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Preparatory Coursework

You may apply for a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan (or your parent may apply for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan on your behalf if you are a dependent student) for coursework that is necessary to enroll in an eligible program. You must be taking classes that are a prerequisite for admission to the eligible program. If enrolled at least half time in these prerequisite courses, you may be eligible for loans with undergraduate level loan limits for one 12-month period (not per program) beginning on the first day of the loan period. Any Federal Direct loan funds received will count toward your aggregate (life-time) Federal Direct loan limits.

A student who is only taking prerequisite courses to raise his or her GPA in order to be admitted would not qualify.

Example

Ella has a bachelor's degree. She wants to enroll in a graduate program but cannot be admitted to the program because she still requires 12 credit hours of specific undergraduate coursework to meet the graduate program's admissions requirements. Since she still requires 12 hours of undergraduate coursework to meet the graduate program's admission requirements, she may receive undergraduate level loans for this coursework if she has not already borrowed the aggregate (lifetime) maximum undergraduate loan limit amount and has not received loan funds for preparatory courses in the past.

Note: To be eligible, Ella must be taking classes that are a prerequisite for admission. If she is only taking them to raise her GPA, she would not qualify for loans.

Federal Direct Loan Eligibility Requirements for Preparatory Coursework:

  • Student must be enrolled in coursework necessary for the student to enroll in an eligible graduate program
  • Student must be enrolled at least half time
  • Loans for preparatory coursework can only be received once for a maximum of 12 consecutive months in a student’s academic career
  • Student (and parent, where applicable) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
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