U.S. Government Student Aid

U.S. Government Student Loans

The U.S. direct loan program includes two types of loans: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans and Direct PLUS (Parent and Grad) loans. Students who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. may apply for loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

U.S. residents who also have Canadian citizenship may not apply to, or receive, Canadian government aid (such as OSAP) and U.S. Direct Loans at the same time.


Students must be registered in an on-campus degree program. Students registered in Distance Education courses, Continuing Education certificate or diploma programs are not eligible for U.S. loan assistance. The Higher Education Action of 1965 (as amended) specifies that a program offered by a foreign school through any use of a telecommunications course, correspondence course, or direct assessment program is not an eligible program. As such, any student taking even one distance education course at the University of Guelph is not eligible for funding through the U.S. Direct Loan Program.


U.S. Direct Loans are need-based (subsidized) and non-need based (unsubsidized) and are subject to annual limits. The maximum amount you can borrow each year depends on your grade level and on whether you are a dependent student or an independent student.

Annual Loan Limits for Dependent Undergraduates

Grade Level Dependent Undergraduate Subsidized Loan Unsubsidized Loan Total
First Year $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second Year $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third & Fourth Year $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

Dependent students who require more funding may apply for a Parent Plus loan.

Annual Loan Limits for Independent Undergraduates

Grade Level Independent Undergraduate Subsidized Loan Unsubsidized Loan Total
First Year $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second Year $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third & Fourth Year $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Annual Loan Limits for Graduate and Professional Students

All graduate students, and students in professional programs, are considered independent. Graduate and professional students are not eligible for subsidized loans. They can be eligible for the unsubsidized loan. The maximum annual loan limit is $20,500. Graduate students wishing to borrow additional funds may apply for Graduate Plus Loans.

Aggregate Loan Limits for All Students

  Dependent Students Independent Undergraduate Students Independent Graduate or Professional Students
Subsidized Loan Limit $23,000 $23,000 $65,500
Unsubsidized Loan Limit $8,000 $34,500 $73,000
Total Loan Limit $31,000 $57,500 $138,500

The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.


  1. Complete a FAFSA application for the current academic year. University of Guelph's federal code is G06683
  2. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPNs). You must complete the MPN(s) for all loan types you wish to borrow, i.e. Subsidized/Unsubsidized, Graduate/Professional PLUS, Parent PLUS. MPN(s) must be completed each year when attending a foreign school.
  3. NEW starting in the 2021/2022 loan year - students must complete an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement on the Federal Student Aid website. If you are applying for parent PLUS loans, the parent must also complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement on the Federal Student Aid website.
  4. Once all the above are complete, email the University of Guelph's Financial Aid office at usloans@uoguelph.ca and advise them how much U.S. Direct loan(s) you wish to borrow. Include any other financial aid or scholarships you are receiving in the email. All funds and requests should be given in U.S. dollars
  5. Students who are first time borrowers of U.S. Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized or Plus loans must complete Entrance Counselling


To ensure that your funding is ready for the start of the academic year in September, we recommend that you complete all parts of the application process (FAFSA, completion of the MPN(s), and email to us) by July 15.


The University of Guelph uses a credit system for undergraduate courses. The year is divided into three, four-month semesters (fall, winter and summer). Normally, each four-month course carries a weight of half a credit. Five courses equal 2.5 academic credits and is considered a 100% load during a single semester. Graduate students are not classified by their course weights; they are admitted to either full or part time programs of study. Undergraduate students must be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for U.S. direct loan funding. For graduate students, the status must be full-time attendance.

Undergraduate Student Eligibility

Number of academic credits per semester Percent load Eligible?
2.5 academic credits 100% Yes
1.5 academic credits 60% Yes
1.0 academic credits 40% No

Graduate Student Eligibility

Level of attendance Percent load Eligible?
Full-time 100% Yes
Part-time 33% No


All funding will be converted into Canadian dollars on the disbursement dates and will be disbursed electronically to the student's University of Guelph WebAdvisor account. Undergraduate students who are studying in the fall and winter semesters will receive the first disbursement in early September, and the second disbursement in January. Graduate students will receive their funding in three disbursements: September, January and May. The funding will be applied to tuition and fees first; any remaining funds will be refunded to you within 10 days of the disbursement dates to be used for books and living expenses. You will receive your refund through the PayMyTuition refund process; see the Refunds webpage for complete instructions. The borrower has the right to cancel all or a portion of their loan within 30 days of disbursement.


