Federal Direct Loans

The American Graduate School in Paris is a participating institution in the U.S. Government Federal William D. Ford Direct Loan Program for its master and doctoral programs. This includes the Stafford loans and the Graduate Plus loans.

Here is a description of the Direct loan program and the procedure to follow:


Only US citizens or, under certain conditions, US residents can apply. To be eligible, must be enrolled full-time or at least half-time (See enrollment status) in an eligible program. Continuing students must also demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress. The school will determine your eligibility and inform you.

There is no credit check on Stafford loans. There is a federal check process for gradPlus loans. The review looks for bad credit only. Some students may be requested to have a creditworthy co-signer.


Graduate students can borrow up to the cost of attendance (COA) defined by the school.  COA includes tuition, fees and living expenses, of which accomodation, books, travels to and from France, room and board for the academic year,etc. If the students benefits from a scholarship, it is deducted.

The Stafford loans are limited to $20500 per year and there is an aggregate limit of $138500. There are two types of Stafford loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. Students qualify for subsidized Stafford loans if they demonstrate financial need. The federal government pays interest on subsidized Stafford loans during in-school and other specified periods. Unsubsidized loans are not need-based. The borrower is responsible for interest that accrues on unsubsidized Stafford loans.

The amounts of the subsidized and unsubsidized parts of the loan depend on the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) which will appear on your Student Aid Report (SAR) and the breakdown is calculated as follows: the subsidized loan equals COA-EFC with a maximum of $8,500 and the unsubdized loan equals COA minus the unsubsidized loan within a maximum of $20,500 .

Here are two scenarios:

  • Student A: COA=$40,000 and EFC=$35,000
    This student can borrow $5,000 Stafford subsidized (COA-EFC limited to $8,500) + $15,500 unsubsidized (maximum $20,500-$5,000).

  • Student B: COA=$40,000 and EFC=$10,000
    This student can borrow $8500 Stafford subsidized (COA-EFC limited to $8500) + $12,000 unsubsidized (maximum $20,500-$8500).

The amounts above are examples. Please refer to the actual COA for the year and program you are applying for.

If the COA exceeds the amount of the Stafford loans, subsidized + unsubsidized, students can apply for a graduate Plus loan : GradPlus loans are not need-based and there is no aggregate limit. Students can borrow the full cost of attendance minus the Stafford loan and other forms of aid received if any.

Interest rates and repayment

The current rates are 6.8% for both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans and 7.9% for the gradPlus loan. There is an automatic 6-month grace period on Stafford loans: repayment starts 6 month after the student graduates or drops below half time. Repayment of Plus loans starts 60 days after a loan is fully disbursed but a 6 month grace period can be obtained.

Application procedure

1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Complete the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The Federal school code of the American Graduate School in Paris is G38164 and the OPE (Office of Postsecondary Education) ID is 03816400.

This application generates your Student Aid Report (SAR).

2. Sign your MPN(s)

Please go to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action and sign your MPN. AGS is listed among foreign schools.

NB: Students who want the Stafford loan only, please sign the subsidized/unsubsidized MPN. Students who also need a graduate Plus loan, please also sign the GradPlus MPN.

3. Complete your Loan Entrance Counselling

The Federal Government requires that all borrowers go through an Entrance Loan Counselling session before receiving their loans. This has to be carried out on the same website https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. Whether or not you want a Plus loan, please choose the combined Stafford and Plus counseling. AGS will know when your entrance counseling is completed.

Note: The entrance counseling for Direct loans is specific, so continuing students who have already gone through an entrance counseling session with MappingYourFuture for their FFELP loans are also required to take this one now.

When you leave AGS, you will also have to complete an Exit Counselling. See below.

4. Inform the School's Financial Aid Office

Please inform our financial aid officer at: finance@ags.edu

Phone: +33(0) 1 47 20 00 94 - Fax: +33(0) 1 47 20 81 89

You do not have to send any document. Please let the financial officer know the amount you wish to borrow. We will be able to increase (within the COA limit) or decrease this amount if necessary once you are at AGS.

5. AGS will originate your loans

AGS will check your eligibility, originate your loans online and inform you.

6. AGS will disburse your loan money

AGS will be able to receive the funds in two equal instalments a few days before each semester. They will be changed from dollars to euros and posted to your student's account as soon as possible.

If this amount and the other funds possibly received on your account exceed your tuition, AGS will disburse this excess to you immediately. However no disbursement will be made before the start of classes.


Students in non US-based schools cannot borrow for more than one year on the same Master Promissory Note. Consequently, at the end of your first year at AGS, you have to renew your application. Go to step 1 above. Provided the direct loan entrance counseling has been done at the time of the first application, you can skip step 3.

Exit counseling

In their last semester or in the last semester they are enrolled at least half-time, students have to complete an Exit Counseling. This can be done online here: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.

AGS will be informed as soon as Exit Counseling has been performed. Exit counselling is a graduation requirement, no diploma nor official transcripts will be released until it has been completed.

See also:

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

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Paul Vallet USA, France
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School of International Relations

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