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Financial Aid Office

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded to meet financial need after other resources are subtracted or to the Maximum Allowable Loan Amounts whichever is lower. It is the U.S. Department of Education's major form of self-help aid and is available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The interest rate for 2017-2018 (fall 2017/spring 2018) academic year is 4.45%. Repayment begins 6 months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half time.

As a result of legislation enacted in July 2012, eligibility for the Direct Loan interest subsidy will be limited for new borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. The law restricts the period of time for which a borrower may receive subsidized loans, in the aggregate, to 150 percent of the published length of the student's current educational program. For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor's degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years). Once the student reaches that limit, he or she may borrow only unsubsidized loans, and interest begins to accrue on the student's outstanding subsidized loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on your financial need. It is available to you through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, if your Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) is greater than your financial aid and you have not reached Maximum Allowable Loan Amount through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program. The interest rate for 2017-2018 (fall 2017/spring 2018) academic year is 4.45% for undergraduate students and 6.00% for graduate students. You are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is allowed to accumulate, the interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan and increase the amount to be repaid.

Apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan

To apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, you must complete the FAFSA.

Deadline to Accept 2017-2018 Stafford Federal Loans:

  • 2017-2018 Academic Year Loan Period: May 14, 2018
  • 2017 Fall Only Loan Period: December 11, 2017
  • 2018 Spring Only Loan Period: May 14, 2018

Maximum Allowable Loan Amounts for Federal Direct Loans

Students borrowing a Federal Direct Student Loan, including subsidized and/or unsubsidized, are subject to maximum allowable loan limits. There are limits of which you need to be aware.

  • Annual Loan Limit: Restricts the total amount of Direct Student Loans that may be borrowed annually.
  • Aggregate Limit: Restricts the amount of Direct Student Loans that may be borrowed over a student's college career.
  • The combined total that you may borrow through Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loans cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance (COA) minus other financial aid or the maximum annual amount allowable by law, whichever is less.
  • The annual maximum loan amount an undergraduate student may borrow must be prorated when the student's remaining period of study is shorter than an academic year. A student that is planning to graduate at the end of the fall semester is subject to this requirement.

The maximum annual amount you can borrow in the form of a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan(s) is determined by your class level and dependency status.

Annual Loan Limits - Stafford Loan
Grade Level Dependent Student Independent Student
Freshman: 0-29 credits $5,500 (no more than $3,500, subsidized) $9,500 (no more than $3,500, subsidized)
Sophomore: 30-59 credits $6,500 (no more than $4,500, subsidized) $10,500 (no more than $4,500, subsidized)
Junior/Senior 60+ credits $7,500 (no more than $5,500, subsidized) $12,500 (no more than $5,500, subsidized)
Graduate Student N/A $20,500

* * *

Aggregate Loan Limits - Stafford
Dependent Student $31,000 (no more than $23,000 subsidized)
Independent Student $57,500 (no more than $23,000 subsidized)
Graduate Student $138,500 (no more than $65,500 subsidized)


You will begin to repay your loan at the end of a 6-month grace period that begins when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment (6 units).

Repayment Options

To learn more about repayment options, click here.

You can estimate your monthly payments with various repayment plans by using the repayment calculators available online from the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Web site.

You may consider a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan to simplify repayment by combining loans from the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, the Federal Stafford Loan Program, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program.

If you have questions about repayment or a problem making a payment on your loan, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (1-800-848-0979) will work with you to help you avoid the costs and adverse consequences of delinquency. Deferment and forbearance are options that can help you manage the repayment of your loan.

First Time Borrower Requirement

A Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling session are required for Federal Direct Loans before the loan funds will be disbursed. In most cases, you will only be required to complete one MPN and complete one entrance counseling session during your college career.

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