregate Loan Limits

$31,000 dependent undergraduate ($23,000 maximum subsidized)
$57,500 independent undergraduate ($23,000 maximum subsidized)
$138,500 graduate ($65,500 maximum subsidized)

The following is an example of a typical repayment plans using the current 6.80% fixed interest rate (figures are rounded). Note that the current average loan debt of a May 2010 WIU graduate was $21,560.

Total Stafford Loan Dept Number of Payments Monthly Payment Interest Charges Total Repaid

Federal Direct Loan Information For Graduate Students

Eligibility for Direct Stafford Loan at the graduate level requires admission to WIU in a regular graduate degree program. The following information is applicable to graduate students, students combining graduate study with teacher licensure, an approved post baccalaureate certificate, and students working on a second baccalaureate degree program.

Graduate unsubsidized loans will have a 6.60% fixed interest rate for the 2018-19 school year.

Annual Loan Limits for Graduate Students

Enrollment Base Award (Unsubsidized) Additional Unsubsidized
Minimum six hours graduate-level coursework (not including prerequisites) 
$8,500 $12,000
Six hours of required coursework in a post-baccalaureate certificate program $8,500 $12,000
Six hours of required coursework in a teacher licensure program $5,500 $2,000 - $7,000 depending on eligibility
Six hours of required undergraduate course work in a second baccalaureate program $3,500-$5,500 depending on hours needed $2,000 -$7,000 depending on eligibility

 Aggregate Loan Limits for Graduate Students

Please note the following important information concerning student graduate loans:

  • Individual amounts will vary according to financial need, prior loan history and federal regulations.
  • Graduate loans are processed assuming an enrollment status of nine (9) hours of graduate credit. Please notify the Financial Aid Office if your status will include more or less than nine hours of graduate credit, both graduate and undergraduate hours, or you will be in a teacher licensure or second baccalaureate program.
  • Audit hours are not considered in the enrollment status in processing your student loan.