Maximum Allowable Loan Amounts For Federal Stafford Loans
Students borrowing a Federal Stafford loan, including subsidized and/or unsubsidized, are subject to the following loan limits:
- Annual Maximum Loan Limit: Restricts the total amount of Stafford loans that may be borrowed during a single academic year .
- The combined total cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid or the maximum academic year amount allowable by law, whichever is less.
Please note: First-time undergraduate borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, have a limit on the period of time they may receive subsidized Stafford loans. The time period is measured in academic years.
The maximum annual amount you can borrow in federal subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan is determined by your grade level and dependency status. Learn more about your dependency status by visiting our Dependency Status Page.
Annual Maximum Loan Limits
Whats The Difference Between Direct Subsidized Loans And Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need may be eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans. The college determines the amount you can borrow, which cant exceed the students financial need.
With a Direct Subsidized Loan, the federal government pays the interest while you are enrolled in school at least half time, as well as for the first six months after you graduate or stop attending school. They also cover interest payments if you choose to postpone your payment with a loan deferral.
Borrowers who received a Direct Subsidized Loan on or after , must pay interest that accrues during the six-month grace period after leaving school. Borrowers who choose not to make interest payments will see the interest added to their loan balance.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to students, even if they cant demonstrate financial need. The school determines the total amount of money a student can borrow, based on the total cost of attendance and other financial aid.
Types Of Federal Loans
Before addressing the total amount that graduate students can receive, it should be noted that there are specific types of loans available to them. Lets look at direct subsidized vs. direct unsubsidized loans.
Graduate students cannot receive direct subsidized loans. Those loans are only available to undergraduate students who show financial need. If students took out these loans as undergraduates, that amount will be included in the lifetime limit of federal loans theyre allowed to receive.
For direct unsubsidized loans, the limit is $20,500 a year. All graduate or professional students are considered independent for this loan. Unsubsidized loans arent dependent on students demonstrating financial need. The schools will decide how much students receive based on their annual costs and how much aid theyre receiving from other sources.
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What Variables Impact The Amount Of Federal Student Loans I Can Qualify For
Federal student aid has loan limits to help curb the potential for over-borrowing to fund ones education. However, these limits can be impacted by other sources of financial aid, including any scholarships received, grants, or private student loans. Federal student loans are reduced based on these factors, and for nearly all students, the amounts available are far less than private student loans.
Also, your dependency status, your year in school, and your enrollment status will impact how much federal financial aid you can receive through subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Each of these factors influences what you are eligible to receive and may dictate your need for supplemental financing through private student loans or other funding sources.
Is There An Amount To Borrowing Student Loans
To assess how much you need, look at the school-certified cost of attendance, and find out exactly whats included in that number. Then, make a list of your other expenses. Beyond the room, board, tuition, and books, you need to consider costs such as flying home for Christmas break, renting an apartment in the summer, a laptop, going on a study abroad program, or any other expenses youre likely to incur while in college.
Then, consider which of these expenses are genuinely essentials and which you can do without. Before borrowing too much money, consider the value of your degree. In many cases, borrowing student loans to get the education you need to launch your career is a lucrative move in a financial sense. However, you dont want to borrow tens of thousands of dollars and finish college with a degree that doesnt lead to a career.
Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.
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How Does Repayment Work
When applying for a Parent PLUS Loan, you can request a deferment while your child is in school. In this case, you wont have to start making loan payments until they leave school, graduate, or drop below half-time enrollment.
However, its important to mention that you need to request a deferment if this is what you want. Otherwise, youll be responsible for making payments as soon as the loan is fully disbursed.
Parent PLUS Loan borrowers can choose from the standard repayment plan, the graduated repayment plan , or the extended repayment plan . Generally speaking, Parent PLUS Loans arent eligible for income-driven repayment plans, but the exception is that if you consolidate the loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they could be eligible for the Income-Contingent Repayment plan, which limits the monthly payment to a certain percentage of your discretionary income.
If youre having trouble repaying a Parent PLUS Loan, you may be able to request a deferment or forbearance to temporarily reduce or stop your loan payments.
Direct Subsidized And Unsubsidized Federal Student Loan Limits
Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are capped at $31,000 through four years of an undergraduate education if youre a dependent student. As an independent undergraduate student, you can borrow up to $57,500 towards your undergraduate degree.
Dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to $5,500 as a first-year student, depending on financial need. Independent students, or those whose parents have been denied a direct PLUS loan , can borrow up to $9,500 per year. For each of four years of school, you can borrow an additional $1,000 every academic year. Regardless of whether or not you depend on your parents, only $23,000 of your federal student loans will be subsidized.
Additionally, you cant borrow more than the schools cost of attendance. Students can only receive direct subsidized loans during a maximum eligibility period. This is equal to 150% of the published length of the degree program. For example, you can only take out loans for six years if youre enrolled in a four-year bachelors program.
Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in federal loans each year. You can borrow a maximum of $138,500 as a graduate student, but that figure includes money youve borrowed as an undergraduate, too. All federal loan programs available to graduate students are unsubsidized.
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William D Ford Federal Direct Student Loan
In the Direct Loan program, the U.S. Department of Education is the lender for your student loan. There are two types of student loans in the Direct Loan program subsidized and unsubsidized. These loans are not based on your credit rating/score and do not require a credit check.
- The Direct Subsidized Loan is based on need. Interest on the Direct Subsidized Loan does not accrue while you are in school and during your grace period.
- The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on need. Interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan does accrue once the loan is disbursed.
