Direct Loan Program: 2024-25

2024-25 Direct Loan Programs Self-Study Guide

This self-study guide covers the fundamentals of the Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan) programs, including loan types, loan features, loan counseling requirements, and borrower eligibility. With this foundation, you will then gain an understanding of the calculation of loan amounts, including frequency of borrowing, annual and aggregate loan amounts, and the rules for proration of annual loan limits. Completion of this self-study guide qualifies individuals to take the corresponding NASFAA Professional Credential test.

Upon purchase, you'll have access to the e-Reader version, and/or download the PDF from the NASFAA website.

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Published April 2024

Learning Objectives

Lesson 1: Introduction to Direct Loans 

  • Identify the different Direct Loan programs and characteristics of each;
  • Understand the purpose of origination fees;
  • Understand the loan application process; and
  • Understand how financial aid administrators may utilize professional judgment in the Direct Loan application process.

Lesson 2: Factors for Calculating Loan Amounts 

  • Identify the factors in calculating loan amounts;
  • Understand how the loan period is identified in standard, nonstandard, and nonterm programs; and
  • Understand the role of the student aid index and other financial assistance in the calculation of loan amounts.

Lesson 3: Direct Loan Amounts and Limits 

  • Know the annual and aggregate Direct Loan limits and how they are applied to student and parent borrowers;
  • Understand student enrollment patterns and the rules regarding the frequency with which students may borrow annual loan limits for Direct Loans; and
  • Understand the rules for Direct Loan proration and when they are applied.

Lesson 4: Calculating Direct Loan Eligibility 

  • Know how to calculate a student’s or parent’s Direct Loan eligibility;
  • Understand the frequency of annual borrowing limits; and
  • Know how to prorate a student’s loan eligibility.

Lesson 5: Loan Counseling

  • Understand when loan counseling is required;
  • Identify who must complete entrance and exit counseling;
  • Identify the various counseling formats and documentation requirements; and
  • Understand the required content of loan counseling and its purpose.

Lesson 6: Direct Loan & FFEL Repayment Features

  • Identify and understand the major repayment features of Direct and FFEL loans.

Lesson 7: Direct Loan & FFEL Repayment Plans

  • Know which repayment plans are available to borrowers under the Direct Loan and FFEL programs;
  • Understand borrower choice and restrictions among available repayment plans;
  • Understand the monthly payment amounts, repayment term lengths, and special conditions associated with each of the repayment plans; and
  • Know that repayment plan counseling tools and calculators are available to borrowers and where to find them.
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