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Student Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Also known as Stafford Loan)

A student can borrow up to $20,500 per year through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. Payments on the principal of the Direct Unsubsidized Loan can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half time.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loan has a variable fixed interest rate based on the U.S. 10-Year Treasury Note Index. The current 10-year rate is 3.45%. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan for graduate students carries a rate of the 10-year index plus 3.60%. For loans that first disburse from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024, the interest rate will be 7.05%.

While rates will vary from year to year, the rate assigned to the loan at the time of disbursement will be the fixed rate on that loan for the life of the loan. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan for graduate students will never have a rate higher than 9.50%.

If a student is applying for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan for the first time at Penn State Law, he or she will need to complete the Master Promissory Note online. Student loan amounts are split into two disbursements, one delivered at the beginning of each semester.

Borrowers should understand that a fee of 1.057% will be deducted from the gross amount of the loan borrowed. The borrower should expect to receive 1.057% less money than he or she asked to borrow. The borrower is responsible for paying any interest that accrues while he or she is a student. The loan servicer will give the borrower the option to make regularly scheduled interest payments, or the borrower may choose to capitalize your interest. Capitalization means that any interest that accrues while the borrower is a student is added to the principal of the loan, so the borrower has no payments while enrolled. 

How to Apply for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

To borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan you will need to complete the Master Promissory Note by following these steps:

  1. Visit
  2. From the “Loans and Grants--get a loan” section, under the option to Complete a Master Promissory Note, select Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan MPN
  3. Enter all requested information
  4. Select “Pennsylvania State University” as your school (there is not a separate option for the Law School—you must select the main Penn State University) and press continue
  5. Follow on-screen instructions the rest of the way through the promissory note process.

You must accept your desired loan amount on your financial aid award on LionPath.  If you wish to borrow a loan amount less than the maximum awarded, you will be able to make that adjustment while accepting the loan on LionPath

Before your student loans can disburse, you must log in at and complete the student loan entrance counseling (under the “Complete Aid Process” heading), being careful to indicate that you are a graduate student.

Federal student loans offer flexible repayment options.

Other Educational Loans

If a student needs more than the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan allows in any given year, he or she may also be eligible to borrow either a Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students or private educational loans. Through these loan programs a student can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. Students can use this chart to compare PLUS and private loans. Students enrolled less than half-time for summer terms may need to explore private loans for less than half-time enrollment.

Bar Study Loans

Students in their final year of study often need financial assistance to pay for Bar Exam expenses and living expenses during the bar study period. Many student loan providers offer bar loans.

Academic Progress Standards

In order to be eligible for federal student aid, a student must maintain satisfactory academic progress. Penn State Law measures academic progress on an annual basis each summer prior to the next academic year. First-year students are considered to be making progress during their first academic year. All students failing to make progress based on the law school's Academic Standing Rules will be notified by the financial aid office via letter by August 1. Any aid processed for the subsequent year will be canceled.