Students are required to maintain satisfactory academic standing in their program of study as established by the University to continue to be eligible for their U.S. loans.

U.S. government policy (668.34-a)on Satisfactory Academic Policy states: "An institution must establish a reasonable satisfactory academic progress policy for determining whether an otherwise eligible student is making satisfactory academic progress in his or her educational program and may receive assistance under the Title IV, HEA programs."

After each four-month semester, academic progress is reviewed for all students receiving government aid. Student progress will be measured against both qualitative and quantitative standards. Students must meet both standards to continue to be eligible for U.S. government aid.


Students at the University of Guelph must achieve a passing grade of at least 50% to receive credit for courses they attempt. Students receiving U.S. Direct loans are considered to have a successful semester if they achieve passing grades in at least 60% of a full course load (1.5 academic credits for each semester of study).

Students receiving U.S. Direct Loans who have received a credit in a course may not receive funding to repeat the course to achieve a higher grade.


Maximum Time Limits: Students may not take longer than 150% of the length of the program to complete their degree. For example, students in a four year undergraduate degree may not take longer than six years to complete their studies. Graduate program length is determined by the University's Office of Graduate studies. Program lengths may vary, depending on the type of degree and the area of study. Further information on program lengths is published in the University calendar.

Examples of Program Completion Times:

Type of Student Program length Maximum allowed
Graduate student 2 year Master’s degree 3 years
Undergraduate student 3 year general degree 4.5 years
Undergraduate student 4 year honour’s degree 6 years

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students receiving US Direct Loans will be monitored for academic progress at the end of each semester of study. Students not achieving a passing grade in at least 60% of a full course load (1.5 academic credits per semester) will be considered to have failed. The first instance of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will result in the student being placed on SAP warning for their next semester. The student will receive a SAP warning letter and will be monitored by the Financial Aid Office for the next semester. If the student fails again during the warning period, the student will be ineligible for further US Direct loan assistance.

Students who have been required to withdraw, or are continuing in non-degree studies, are not eligible for U.S. direct loans.  For more information, students may review the University's published academic standards.

Academic Progress Appeals

Students who are ineligible for further U.S. Direct loan assistance may appeal directly to the Financial Aid Office. The student must submit a signed letter of appeal and must attach supporting documentation, such as medical documentation, letters from their academic advisor, etc.  A successful appeal will place the student on probation for one semester. Students will be eligible for U.S. Direct loans during the probationary period. If the student is successful during the probationary period, the probation will be removed. If the student is unsuccessful, they will again be ineligible for further U.S. Direct loan assistance.


When you leave your studies (graduation, withdrawal or course load reduction to less than half-time) you must complete the Exit Counselling interview at Exit Counselling and begin repayment of your student loans.


Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend the University of Guelph for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. If a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the originally approved Title IV loan funds. If a recipient of Title IV loan funds withdraws from the University of Guelph after beginning attendance, a recalculation of the amount of Title IV loan assistance earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount determined and for which the student is eligible, the student is eligible to receive a Post-withdrawal disbursement. The student is responsible for the return of ineligible Title IV funds and failure to return funds as required will result in the loss of eligibility for further Direct Loan assistance. Additional information is available on the U.S. Student Aid website.


The interest rate depends on the loan type and the first disbursement date of the loan (for most loan types). The table below shows interest rates for direct loans that were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022. The interest rates are fixed rates for the life of the loan.

Loan Type Borrower Type Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate or Professional 5.28%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents and Graduate or Professional Students 6.28%


Other U.S. Government Student Aid

Students attending foreign schools are not eligible for grants, such as the Pell Grant from the U.S. government.


Private Loans

Private loans are also available to fund your studies (e.g., Sallie Mae Student Loans). They may be borrowed on their own, or in addition to U.S. direct loans.