To take out a loan from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Your MPN explains the terms of your loan, so you should keep it for your records.

Master Promissory Note

There are two types of MPNs in the Direct Loan Program: one for Direct Subsidized and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loans (for students) and one for Direct PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate or professional students). 

What is a Master Promissory Note?
When do I sign my MPN?
How do I sign my MPN?

What is a Master Promissory Note?

The Master Promissory Note (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. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s); for instance, it will include information on how interest is calculated, when interest is charged, available repayment plans, and deferment and cancellation provisions.  

Unless your school does not allow more than one loan to be made under the same MPN or you obtain an endorser when borrowing a Direct PLUS Loan, you can take out additional Direct Loans on a single MPN for up to 10 years.

It’s important to understand that when you sign an MPN you’re promising to repay all loans that are made under that MPN. As stated on the MPN, you must repay your loan even if

  • you don’t complete your education,
  • you can’t get a job after you leave school, and/or
  • you didn’t like the education you received.

Before—or at the time of—the first disbursement (payment to you or on your behalf) of your loan(s), you'll receive a disclosure statement that gives you information about any loan that the school plans to disburse under your MPN, including the loan amount, fees, and the expected disbursement dates and amounts.



When do I sign my MPN?

You must sign your MPN before you receive your loan funds.

If you are taking out a Direct Loan, you must sign an MPN under any of the following circumstances:

  • You have never previously signed an MPN for the type of loan you are taking out.
  • Your school requires you to sign a new MPN each academic year (most schools don't require this).
  • You signed an MPN more than one year ago, but no loan was disbursed.
  • You signed an MPN more than 10 years ago.

For Direct PLUS Loans, if we determine that you have an adverse credit history and you obtain an endorser, you may receive only one loan under the MPN that you sign. If you later want to receive another Direct PLUS Loan, you must sign a new MPN. If you sign an MPN and receive a Direct PLUS Loan without an endorser, but are later determined to have an adverse credit history and obtain an endorser for a future Direct PLUS Loan, you’ll have to sign a new MPN for that loan.


Parent borrowers must sign a separate MPN for each student for whom they are borrowing.



How do I sign an MPN?

The financial aid office at your college or career school will guide you through the process, most likely by directing you to to sign the online MPN. However, you also have the option of signing a paper MPN.

To complete an MPN online, you will need a username and password called your FSA ID. If you are a parent completing a Direct PLUS Loan MPN online, you must use your own FSA ID and not your child's FSA ID. 

The entire MPN process must be completed in a single session, so be sure you have enough time before you start. Each MPN takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The MPN process consists of four steps:

  1. Enter your personal and school information.
  2. Enter information about your references.
  3. Read the terms and conditions.
  4. Review, electronically sign, and submit the MPN.

Curious to learn more about the MPN before you sign yours? Read our MPN Frequently Asked Questions.