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Stafford Loans: Notice: You must complete a FAFSA before applying for a Stafford Loan! If you don't want to do a FAFSA or know that you won't qualify for federal aid, apply for an alternative student loan instead!

How Much Can I Borrow?
The maximum amount that a student may borrow under the Federal subsidized Stafford Loan is based on his or her grade level. First year students may borrow a maximum of $2,625. Second year students may borrow an additional $3,500 while juniors and seniors may borrow $5,500 each year. Graduate and professional students may borrow $8,500 per year under the subsidized Stafford Loan. Because of limited grant funds, most colleges will award every student who completes the FAFSA a Stafford Loan as part of their aid package.

There is also the Federal unsubsidized Stafford Loan which is available to most every student, regardless of their income. A family can earn $300,000 a year and the student may still borrow an unsubsidized Stafford Loan as long as he or she is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, is enrolled at least half-time at a school that is eligible to participate in the Stafford Loan program, the student does not have a drug offense, is not in default on a previous federal educational loan and does not owe a repayment on a federal grant, and the student is making satisfactory academic progress as defined by his or her school.

Type of 
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3-5
Dependent Undergraduates $2,625 $3,500 $5,500 $23,000
Independent Undergraduates $6,625 $7,500 $10,500 $46,000
Graduate Student - Subsidized Loan $8,500
(sub and unsub)
Graduate Student - Unsubsidized Loan $10,000
(sub and unsub)

Certain health professions students may borrow more then the graduate student limit above, up to $38,500 per year.

        Interest Rates
  • Interest rates for the 2005-06 award year for loans disbursed after July 1, 1998 are 4.70% during in-school, grace and deferment and 5/30% during repayment

    Loan Fees

  • Origination Fee up to 3%
  • Guarantee Fee up to 1%

A student who does not demonstrate financial need for the subsidized Stafford/Direct Loan may still borrow the same amounts under the unsubsidized Stafford/Direct Loan ($2,625 to $8,500 as noted above). However, a dependent student cannot borrow more than the maximum award amount under both the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan programs, combined. For example, a freshmen student may demonstrate financial need for $1,000. In that case, the student could borrow $1,000 under the subsidized Stafford Loan and $1,625 under the unsubsidized Stafford Loan for a total of $2,625, the maximum amount for a first-year dependent student.

Independent students (those who were born before January 1, 1980 for the 2004-05 school year or who are married, have and support a child, will be graduate or professional students, are qualified veterans of the military, are orphans or were a ward of the court before age 18, or who have special circumstances that can be documented) are eligible for an additional amount each year through the unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

Independent students who are in their first two years of undergraduate study may borrow up to $4,000 beyond the normal amounts listed above. Juniors and seniors who are independent may borrow up to $5,500 more than the amounts listed above while graduate and professional students (law and medicine) may borrow an additional $10,000 through the unsubsidized Stafford Loan each year. Some medical students may borrow a maximum of approximately $37,500 per year if their school participates in the Health and Human Services (HHS) programs. However, a student cannot borrow or receive any form of financial aid greater than his or her total estimated cost of attendance as determined by the college's financial aid administrators.

The cumulative, aggregate amount a dependent undergraduate student may borrow under the Stafford Loan is $23,000. Independent undergraduates (or those whose parents are denied the PLUS) may borrow an additional $23,000 or $46,000 total through the unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford Loans combined. Graduate students may borrow a cumulative aggregate total of $138,500 through undergraduate and graduate school, including the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans. For graduate students, no more than $65,500 may be borrowed under the subsidized Stafford Loan. For graduate students, these totals include Stafford Loans received while undergraduates. A select number of medical students who borrowed under the old Health Professions Student Loan program (HPSL) may borrow an additional amount if their school participated in the HPSL program. Contact an experienced financial aid administrator at your college for more details.

It is likely that Stafford/Direct annual and cumulative loan limits will increase upon passage of the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act during 2005.



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