Loans are another form of financial assistance available to undergraduate and graduate students as well as the parents of dependent undergraduate students. Each type of loan has it’s own unique fees, interest rates and repayment terms. Loans are often a necessary part of funding college costs. UCA will determine the maximum amount you are eligible to receive but it is important that you borrow wisely and only the amount you truly need.

Types of Student Loans

  • Federal Direct Student Loans
    • Subsidized Loans
      • Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are awarded to undergraduate students ONLY. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are need-based loans. A student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students) to be eligible to receive a Subsidized Federal Direct Loan. The interest on this loan is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled in school and during the first 6 months following withdrawal or graduation from school. Learn more about Subsidized Loans.
    • Unsubsidized Loans
      • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are non-need based loans. Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until the loan is paid in full. The student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or allow it to accrue. If the interest is allowed to accrue, it will be added to the principal amount of the loan, thereby increasing the amount of money the student is required to repay.  The student must be enrolled on a half-time basis (6 credit hours for undergraduates & 5 credit hours for graduates/professionals) to be eligible and to receive the award. Learn more about Unsubsidized Loans.
    • Graduate PLUS Loans
      • The U.S. Department of Education administers a loan program for students called the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Graduate students in an eligible master’s degree or doctoral program may be eligible to borrow a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to help pay education expenses if enrolled at least half-time. The student must be creditworthy. Learn more about Graduate PLUS Loans.

Direct Loan Interest Rates for 2020-2021

Interest Rates for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2021
Loan TypeFixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students2.75%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate and Professional Students4.30%
Direct PLUS Loans for Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students and for Graduate or Professional Students5.30%
  • Private (Alternative) Loans
    • Private or Alternative loans are credit-based loans offered by a variety of third-party lenders. These loans are borrowed by the student and require the student to have a satisfactory credit history or a creditworthy co-borrower. Students may borrow up to their UCA cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid they receive. Loan fees, interest rates, and repayment terms vary by lender, so please review all application information very carefully. UCA will process loans from any eligible lender that a student selects.  Learn more about Private or Alternative Loan Lender information.

Applying for Federal Student Loans

In the interest of securing the best interest rates and repayment terms, you should first apply for federal loans.

Step 1:  Complete the FAFSA and list the UCA school code 001092.

Step 2:  The Financial Aid Office will determine your eligibility and will send you a notification of the amount for which you are eligible to your cub email account.

Step 3:  Review and accept the type and amount of loan for which you are interested on your myUCA portal. 

Once you have accepted one or more of the loans offered to you, the Financial Aid Office will submit your loan information to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) for review and approval. At this time, UCA will begin to prepare the loan for disbursement based on the established term schedule. Once submitted, the information will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system. You also have access to NSLDS through the borrower portal: You may use this portal to access information about your specific loans.

Step 4:  Complete Entrance Counseling. Entrance Counseling is required for all first-time borrowers and is completed on the federal student loan website. Completing Entrance Counseling ensures you understand the terms and repayment options of the loan.  Learn more on how to complete the Entrance Counseling

Step 5:  Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)/Loan Agreement.  The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.  Learn more on how to complete the MPN/Loan Agreement


Dependent Undergraduate Students Loan Limits
 Base AmountUnsubsidized AmountAnnual Limits
Junior & Senior$5,500$2,000$7,500
Aggregate Limit$23,000$8,000$31,000
Independent Undergraduate Students Loan Limits
 Base AmountUnsubsidized AmountAnnual Limits
Junior & Senior$5,500$7,000$12,500
Aggregate Limit$23,000$34,500$57,500
Graduate Students Loan Limits
 Unsubsidized Amount
Aggregate Limit$138,500

Federal Student Loan Repayment Estimator


Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

  • The U.S. Department of Education administers a loan program for dependent undergraduate students called the PLUS loan. The parent is the borrower and is responsible for the repayment of the loan. The parent borrower is subject to a credit check. Learn more about Parent PLUS Loans.

Applying for a Federal Parent Loan (PLUS)

* Notice*  The student must have a completed FAFSA on file with UCA listed as the school in order for the parent to take out a PLUS loan. (UCA’s school code is 001092)

Step 1:  The parent borrower must be the biological or adoptive parent.  A stepparent may borrow a PLUS loan if their income is included on the FAFSA.  The parent will need to create an FSA ID and FSA ID password. The FSA ID and password can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA. It is also used to complete the parent Plus loan application. [Do not use the student’s FSA ID]

Step 2:  The parent should navigate to, scroll down the page and click on the Parent tab and select Apply for a PLUS Loan from the list of options. On the next screen, enter the Parent’s FSA ID and Password, then click “Log in”.  On the pop-up screen, click Accept.  On the next screen, click “Start” (blue box) to begin the application process.

Step 3:  Answer all questions on the application. Please see the tips below:

  • Select the academic year for which you are applying. For example, the 20/21 academic year begins with the Fall 2020 term.
  • You have the option of authorizing the funds to be used for other charges, like text books. This is a good idea if the student does not have funds to purchase their books on their own.
  • You will need to select the University of Central Arkansas as the school the student plans to attend.
  • You will be able to select the loan amount. Remember to take into consideration that this loan amount is for the whole academic year. If you choose the option to apply for the maximum amount, please contact the Financial Aid office to confirm the loan amount.

Step 4:  Once the application is complete, select SUBMIT to complete the process.

Step 5:  Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)/Loan Agreement. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.


Other Loan Related Information