For US citizens/nationals or permanent residents

Federal Loans


Students must be US citizens/nationals or permanent residents to be considered for the Federal Education Loan Program (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Federal Direct PLUS Loan). Students must also be enrolled at least half time.


Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for Federal Education Loan assistance and Federal Work-Study. Applicants should complete all sections of the FAFSA except those requiring parental income information. Harris Public Policy's institutional code is 001774. Inquiries about your FAFSA and loan applications should be directed to the University of Chicago online or at 773.702.6061.

For summer students, submit the UChicago Application for Graduate Loans & Federal Assistance (UCAPP) via the my.UChicago portal.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

If eligible, students may borrow a maximum of $20,500 (aggregate, including any undergraduate loans borrowed: $138,500) per academic year through the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program. The interest is not subsidized while the student is enrolled in school. Students may choose to defer the interest payments. In-school interest may be paid monthly or capitalized. Payment of principal and interest begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time. 

Federal Direct PLUS (Grad PLUS) Loan

The Federal Direct PLUS (Grad PLUS) loan program offers a federal loan for graduate students. Approval for this loan is contingent upon your credit rating. Graduate students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid.

A Grad PLUS application must be completed every year for each award year you wish to borrow the loan and for subsequent requests for the Grad PLUS loan within an award year.

How to Apply for Federal Loans

Review the University's step-by-step guide to applying for student loans and/or Federal Work-Study. 

The University of Chicago Financial Aid Office handles the processing of all student loans. 

Here are a few steps that can get you started with the loan application process: 

Step One: File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • When filing your FAFSA, add our Federal school code 001774
  • Allow at least two weeks for your FAFSA to be processed
  • After the FAFSA is processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing your information. Resolve any incorrect information via the FAFSA website. If you do not receive your SAR within four weeks or you need to request a duplicate, call 800-433-3243. 

Step Two (for Summer Students Only): Complete the UCAPP 

  • Complete the UChicago Application for Graduate Loans & Federal Assistance (UCAPP) via your my.UChicago portal.
  • All students applying for Federal student loans and/or Work-Study for Summer 2023 should complete the UCAPP. 
  • Pre-matriculation programs, such as Math Camp, do not count as summer enrollment.

Step Three: Complete Entrance Counseling, Master Promissory Notes, Graduate PLUS & Alternative Loan Applications 

  • First-time Federal Direct loan borrowers must complete and sign a new Master Promissory Note (MPN) in order to receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS loan. You do not need to complete another Direct Unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS MPN if you have borrowed this type of loan within the past ten years. 
  • Students applying for the Graduate PLUS loan are now additionally required to complete the Graduate PLUS loan application. Students may begin completing the Graduate PLUS loan application in June 2023. A credit-check (valid for 180 days) is required for the Graduate PLUS loan.

For additional information on loans and work study, please contact Graduate Financial Aid at 773.702.6061.

Alternative Loan Program

Alternative (Private) Loans are available for both domestic and international students from most countries. The Alternative Loan is a non-Federal loan and should be used as a last resort. Approval for an Alternative Loan is contingent upon your credit rating. A loan request may be denied if there’s an adverse credit rating. If this happens, it’s recommended that you to contact the lender to appeal the decision or reapply with a cosigner.  

Learn more about the Alternative Loan Program online or call 773.702.6061.

How to Apply for Alternative Loans

Step 1: Review the lenders and terms. Here is a list of alternative lenders for domestic students.

Step 2: Complete an Alternative Loan Application with the lender of your choice.

Step 3: Complete a Private Education Loan Application Self-Certification and return it to your respective lender along with your alternative loan application.

Step 4: Complete the Alternative Loan Request Form.

Please visit the UChicago Graduate Financial Aid Office for more detailed information about the Alternative Loan process.