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Types of aid: Loans

Loans are borrowed funds that you have to repay, usually after you graduate. Either you or your parents can take out an education loan, but there are different programs for students and parents.

If your family is considering an educational loan, you should begin by applying for financial aid, since often the most affordable loans are student loans based on need.

We talk more about the kinds of loans below, but some important things to know are:

  • Federal loans are restricted to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, but other loan programs are not.
  • Some loans, referred to as subsidized loans, do not accrue interest while you are in school.
  • Meanwhile, unsubsidized loans do accrue interest that may be paid while you are in school, or added to your principal balance when you graduate.

Learn more about loans from the U.S. Department of Education. To apply for a loan, fill out the Loan Request Form. If you have any questions about your specific loan eligibility, please contact us at

Federal Direct Loans

Dependent undergraduates may borrow up to a federally-set annual limit for a subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan. $5,500 the first year, $6,500 sophomore year, and $7,500 junior and senior years. For information about interest rates and loan limit charts, visit

Direct Subsidized Loan (for U.S. students)

  • Loan amount is based on financial need.
  • No interest until six months after you graduate, leave school, or your enrollment drops below half-time.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan (for U.S. students)

  • Loan amount is not based on financial need.
  • Interest accrues on this loan while you are in school and repayment is not required until six months after you graduate, leave school, or your enrollment drops below half-time.
  • We advise you to make interest payments, if possible, while in school. If you choose not to, your interest will be added or capitalized01 The addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of a loan.   to your balance when you begin to repay it.
  • Students who are considered federally independent or whose parents are declined a Direct Parent PLUS Loan (see below) may borrow an additional $4,000 per year for their first and second years and $5,000 per year for their third and fourth years.

Direct Parent PLUS Loan (U.S. domestic parents only)

  • This can be a good way to spread your education expenses over time.
  • Parents may borrow up to the total price of education, minus any student financial aid, including student loans. Check Direct Loans for more information and current interest rates.

MIT Technology Loan (international undergrads only)

  • Can borrow up to $3,400 without a cosigner. An additional $2,000 may be available, but requires a creditworthy cosigner.
  • You must have been awarded an MIT Scholarship, be enrolled at least half-time, and not defaulted on any prior education loans.
  • No interest until repayment begins nine months after graduation or withdrawal (can be deferred for grad or professional school), 7% interest afterward.
  • Minimum monthly repayment is $50; loan must be repaid in 10 years.

Private Loans

Private loans come from third-party lenders and can be taken out by you or your family.

Only consider private loans when all of your federal eligibility is exhausted. The terms and conditions and interest rates of private loans are often less favorable. Before certifying any private loan that you may take out, our loan counselors will connect with you directly to discuss the implications and terms of the loan.

If you have questions about your eligibility or how to maximize the amount of money that can be applied to your student account, send us an email and we will be happy to help!

Additional resources

Read our Private Loan Guide if you have any questions.

  1. The addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of a loan. back to text