In the Federal Direct Loan program, the US Department of Education will supply the loan funds and service the loans after disbursement. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed before applying for a student loan. Federal Stafford Loans are available to eligible undergraduate, graduate, or professional students and may be subsidized or unsubsidized. Repayment of principal is postponed while the student is in school and during a six-month grace period after the student leaves school or drops below half-time hours.
Subsidized Stafford Loans—the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school for at least half time. These loans are based on need.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans—the interest is not paid for by the government while the student is in school. The interest begins when the loan is issued and will accrue while the student is in school. To minimize the interest debt, it is advisable to pay the interest while going to school.
Current interest rates and other helpful information about Direct Stafford loans
The combination of loan(s) and any other aid may not exceed the cost of attendance for the term of the loan. Students are limited to the loan amounts they can borrow in an aid year (fall/spring/summer) and through all their undergraduate and graduate years.
Borrowing limits for full time enrollment is as follows:
- Dependent Undergraduates:
- Freshmen: $3,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized ($5500 total)
- Sophomores: $4,500 subsidized/$2,000 Unsubsidized ($6500 total)
- Juniors & Seniors: $5,500 subsidized/$2,000 Unsubsidized ($7500 total)
- Lifetime or Aggregate limit: $31,000 (maximum subsidized is $23,000)
- Independent Undergraduates:
- Freshmen: $3,500 subsidized/$6,000 unsubsidized ($9500 total)
- Sophomores: $4,500 subsidized/$6,000 Unsubsidized ($10,500 total)
- Juniors & Seniors: $5,500 subsidized/$7,000 Unsubsidized ($12,500 total)
- Lifetime or Aggregate limit: $57,500 (maximum subsidized is $23,000)
- Graduate Students:
- $20,500 unsubsidized
- Lifetime or Aggregate limit: $138,000 (maximum subsidized is $65,000) and includes the debt incurred as undergraduate.