The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) program, authorized under Title IV, Part D of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, is the primary federal student loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The program makes available loans to undergraduate and graduate students and the parents of dependent undergraduate students to help them finance their postsecondary education expenses. Four types of loans are offered: Subsidized Stafford Loans for undergraduate students; Unsubsidized Stafford Loans for undergraduate and graduate students; PLUS Loans for graduate students and the parents of dependent undergraduate students; and Consolidation Loans through which borrowers may combine multiple loans into a single loan. For FY2015, ED estimates that 19.1 million loans (not including Consolidation Loans) totaling $101.6 billion will be made to students and their parents through the DL program. Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans are no longer being made; however, approximately $304 billion in outstanding FFEL program loans are due to be repaid over the coming years. FFEL and DL program loans are low-interest loans, with maximum interest rates for each type of loan established by statute. Subsidized Stafford Loans are unique in that they are only available to undergraduate students demonstrating financial need. With certain exceptions, the federal government pays the interest that accrues on Subsidized Stafford Loans while the borrower is enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis, during a six-month grace period thereafter, and during periods of authorized deferment. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans are available to borrowers irrespective of their financial need; and borrowers are responsible for paying all the interest that accrues on these loans. FFEL and DL program loans have terms and conditions that may be more favorable to borrowers than private and other nonfederal loans. These beneficial terms and conditions include interest rates that are often lower than rates that might be obtained from other lenders, opportunities for repayment relief through deferment and forbearance, loan consolidation, and several loan forgiveness programs. This report discusses major provisions of federal student loans made available through the DL program and previously made through the FFEL program. It focuses on provisions related to borrower eligibility, loan terms and conditions, borrower repayment relief, and loan default and its consequences for borrowers. These topics are principally discussed with regard to loans currently being made through the DL program, or made in the recent past through either program. The report also provides detailed historical information on annual and aggregate borrowing limits, loan fees, and student loan interest rates.