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Federal Stafford Loan

What is a Federal Stafford Loan?

The Federal Stafford loans are the most widely available loan program. Federal Stafford loans feature a fixed low interest rate that adjusts annually and is capped at 8.25%. There is also an origination fee which is a percentage of the total loan amount. There are two types of Stafford Loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized

  •  Subsidized
    • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
    • Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
    • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan
      • while you’re in school at least half-time,
      • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
      • during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).
  • Unsubsidized
    • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
    • Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
    • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. 
    • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

Who is Eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan?

U.S. Citizens, nationals or permanent residents who are enrolled as a matriculated student in an eligible program.

How do I Apply and are there any Deadlines?

You will need to complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine eligibility. The FAFSA filing priority deadline is March 1st of the prior academic year for which you are applying.

Students who file after the March 1st priority deadline may not be considered for certain limited institutional and/or federal campus based funds.

Complete Entrance Counseling & Sign Master Promissory Note after accepting Award.

Complete Exit Interview upon graduating.

Annual & Aggregate Limits


Maximum Subsidized

Additional Unsubsidized 

Combined (Subsidized & Unsubsidized) 

Dependent Undergraduate  $23,000  $8,000  $31,000
Independent Undergraduate  $23,000  $34,500  $57,500


  Base Amount Aggregate Limit
Medical Students $42,722 $224,000
Graduate Students $20,500 $138,500
Public Health $33,000