Stafford Loan Overview

Stafford Loans are a major form of self-help aid for students. Depending on the school you attend, your Stafford Loans may be made either through the Direct Loan Program or through the FFEL Program.

If you’re a dependent undergraduate student you can borrow annually up to

  • $2,625 if you’re a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year.
  • $3,500 if you’ve completed your first year of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year.
  • $5,500 if you’ve completed two years of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year.

If you’re an independent undergraduate student or a dependent student whose parents are unable to get a PLUS Loan, you can borrow annually up to

  • $6,625 if you’re a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year (only $2,625 of this amount may be in subsidized loans).
  • $7,500 if you’ve completed your first year of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year (only $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans).
  • $10,500 if you’ve completed two years of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year (only $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans).

If you’re a graduate or professional student:

  • For graduate and professional students, the combined annual loan limit for subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans is $18,500 ($8,500 can be subsidized loans). The maximum for the subsidized Federal Stafford loan is $65,500. The maximum for a combination of both unsubsidized and subsidized Federal Stafford loans is $138,500.

Additional rules covering Federal Stafford Loans:

  • Interest rates are capped at 8.25%
  • You have up to 25 years to repay, although 10 years is the norm.
  • Payment begins 6 months after you graduate or are enroled on less than a half time basis.

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