Federal Unsubsidized Direct loans are made directly from the U.S. Federal government to students through the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

The student is responsible for all the interest that accrues on this loan, including interest that accrues while in school. Interest also accumulates during deferment and the grace period. Once the student enters repayment the interest becomes part of the loan principal in a process called capitalization.

Maximum Annual Loan



For the 2021-2022 academic year: 5.28% for Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022.


Direct loan fees are 1.057% for loans disbursed between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2022. Direct loan fees are deducted from the loan proceeds at disbursement. So for example a Direct loan disbursement of $2000 would have $21 in fees deducted from it so that the net proceeds of the disbursement would be $1,979.

Please note: Direct loans are fixed rate loans. Graduate Unsubsidized Loans taken out in the 2021-2022 academic year that are disbursed after July 1, 2021 will have a fixed rate of 5.28% for the life of that loan. Each academic year the government will determine the interest rates for that year’s loans. The interest rate for graduate Direct Loans is based on an index + 3.60%. Under the law, the index rate is determined each year as the “10-Year Treasury Note High Yield” auctioned at the final auction held prior to the June 1 preceding the July 1 of the year for which the rate will be effective.


  • Students must have a completed financial aid application (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.
  • Students must be accepted in a degree-seeking program.
  • Students must be registered at least half-time.
  • Students must attend classes and maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to be eligible for their loans.
  • Direct loans are awarded as part of a student’s financial aid package. Once the loan is awarded the student will need to accept the Direct loan award(s) online via eCommon.
  • All borrowers are required to participate in Exit Loan Counseling if they stop attending or drop below half-time standing. Exit Counseling can be done via www.studentloans.gov.

How to Apply

All students wishing to borrow a Direct Loan must complete their financial aid file. Once the Direct Loan has been awarded, students must accept the Direct loan award(s) online via eCommon. Emerson College will notify the Direct Lending Servicer you are attending Emerson College and certify your eligibility for a Direct Loan. A fall semester applicant’s lender will be notified in late June. A spring semester applicant’s lender will be notified starting in December.

If you have not previously borrowed a Direct Direct Loan at Emerson College:

  1. You must complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). To complete the Direct Loan MPN go to the Direct Loan Website. You only need to do the MPN once and it is valid for subsequent loans for up to 10 years.
  2. You must complete the federally required Entrance Interview. The Interview can be found on the Direct Loan Website. If you have borrowed a Direct Loan at Emerson College in the past, you do not need to complete another Entrance Interview.

View a chart on the Direct Loan process from application to disbursement.


Loans are disbursed in two equal installments split evenly between Fall and Spring semesters. Each disbursement occurs after the add/drop period each semester.

Loans are disbursed in three installments for all returning graduate students who are enrolled for the summer term in addition to the fall and spring semesters.


Unsubsidized Direct loans start accruing interest once the loan disburses. Unsubsidized loans have a 6 month grace period after the student drops below half-time status, leaves, or graduates. Once the grace period has ended repayment begins.

There are several repayment options available. Students will receive Exit Loan Counseling when they leave school. To review repayment information now, review the Federal Student Aid website. They also offer helpful interest and repayment calculators to help you better understand your repayment options.

You can also read our Loan Repayment fact sheet for more information about loan repayment assistance.

Emerson College’s two year cohort default rate on Direct Loans is 1.4% which is substantially below the national average of 9.1%.