Financial Aid

FAQ - Loans (Federal Student)

  • How do I request a Federal Direct Stafford loan?
    • You will automatically be considered for a Federal Stafford loan if you checked that you would like to be considered for loans on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • What is the process for receiving a federal student loan ?
    • Complete the following steps to obtain a federal Direct student loan for the upcoming academic year:
      • Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
      • Receive your WIU Financial Aid Award Letter listing your federal student loan eligibility (Check your WIU email and STARS).
      • Log on to and complete both of the following if you are a first-time student loan borrower or if this is your first student loan at WIU:
        • Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)
        • Complete Entrance Counseling.
      • Register for classes (minimum 6 credit hours to be eligible).
      • Funds will be disbursed half each semester to your WIU student account when school begins (Check STARS to view your financial aid).
      • Don't borrow any more than you need. Note that you may cancel or reduce the amount of the loan any time that you desire.
  • What are the annual federal student loan limits?
    • Academic Year Base Loan Additional Loan If Parent Denied PLUS Loan -OR- Independent Student*
      1st year (1-29 hours) $3,500* $2,000* $4,000
      2nd year (30-59 hours) $4,500* $2,000* $4,000
      3rd and 4th years (60 or more hours) $5,500* $2,000* $5,000
      *Eligibility automatically processed and listed on financial aid award letter notification
  • What are the aggregate federal student loan limits?
    • Review your federal student loan history using the National Student Loan Data System available online.
        Maximum Subsidized Total Subsidized + Unsubsidized
      Undergraduate, Dependent Student $23,000 $31,000
      Undergraduate, Independent Student $23,000 $57,500
      Graduate Student $65,500* $138,500
      * All graduate loans disbursed after July 1, 2012 will be unsubsidized.
  • What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans?
    • Subsidized loans do not accrue interest charges while the student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) - instead, interest will begin to accrue after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment.
    • Unsubsdized loans do accrue interest while in school, which the student is not responsible for paying until he/she enters repayment. However, in-school interest payments are recommended to help reduce a student’s overall debt burden - if you would like to arrange for in-school interest payments, contact your loan servicer(s)
    • Eligibility for subsidized loans is need-based and is determined by FAFSA information and other aid received.
  • What is an additional unsubsidized loan?
    • This is the name given the additional unsubsidized loan amount that independent students may borrow. Dependent students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS (parent) loan also qualify for an additional amount.
  • What is the difference between the Federal Direct Loans and the Federal Perkins Loan programs?
    • The Federal Direct Stafford loans are through the Department of Education and the Federal Perkins loans are through Western. Perkins loans will be listed on a student's financial aid award notification if funds are available, and priority is given to students with high financial need.