The University of Chicago administers several loan programs to assist students in covering educational costs.

Federal Direct Loan Programs

For most student borrowers, federal loans provide the most beneficial loan options. Federal Direct Loans offer:

  • Low, fixed interest rates

  • Cancellation and forgiveness options

  • Deferment and forbearance options

  • Income-based repayment plans

To be considered for Federal Direct Loans a student must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). More information on how interest is calculated, with a list of current interest rates, can be found here.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan provides a fixed rate, low-interest loan option for graduate students. Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a total annual borrowing maximum of $20,500 per academic year for most graduate students. Interest rates are subject to change from year to year, with the Federal Student Aid website providing the most up-to-date Direct Unsubsidized Loan interest rate information on the Federal Student Aid website.

More information on applying for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan can be found here in the Applying for Aid section.

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan program offers a federal loan specifically for graduate students. Approval for this loan is contingent upon a student's credit check approval. Graduate students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. A Grad PLUS Loan application must be completed for each year a student chooses to borrow at A complete list of steps to apply for a Grad PLUS Loan can be found here in the Applying for Aid section.

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are non-federal loans and should be considered after Federal Direct Loan options. Approval for an alternative loan is contingent upon your credit rating. A loan request may be denied if there is an adverse credit rating. If this happens, you may contact the lender to appeal the decision or reapply with a cosigner. Learn more about alternative loan options.

Sample criteria to receive non-federal, alternative loan funds

Individual lenders will determine their specific eligibility criteria. Below are some typical criteria they may consider. For information that is specific to you, contact the lender directly for more information.

  • Be enrolled for each quarter that you wish to receive funds

  • Be a creditworthy citizen, U.S. national, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen of the United States. In most cases, you may apply without a cosigner or endorser. However, if not approved, you may wish to apply with a credit-worthy cosigner or endorser. Before applying for these funds, we encourage you to apply first for federal loan assistance

  • Be an international student with an eligible cosigner or endorser. The cosigner or endorser must be a creditworthy citizen, national or permanent resident of the United States who meets the lender’s requirements