Loans must be repaid, but most not until after you’ve completed your studies.

Federal regulations require that we limit or reduce the amount of a Direct Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) under certain conditions. These conditions are as follows: (1) You are an undergraduate and you apply for a Direct Loan and are enrolled less than a full academic year (fall and spring semesters); or (2) you will complete all degree requirements at the end of the semester or term. If both of these conditions occur, the Direct Loan amount may be reduced. The financial aid office will make this adjustment and you may view your award letter on VIP.

We are required to disburse your loan in installments to coincide with the beginning of the enrollment period covered by the loan. Additionally, if after the time your Federal Direct Loan, (subsidized or unsubsidized) was certified, you receive any type of other financial assistance, or your tuition fee structure changes, your eligibility for the Direct Loan may be reduced. In some cases, you may be required to repay amounts in excess of your eligibility.

Learn about federal and other types of loans below.

To be eligible to receive any federal, state and/or certain private educational loan funds, you must adhere to the university policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress.

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  • The subsidized Direct Loan Program provides long-term, low-interest, need-based loans to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The interest rate on subsidized Federal Direct Loans will vary according to the dates on which the loans were disbursed and/or the borrower’s outstanding federal loan indebtedness. The interest rate during repayment will be different. These rates are subject to change by law.

    As an undergraduate, you may borrow up to $3,500 subsidized and $2,000 unsubsidized for your freshman year, $4,500 subsidized and $2,000 unsubsidized for your sophomore year, and $5,500 subsidized and $2,000 unsubsidized for your junior and senior year, not to exceed a maximum of $23,000 subsidized and $8,000 unsubsidized.

    As a graduate or professional student, you may borrow up to $8,500 per year not to exceed $65,500, including any amount borrowed as an undergraduate. If you receive a subsidized Direct Loan, you will not be required to begin repayment until six months after you cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

    Students must complete entrance counseling and sign a promissory note at before any loan funds will be disbursed.

    See below for instructions on completing the loan application.

  • The unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan program is similar to the subsidized Direct Loan except that eligibility is not based on financial need and interest payments are not subsidized by the federal government, but rather are the responsibility of the borrower.

    If you are a dependent student, your annual unsubsidized and subsidized Direct Loan totals combined cannot exceed the totals previously noted for a subsidized Direct Loan.

    As an independent student, you have additional unsubsidized eligibility of $4,000 per year for the freshman and sophomore years of study and $5,000 per year for junior and senior years of study.

    As a graduate or professional degree student, you have an additional $10,000 per year in unsubsidized eligibility, and your career maximum increases to a total of $73,500, including any amounts borrowed as an undergraduate.

    Medical students and graduate students in public health and clinical psychology may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loan limits.

    The interest rate is the same as the subsidized Direct Loan; however, interest begins to accrue at the time the loan funds are disbursed. You may choose to pay the interest or request that it be deferred. This results in the deferred interest being capitalized and creating a greater expense to you during repayment.

    Students must complete entrance counseling and sign a promissory note at before any loan funds will be disbursed.

    See below for instructions on completing the loan application.

  • The PLUS loan is a non-need-based educational loan program that allows parents to borrow funds for full-time dependent students. Parents may borrow up to the cost of education less any other financial assistance received during the loan period. Repayment begins within 60 days after the loan is made. The repayment period can be extended up to 10 years with minimum monthly payments to be arranged with the lender.

    PLUS loan checks are mailed directly from the lender to the school. Parents/students are advised to exhaust their eligibility for other federal student aid programs before considering the PLUS loan. More information is available at

  • Alternative loans or private loans are designed to help students who need additional assistance with educational costs. It is important to understand that these loans do not offer the same advantages that the Federal Loan programs offer and should be used only if all other avenues have been pursued. There are a number of private lenders who offer alternative loans. Loan approval is generally based on creditworthiness and the ability to repay. Most student borrowers will need a credit-worthy, employed cosigner in order to qualify. Each lender offers different rates, fees, repayment terms and approval requirements.

    Recommended Private Loan Lenders

  • This program is available only to residents of South Carolina who are attending college for the purpose of becoming certified teachers employed in the state’s school system in areas of critical need as defined by the state Board of Education. For loan recipients who become certified and teach in an area of critical need, the loan shall be canceled at the rate of 20 percent for each full year of teaching, up to 100 percent. Loan recipients who do not become certified and/or do not teach in an area of critical need shall be responsible for repaying the entire amount of loan funds borrowed plus interest. Learn more details and fill out an application at

  • Graduates in some fields, such as nursing and teaching, may qualify to have some of their loans forgiven. Learn more at

Applying for Direct Loans

Completion of the FAFSA is required for both subsidized and unsubsidized federal Direct Loans. First-time loan borrowers also must complete a Master Promissory Notes (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling at

You will need your student FSA ID and password to log in.

Applying for a Federal PLUS Loan for Parents

Completion of the FAFSA is required to apply for a PLUS Loan. Visit and click on the Parent tab to complete the application. Parents must log in with their own FSA ID and password information, not the student’s. If a student’s FSA ID is used to log in, the PLUS application will not process correctly.

Fill in the requested application information. You will be required to select the amount of the loan, the loan period, and if you would like to defer loan repayment. Note: Choosing the maximum loan amount will allow the school to certify the loan amount up to cost of attendance for the loan period requested. Leaving the loan amount blank will delay processing time. We recommend selecting the full academic year for the loan period (August to May) so that only one application needs to be completed per academic year.

Once submitted, an immediate credit decision will be made. USC Upstate will receive the application at the school for certification within 24-48 hours.

a. If parent is approved, you will be required to complete a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Parent Borrowers. A link will appear on the page to complete this step immediately.

b. If parent is denied, the student may be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan amount based on eligibility.

Direct Loan Counseling

Students who have graduated or are no longer enrolled and who received Federal Direct Loans must complete exit counseling at

Loan History

You can view your complete federal loan history at any time by visiting and logging into you account.

For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships:

800 University Way
Health Education Complex, Suite 2081
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Fax: 864-503-5974 Email: