Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.



A Federal award from the government that the borrower will eventually have to pay back. Direct loans are those made for a specific time period with a reasonable expectation of repayment; they may or may not require interest payments. Guaranteed loans require the Federal government to pay the bank and take over the loan if the borrower defaults.