Cup Loan Program: A Complete Guide

Cup Loan Program

Are you searching for a way to finance your public facility project? Do you need an affordable, flexible, and easy-to-apply-for loan? Look no further than the Cup Loan Program.

What is the Cup Loan Program?

The Cup Loan Program, also known as the Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) Loan Program, is a loan program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It provides financial assistance to public facilities for their construction and renovation needs. These facilities include schools, libraries, hospitals, fire stations, and community centers, among others.

How does the Cup Loan Program work?

The Cup Loan Program offers low-interest loans to public facilities for construction, renovation, or improvement projects. These loans help enhance the facilities and services provided by public entities. For example, schools can use the funds to upgrade classrooms, libraries, or science labs. Libraries can improve their collections, technology, or reading spaces. Hospitals can upgrade medical equipment, expand facilities, or improve patient care. Fire stations can purchase new equipment or renovate their facilities. Community centers can enhance recreational spaces, improve technology, or create new programs.

Cup Loan Program Details

When considering the Cup Loan Program for your public facility project, keep the following details in mind:

1. Loan Purpose:

The Cup Loan Program can finance a variety of public facility projects, including construction, renovation, and improvement. Whether you’re building a new library or upgrading a hospital’s equipment, as long as your project meets eligibility requirements and benefits the rural community, it can qualify for the program.

2. Maximum Loan Amount:

Public facilities can receive a maximum loan amount of $10 million through the Cup Loan Program. However, the actual loan amount depends on factors such as project size and scope.

3. Interest Rates and Repayment Terms:

The Cup Loan Program offers low-interest rates, typically lower than commercial lenders. With repayment terms of up to 30 years, public facilities have ample time to repay the loan.

What are the benefits of the Cup Loan Program?

The Cup Loan Program offers several benefits to public facility borrowers, including:

  • Favorable low-interest rates compared to commercial lenders
  • Long repayment terms of up to 40 years, making payments more manageable
  • Flexible use of funds for various public facility needs
  • No prepayment penalties or application fees
  • Customizable loan terms tailored to your project’s requirements
  • No collateral or credit score requirements
  • Easy application process with technical assistance provided

Who is eligible for the Cup Loan Program?

The Cup Loan Program is open to public facilities that meet the following criteria:

  • Located in a rural area with a population of fewer than 20,000 people
  • Owned and operated by local government or non-profit organizations responsible for providing public services
  • Serving an eligible rural area with a median household income below 80% of the state’s non-metropolitan median income
  • Demonstrating financial feasibility and repayment ability

Eligible public facility borrowers include school districts, library districts, hospital districts, fire protection districts, water and sewer districts, recreation districts, community development corporations, housing authorities, healthcare centers, and senior centers, among others.

How to apply for the Cup Loan Program?

Applying for the Cup Loan Program is a straightforward process:

  1. Contact your local USDA Rural Development office to speak with a loan specialist who will guide you through the application process.
  2. Fill out the application form available on the USDA Rural Development website.
  3. Submit supporting documents such as legal documents, financial statements, feasibility studies, environmental assessments, and engineering reports.

What are the Interest Rates and Terms of the Cup Loan Program?

The interest rates and terms of the Cup Loan Program vary based on market conditions, project size, creditworthiness, and collateral offered. Generally, the program offers low fixed interest rates that range from 2.125% to 3.375% as of January 2023. The repayment period can be up to 40 years, with the option for earlier repayment.

Comparison to Other Loan Programs

While the Cup Loan Program is an excellent choice for public facility projects in rural areas, it’s essential to compare it with other loan programs. Here’s how it stacks up against two popular alternatives:

  1. USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan Program: Similar to the Cup Loan Program, it offers low-interest loans with long repayment periods. However, it’s only available for specific public facility types, such as healthcare and public safety facilities.

  2. HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program: This program focuses on economic development projects in urban areas, not public facilities. The interest rates are higher than those of the Cup Loan Program, making it less attractive for public facility projects.

Cup Loan Program Success Stories

The Cup Loan Program has funded numerous successful projects across rural America, benefiting residents and supporting economic development. Here are some examples:

  1. The Harris County School District in Georgia used a $10 million Cup Loan Program loan to build a new middle school and renovate their high school. The project created jobs and improved the learning environment.

  2. The West Liberty Fire District in Iowa received a $1.4 million Cup Loan Program loan to construct a new fire station. The project enhanced the resources available to firefighters and stimulated the local economy.

  3. The Choteau County Health Department in Montana used a $2.5 million Cup Loan Program loan to renovate their existing building and construct an addition. The project improved healthcare services and generated economic growth.


If you’re a small business owner in a rural area seeking funding for a public facility project, the Cup Loan Program is worth considering. It provides low-interest loans with flexible terms and conditions, helping improve the quality of life and economic development in your community. Be sure to review the program requirements and guidelines to ensure eligibility and assess your ability to repay the loan. By taking advantage of the Cup Loan Program, you can support essential public services and infrastructure, making a positive impact in your rural community.

For more information about the Cup Loan Program or to apply, visit the USDA Rural Development website or contact your local USDA Rural Development office.

Cup Loan Program

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