Navigating the borrowing process

Loans are a reality for most graduate and professional students, and we will help you navigate the borrowing process from application to repayment. We encourage you to be a responsible consumer and to borrow only what is necessary. We urge you to seek advice from our Student Financial Services team whenever needed.

Keep in mind that with loans, lenders often deduct loan fees before monies are disbursed, which can impact the amount you need to borrow. You should calculate loan fees prior to finalizing loan requests. Please see Federal Loan Fees for more information.

Repaying Your Loans

Be sure you're in touch with your Loan Servicer at all times throughout your years of borrowing. It is even wise to pay interest while you're in school, if at all possible, on any loans that are accruing interest (i.e. every loan EXCEPT the Direct Subsidized Loan). Once you're ready to leave school, we recommend using the Repayment Estimator to determine which is the best loan repayment option for you. Note: You may switch plans as your income situation changes. Just realize this — the longer you take to repay your loans, the more they will cost you.

Federal Direct Loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest loans to eligible students to help cover the cost of graduate and professional school. These loans are available to cover your Cost of Attendance, which includes both your direct costs (those that are billed to you) and your indirect costs, such as living, personal, and miscellaneous expenses.

To apply for Federal Direct Loans you must file the FAFSA and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Complete Entrance Counseling. For all Federal Loans, you will also need to complete Exit Loan Counseling when you are no longer enrolled at least half-time. Both Entrance and Exit Counseling provide information about terms of borrowing, interest accrual, and repayment options, and can be completed online.

All pertinent information regarding Title IV, HEA federal loans, including Direct Loans, will be submitted to NSLDS and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

Unsubsidized Direct Loans

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to all graduate and professional students regardless of need. UNE will determine the amount you can borrow based on your Cost of Attendance and annual limits. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for information on loan borrowing limits and the current interest rates for direct loans.

Loan borrowing limits for health professions programs for specific years not listed on the federal website:

  • Pharmacy Students
    • First–Second year: $33,000
    • Third year: $33,000
    • Fourth year: $37,167
  • Medical Students:
    • First–Third year: $47,167
    • Fourth year: $44,944
  • Dental Students:
    • First year: $40,500
    • Second–Fourth year: $47,167

The aggregate maximum or Federal Direct/Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan funds is $224,000 for medical (D.O.), dental (DMD), and Pharmacy (PharmD) students. This includes any outstanding Direct/Stafford Loans borrowed for undergraduate and/or graduate school.

Graduate PLUS Loans

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan, subject to credit approval by the lender, that can be used to help meet both direct and indirect costs. PLUS loans help pay for expenses up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus all other financial assistance (e.g., Direct Unsubsidized Loan and/or scholarships). The Graduate PLUS Loan will be offered to you as part of your financial aid award. Should you choose to borrow some or all of this loan, you need to accept the offer via U-Online. The loan is then subject to lender approval. If credit is denied for the PLUS Loan, you can continue to pursue the loan with an endorser or appeal the denial.

Alternative Loans

Because of the flexible and forgiving nature of Federal Direct Loans, we recommend that you exhaust those sources before applying for private or alternative loans. However, we recognize that you may need to seek this type of loan to cover the costs of your advanced degree. See UNE’s Recommended Lender List for more information on private loans.

Charles E. Gilbert Loan Program

This low-interest loan program is available to medical students who are graduates of the University of Maine. Annual amounts vary depending on the availability of funds and the total number of eligible applicants. Applications are available by contacting the University of Maine Office of Financial Aid.

Office of Student Financial Aid
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
(207) 581-1324

FAME loans

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) offers forgivable loan programs for Maine residents (as determined by FAME's standards) who commit to working in underserved areas of Maine after completion of their studies.


The Maine Health Professions Loan is a low-interest loan program that encourages medical and dental students to practice in Maine. Loans are need-based and awards range from $10,000–$25,000 annually.


The Maine Dental Education Loan Program is a forgivable loan program designed to encourage dental students who are Maine residents to practice primary dental care in an eligible dental care facility in an underserved area in Maine. Awards are $20,000 annually.


Educators for Maine is a competitive, merit-based, forgivable loan program for Maine students pursuing careers in teaching, including speech pathology and child development or childcare.

For more information on applying and for deadlines, contact FAME at 5 Community Drive, P.O. Box 949, Augusta, ME 04332-0949 or 1 (800) 228-3734 or visit the FAME website.


Student Financial Services

For information about the financial aid and billing process contact Student Financial Services at or (207) 602-2342. Our office hours are Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.