Federal Aid Programs

The Office of Student Financial Assistance participates in the following Federal Aid Programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
  • Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan (PLUS)
  • Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS loan (GRAD PLUS)

In order to determine your eligibility for these programs you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must meet the basic eligibility requirements such as:

  • Be admitted to the university with a complete financial aid file.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
  • Have completed a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certification.
  • If you are male between the ages of 18-25 you must be registered with the Selective Service
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Have not defaulted on a federal student loan or do not owe a Title IV grant repayment.
  • Have not been convicted of drug sale or possession while receiving federal aid.

If you have any further questions regarding these eligibility requirements you can contact the Federal Aid Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID or 1-800-433-3243.

Federal Pell Grant

The Pell grant is a non-repayable grant that is awarded based on the students need. The amount awarded depends on your cost of attendance, expected family contribution, enrollments status and length of enrollment. Pell grants are awarded to undergraduate students only. If you have already earned a bachelor's degree you do not qualify. Pell grant awards change annually.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG grant is also a non-repayable grant that is awarded based on the students need. This grant is awarded based on the availability of funds and bases on the amount of other aid you may be receiving. This grant is awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis. Due to funding limitations, it is extremely important to apply early.

Federal Work Study (FWS)

The Federal Work Study program is a program for students who are interested in earning money by working a part-time job. Receiving this award depends on your level of financial need and the availability of funding. This award is available to undergraduate and graduate students who may be part-time or full-time enrollment. The FWS program encourages community service while offering positions on and off campus. Students are paid by the hour depending on how many hours they have worked. NKU pays the student bi-weekly thru check or thru direct deposit. Please visit the NKU Student Job Listing to view and apply for student jobs.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a low interest loan that must be repaid. The student must file the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need to qualify. The student must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program. The student must not have reached their aggregate loan limit and must not be in default on a previous student loan to qualify. There is an interest rate of 5.05 percent (effective July 1, 2018). The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time status in a degree seeking program. There is a six month grace period (after withdrawal or graduation) before a student is required to begin repayment on their loan(s). Interest is accruing during this grace period (effective July 1, 2013).

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a low interest loan that must be repaid. The student must file the FAFSA annually to qualify. The student must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program. The student must not have reached their aggregate loan limit and must not be in default on a previous student loan. Unlike the subsidized loan program, interest does accrue on the unsubsidized loan. There is an interest rate of 5.05 percent for undergraduate students and 6.6 percent for graduate students (effective July 1, 2018). There is a six month grace period (after withdrawal or graduation) before a student is required to begin repayment on their loan(s). Interest is accruing during this grace period.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loan)

The parents of dependent undergraduate students can choose to borrow a loan for their student's education through the Federal Direct PLUS loan program.  The terms and conditions of repayment are the parent's responsibility. Conditions include: that the applicant (parent) not have adverse credit; each year the parent must pass a credit check for approval of the PLUS loan; repayment begins on the last date of disbursement of the loan with an interest rate of 7.6 percent (effective July 1, 2018). The parent must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, not default in a federal student loan and not owe a federal grant repayment. The maximum  eligibility is determined by the students cost of attendance minus any other financial aid that the student is receiving.

Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan

Graduate and professional students can also apply for the Graduate Plus loan. Students who are applying must pass a credit check and must be enrolled half-time in a degree seeking program. If you receive a Direct PLUS Loan as a graduate or professional student, you don't have to make any payments while you're enrolled in school at least half-time, and for an additional six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. The Direct Graduate Plus Loan has an interest rate of 7.6 percent (effective July 1, 2017). The maximum Plus eligibility is determined by the student's cost of attendance minus any other financial aid that the student is receiving.

Loan Origination Fees

Most federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You're responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.

The chart below shows the loan fees for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2017.

Loan Type

First Disbursement Date

Loan Fee

Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans 

On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18 

1.066%

On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18

1.066%

Direct PLUS Loans

On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18

4.264%

On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18

4.264%

 

Annual Loan Limits

The maximum annual loan limit depends on dependency status and grade classification:

Annual Loan Limits-Undergraduate Students
              
Freshman: $5,500 (Dependent) $9,500 (Independent)
*No more than $3,500 can be subsidized.

Sophomore: $6,500 (Dependent) $10,500 (Independent)
*No more than $4,500 can be subsidized.

Junior/Senior: $7,500 (Dependent) $12,500 (Independent) 
*No more than $5,500 can be subsidized.

Lifetime Aggregate limits: $31,000 (Dependent) $57,500 (Independent)  
*No more than $23,000 can be subsidized.

Annual Loan Limits-Graduate and Law Students

Graduate and law students may receive $20,500 annually in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. 

Lifetime Aggregate limit: $138,500. No more than $65,000 can be subsidized.

Alternative Loan Options

Students, after exhausting all other aid avenues including federal loan eligibility, sometimes explore the use of non-federal educational loans. Collectively called alternative loans, these loan products may be available to assist a student who is not eligible for federal aid or when federal aid does not meet the financial need of the student. Alternative educational loans require the student borrower to be credit-worthy or have a credit-worthy co-signer. They can assist with meeting your educational costs. For more information on federal loans versus alternative loans, visit the federal student aid website.

For alternative loan options, visit FASTChoice. Here you can learn more about alternative loans, find details about different lenders and loan programs, and even select the loan that's right for you.