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William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

The Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Program was created to make long-term, low-interest loans available to help students meet their education expenses. The William D. Ford Direct Loan Program is an entitlement program administered by the US Department of Education and funded by the US Department of Treasury. All students who meet the eligibility requirements may borrow Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans.

Jump to: Important Facts  |  Interest Rate/Fees  |  Application Process  |  Processing Loan Requests


Important Facts

Eligible law and graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program. The maximum annual and aggregate loans a student can borrow depends on their program. Total aggregate borrowing in this program cannot exceed $138,500 for a graduate student, including any undergraduate borrowing.

Interest Rate and Fees

The Federal Direct Loan Program sets interest rates on an annual basis and the rate assigned at disbursement is fixed for the life of the loan. Interest rates are fixed by the US Department of Education based on a rate formula that uses the “high yield of the 10 year Treasury Bill rate sold at the prior to June 1 plus factor (add-ins) points.” The rates are capped and cannot exceed the cap regardless of the formula results. Interest rates are set in June for loans disbursed on or after July 1. The below chart shows the rate formulas and caps.

Loan Type Rate Formula Cap
Undergraduate Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans T-bill + 2.05% 8.25%
Graduate Unsubsidized Loans T-bill +3.60% 9.50%
PLUS Loans (Graduate and Parent) T-bill + 4.60% 10.50%

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan charges a fixed interest rate of 6.54% for loans disbursed July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 to graduate/professional students for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  All Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are charged a 1.057% origination fee from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023.  

Origination fees and interest rate formulas may change due to congressional action.

Application Process: Incoming Students and New Borrowers

For the 2022-2023 academic year, all incoming students and new borrowers who want to apply for a federal loan must complete a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at

  • To electronically sign your MPN, you will need your FSA ID. This is the FSA ID you used to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you can’t locate your FSA ID or are a new federal student aid applicant, you may reset or obtain a new FSA ID at
  • You will need to Sign In using your FSA ID from your FAFSA. Select Complete Master Promissory Note, and then select Subsidized/Unsubsidized. The application process is complete once you have electronically signed the MPN with your FSA ID.
  • When completing the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN you will notice that you do not need to enter a requested loan amount. The Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN is a serial note that is valid for ten years and the borrower authorizes the school to annually increase the aggregate limit. Please complete the box on Widener Law Commonwealth’s Institutional Data form to provide that information.
Application Process: Returning Students

If you previously borrowed at Widener Law Commonwealth, your Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN is valid for ten years and you authorize Widener Law Commonwealth to increase the aggregate loan amount each year. Please complete the box on Widener Law Commonwealth’s Institutional Data Form to provide that information.

USE SCHOOL CODE:  E00656- Widener Law Commonwealth
Packaging/Certifying Loan Requests

The Financial Aid Office certifies our student’s request for Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans electronically. If you have not completed your Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN at the time we certify your eligibility, you will be contacted to complete the process. If you have any concerns or want to personally notify us that you have completed the application, please feel free to contact us via email at the Financial Aid Office.


Contact Information

Financial Aid Office
3737 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717.541.3961
Fax: 717.541.1964
Email: [email protected]