Federal Stafford Loan

This federal program provides low-interest loans to students attending college at least half time. Loan applications are certified by the campus financial aid offices and funded through private lending institutions.


Undergraduate students may qualify for subsidized Stafford Loans, which are based on need. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while students are attending college at least half time. This subsidy continues for six months from the date a student graduates, drops out or drops below half-time enrollment status.


Students may also qualify for unsubsidized Stafford Loans, which are not based on need. The borrower is responsible for the interest under this loan option.

In some cases, a student may have both a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan.

Dependent students in the first year of a program of study may borrow up to $5,500, while second-year students may borrow up to $6,500.

Students are classified first-year for student loan purposes until earning 30 credit hours pursuant toward an eligible program of study. Independent students may have higher loan limits.

The maximum amounts undergraduates may borrow during their college program are $31,000 for dependent students and $57,500 for independent students.

Borrowers are subject to a fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent for subsidized stafford loans and 6.8 percent for unsubsidized stafford loans.

The financial aid office will inform student borrowers of the type of loan for which they are eligible (subsidized, unsubsidized or a combination of the two). 

Students should contact the financial aid office to make sure they have a clear understanding of their own specific loan situation.

The financial aid director on each campus may refuse to certify a Stafford loan or certify a loan for less than the requested amount. This must be done on a case-by-case basis according to the guidance provided by federal regulations. The reason(s) for the decision will be provided to the student in writing upon request.

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Written by Tricia Stephens   
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 21:17