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Student Loans

According to the most recent federal College Score Card, students typically borrow $16,000 in federal loans to attend UT. Borrowing should be done conservatively to avoid heavy loan debt and the potential for default.

Apply for Loans Annually

Your first step is to complete the FAFSA. You must be admitted as degree-seeking and enrolled at least half-time to qualify. The priority deadline is February 15. UT’s federal school code is 003530.

Go to the FAFSA

Accept Your Loans

All students who want to use student loans must accept them in MyUTK. Additionally, first-time borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling with the Department of Education at

Keep Your Loans

Find out about the requirements you need to meet to keep receiving your student loans.

Types of Loans

Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of your education after high school. The lender is the US Department of Education. However, most of the contact will be with your loan servicer.

With Direct Loans, you:

  • Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact—your loan servicer—for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
  • Have online access to your Direct Loan account information through your servicer’s website.
  • Can choose from several repayment plans, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.

The Direct Loan Program offers these types of loans:

  • Subsidized: for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
  • Unsubsidized: not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.

Student borrowers are not required to begin making payments until after they drop below half-time attendance.

PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. These loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.

You can apply here using your FSA ID to log in and complete your application.

Alternative student loans are made through private lenders (for example, banks). They are not part of the federal loan program.

UT encourages students to look into federal loan programs before applying for a private loan. If you are ineligible for federal loans or you have exhausted government sources, private loans can help offset the difference between your educational expenses and loans.

There are many private loan options. It is to your benefit to research and find the loan that best meets your needs. The lender has final approval for alternative loans, rather than UT.

Disbursement can be slower than it is for direct loans.

More Information on Alternative Loans

The purpose of the federal student loan program is to provide the best possible loan terms and service for students and parents who borrow to help finance higher education. UT students and families receive trustworthy, reliable guidance from our institution about financial aid. The university’s first priority in conducting business with student loan providers is to ensure they have borrower benefits and services that provide for the best interests of student and parent borrowers. The following guidelines are a framework to provide the best possible loan servicing and benefits for the students served by UT and to avoid conflicts or the appearance of conflicts of interest.

  1. UT is prohibited from receiving anything of value from any lending institution in exchange for any advantage sought by the lending institution. This prohibits any inappropriate financial arrangements between lenders and the university and specifically prohibits “revenue sharing” arrangements and opportunity loan pools. Lenders cannot pay to get on the university’s recommended lender list.
  2. UT employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts of more than a nominal value from any lender, servicer, or guarantor. This includes a prohibition for financial aid officers and other university officials from trips, catered meals, athletic or entertainment events, etc. paid for by lenders.
  3. Financial Aid personnel do not participate on lender advisory boards, but may discuss student loan services and products for UT students and parents with lenders.
  4. The university’s list of recommended lenders must be based solely on the best interests of the students or parents who may use the list, without regard to financial interests of the university. This ensures that lenders will be those the university has determined offer the best loan services and benefits that are compatible with the needs of students/parents and the university’s automated student loan systems. The recommended lender list should be prominently displayed on the campus website.
  5. The process by which recommended lenders are selected must be fully disclosed to students. The process should be prominently displayed on the campus website. Students should also be informed that they have the right to use a lender of their own choosing. UT will continue to ask students to name their selected lender at the onset of the student loan process for each new borrower and will not select a lender for a first-time borrower. The university will not refuse to certify or delay certification of any loan based upon the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
  6. The university must ensure that employees of lenders never identify themselves to students as employees of the university. No employee of a lender may ever work in or provide staffing assistance to the university’s financial aid office.
  7. Financial Aid personnel are not to purchase stocks or accept stocks from banks that provide student loans to UT students.
  8. UT departments and affiliated organizations should not enter into any contractual preferred student loan consolidation arrangement with any lender, servicer, or guarantor.

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