Student Financial Services

Federal Direct Loans

The Federal Direct Loans Program is a federal aid program that provides lending assistance to parents and students to pay for the costs associated with attending institutions of higher education.

Under the program, the Office of Education will make a loan through Howard University. Federal Direct Loans simplify the loan process by eliminating the commercial lender. Financial Aid determines eligibility and loan amount that a borrower may receive. The Federal Direct Loans offered include:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (interest accrues)
  • Federal Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student)
  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS (For Graduate Students)

The interest rate is variable, adjusted annually with a cap of:

8.25% - Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans
9.00% - Federal Direct PLUS
7.94% - Federal Direct Grad PLUS

Our Direct Loan professionals are prepared to assist students by providing the following services:

  • Entrance Interview Counseling
  • Exit Interview Counseling

What's on this page?

Counseling Sessions

Entrance Interview

The Entrance Interview is a required counseling session of all students new to Howard University and first-time borrowers a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan. This counseling session provides basic facts about the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans and further explains the rights and responsibilities of a borrower. If an Entrance Interview is not completed and submitted to the Direct Student Loan Office, a Master Promissory Note may not be signed nor will any loan proceeds disburse.

Borrowers are strongly encouraged to complete the interactive electronic entrance counseling on the Direct Loan Servicing Online web site at Upon successful completion of the entrance counseling, the results will be transmitted electronically to Howard University to update your school records.

Exit Interview

An Exit Interview is required debt management counseling session for all borrowers who have received a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan disbursement. A borrower will need an exit interview if any of the following conditions apply:

  1. Enrolled in school with less than half-time student status:
    • 5 credits or below for undergraduate students
    • 3 credits or below for graduate/professional students
  2. Withdrawing from Howard University.
  3. Transfer to another school.
  4. Graduating from Howard University.

Interest does not begin on the Subsidized Direct Loan until payments begin after a six month grace period. However, interest accrues on a continual basis on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan from the time of disbursement. A borrower may either pay the interest or allow it to capitalize. Capitalized interest is unpaid interest that accumulates from the time of disbursement until payment begins and has been added to the principal balance of the total amount borrowed.

Three Exit Interview counseling online sessions are available at An assigned Office of Education PIN (personal identification number) is required to access this secure site. You may receive a pin number by accessing the website at Upon successful completion of the Exit Interview counseling session, the results will be transmitted electronically to Howard University to update your school records.

More Information

Master Promissory Note

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legally binding agreement between the Howard University's student or parent borrower and the Office of Education and contains the terms and conditions of the loans. It may be signed one of two ways; electronically or on paper.

The electronic Master Promissory Note (e-MPN) may be accessed at the Office of Education website at You will be required to use your Department of Education assigned PIN (personal identification number) to complete an e-MPN. If you have misplaced your PIN, you can visit the official PIN website at

Loan Disbursement

After the approval of the PLUS loan or the loan award, the Entrance Interview Counseling, promissory note signing the Federal Direct Loan - Loan proceeds may be paid in the following ways:

  • Disbursed directly to the student's account in two equal installments.
  • The disbursement pays tuition and fees, then may be applied to other costs associated with attendance.
  • Credit balance refund checks are processed for excess funds within 14 days of the credit appearing on the student account in accordance with federal regulation.


If a borrower disputes the terms of the Federal Direct Loan in writing and the holder of the loan is unable to resolve the dispute, a borrower may seek the assistance of the Office of Education's Student Loan Ombudsman. The Student Loan Ombudsman will review and attempt to informally resolve your dispute and may be reached at 1-877-557-2575 or


Loan Deferment and Forbearance

A borrower may receive an in school deferment if he/she meets the following requirements:

  • If a borrower is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school
    - 6 credit hours for an undergraduate degree borrower
    - 4 credit hours for a graduate/professional degree borrower
  • If a borrower is enrolled in a full-time course of study in a graduate fellowship program.

To request a forbearance or deferment, contact the Direct Loan Service Center at 1-800-848-0979 or visit the website The Direct Loan Service Center can provide you with a requested form that explains the eligibility and documentation on requirements for the type of forbearance or deferment you are requesting.

Loan Cancellation

All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing to the Howard University financial aid office no later than 14 calendar days after the school disburses the loan proceeds.

Loan Consolidation

A Direct Consolidation Loan Program is available that allows a borrower to consolidate (combine) one or more of the eligible federal education loans into one loan.

For more details and information, go to