Direct Loan Eligibility

In order to borrow Federal Direct Loans, you must

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident (with a green card)
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • File a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each academic year
  • Be enrolled at least half time (a minimum of 4.5 credits per semester). If you take less than 4.5 credits, you will not be eligible to apply for federal loans and additionally, any previous loans you borrowed will enter their grace period.
  • Be below the aggregate borrowing limit ($65,500 subsidized, $138,500 combined)
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress as defined in the Stern Bulletin
  • Must not be in default on a federal student loan

There are maximum limits on the subsidized and unsubsidized loans you are eligible to receive. The aggregate limit is the lifetime amount you may borrow from the federal student loan program.

The maximum total debt from subsidized and unsubsidized loans for graduate or professional students is currently $138,500. No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate debt limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study. A detailed outline of your federal loans are available on the National Student Loan Data System at, where you can create an account to view your loan history.

If we receive a report from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), NYU is required to check this information and verify the accuracy of the report. You may see a message on your "to-do" list that reads:

The National Student Loan Data System has reported you may have reached or exceeded your loan borrowing aggregate limits for your dependency status and degree. The Office of Financial Aid will review your loan borrowing history to determine your federal aid eligibility for the current academic year. There is nothing you the student need to do at this time.

This means we are in the process of reviewing your loan history and determining if you have any remaining eligibility.  Once the review is complete, (which can take up to 3 weeks depending on the season of the academic year) you will either be entirely cleared to resume borrowing federal student loans and/or we will post subsequent messages for your information.

After accepting a Graduate PLUS Loan on the NYU Albert system, the government will check your credit to confirm approval. However, we advise you to use the credit report resources on our site to check your credit score prior to accepting the loan. If there is incorrect information on your report, be sure to rectify the issue(s).

Per the Department of Education, for purposes of qualifying for a Direct PLUS Loan, you are considered to have an adverse credit history if:

  • you have one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off (written off) during the two years preceding the date of the credit report, OR
  • during the five years preceding the date of the credit report, you have been subject to a
    • default determination
    • discharge of debts in bankruptcy
    • foreclosure
    • repossession
    • tax lien
    • wage garnishment
    • write-off of a federal student aid debt

If you apply for a Direct PLUS Loan and are notified that you have an adverse credit history, you will be provided detailed information on the options for qualifying by obtaining an endorser or submitting documentation of extenuating circumstances, along with instructions on how to complete the required PLUS counseling.

An accepted credit check is valid for 180 days.