Loan Request Process: If you were not initially awarded a Federal Direct Student Loan and are interested in requesting one, or if you were only awarded a Subsidized loan and would like to request an Unsubsidized loan, you must complete and submit the online Federal Direct Loan Request Form.
|Students who will be offered aSubsidized loan automatically:
|Students who need to submita loan request form:
Federal Student Loans For Undergraduates
When you attend an undergraduate or certificate program, you will likely submit a FAFSA form to see what federal aid you qualify for. Your financial aid package will include federal student loans if needed.
- First year undergraduate annual loan limit: $5,500, with no more than $3,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Second year undergraduate annual loan limit: $6,500, with no more than $4,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Third year and beyond undergraduate annual loan limit: $7,500, with no more than $5,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Total loan limit: $31,000, with no more than $23,000 of this in subsidized loans
If you are an independent undergraduate student, or if your parents are unable to obtain federal PLUS loans on your behalf, then the loan limits are as follows:
- First year undergraduate annual loan limit: $9,500, with no more than $3,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Second year undergraduate annual loan limit: $10,500, with no more than $4,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Third year and beyond undergraduate annual loan limit: $12,500, with no more than $5,500 of this in subsidized loans
- Total loan limit: $57,500, with no more than $23,000 of this in subsidized loans
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Dip Into Your Emergency Or Retirement Savings
Although its never ideal to spend your savings, sometimes its necessary. If you have an emergency fund, you could use some of this money to cover tuition. Just make sure to work on replacing what you took out.
If youve been in the working world for a while, you could tap your retirement savings for tuition. For example, if youve had a Roth IRA open for more than five years, you can withdraw contributions for your education penalty- and tax-free.
Think long and hard before you do so, however. The best thing to do with retirement investments is to let them sit and grow.
Federal Direct Plus Student Loan Limits
Direct PLUS Loans work very differently than other federal student loans. While the other loan types dont require credit checks, PLUS Loans do. And, they have different rules for how much you can borrow.
Instead of having an annual or aggregate limit, PLUS Loans allow you to borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance minus other financial aid you received.
While the ability to borrow more is a major perk, keep in mind that PLUS Loans have the highest interest rate of any federal loan. If you are a parent borrowing to pay for your childs education, you may want to refinance Parent PLUS Loans later to reduce your interest rate.
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How Much Can You Borrow
First, consider a Direct Subsidized Loan. Subsidized federal loans are simple to obtain, usually less expensive than PLUS or private loans, dont require a or cosigner, and have built-in protections and repayment options that unsubsidized, PLUS, and private loans don’t have. Subsidized federal loans are available for undergraduate students only. Unsubsidized federal loans can be taken out by both undergrads and graduate/professional students.
Private Student Loan Lifetime Limits
If you choose to borrow private student loans, your annual and lifetime limits can vary by lender . That said, the annual limits typically cannot exceed the cost of attendance at your school.
The total cost of attendance is a number determined by your school and typically includes tuition and fees, on-campus room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and dependent care.
As for lifetime limits , it may depend on whether youre an undergraduate student or a graduate student. Some private lenders may offer higher limits if youre doing an MBA or going to law or medical school, for example.
Some lenders have just one limit for all loans. But in some cases, you may even see two lifetime limits: one for loans through the private lender and one for total federal and private loans.
So, if youre considering borrowing from a private lender, ask about their loan limits before applying to make sure you get the funding you need.
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If Parents Refuse To File The Fafsa
If a dependent undergraduate students parents refuse to complete the FAFSA , the colleges financial aid administrator may allow the student to borrow additional Direct Unsubsidized Loans despite the incomplete FAFSA. The student, however, will not be eligible for the Direct Subsidized Loan, the Federal Pell Grant, or other forms of federal student aid.
Plus And Grad Plus Loan Limits
When federal Stafford Loans are not enough to cover the full cost of attendance, graduate-level students may qualify for a Grad PLUS Loan and parents of an undergraduate student may qualify for a Parent PLUS Loan.
Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans differ from Stafford Loans in that they are only available to graduate-level students and parents of students who do not have an adverse credit history.
The loan limits for Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans also differ from Stafford Loans. There is no annual limit as a set dollar amount, but students or parents may not borrow more than the total cost of attendance, less any other financial aid received.
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Maximum Student Loan Amount For Graduate/professional Students
There is also a borrowing limit on federal loans for graduate or professional school. The loans borrowed during undergrad are included in the total loan amount.
Graduate/professional students can borrow up to $20,500 annually. The total amount of federal student loans a graduate/professional student can borrow is $138,500. No more than $65,500 of Direct Subsidized loans can be borrowed.
The maximum amount of PLUS loans that can be borrowed by parents or graduate students is equal to the schools cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid that was received.
If a student reaches the maximum amount of federal loans borrowed, they are not eligible for more. The only way to borrow more loans is to pay off some of your debt to bring it below the limit.
Is It Possible To Get No Money From Fafsa
If you completed the FAFSA and didnât receive financial aid, there a could be a few problems you need to address. You did not complete the correct FAFSA. If youâre selected to complete verification, itâs required that you provide your financial aid office additional information before they can award you financial aid.
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Federal Direct Student Loan Limits
The U.S. Department of Education sets borrowing limits for the Direct Lending programs as indicated in the table below. HCC has the right to deny any loan request based on such factors as unwillingness to repay, borrowing history, and academic progression. To view your previous borrowing history, please go to “My Federal Student Aid” to view your NSLDS information.
Undergraduate Federal Loan Limits
If your parents financially support you, then youre considered a dependent student. Federal student loan limits for dependents are $5,500 to $7,500 each year, up to a lifetime limit of $31,000.
You may be considered independent if you are over the age of 24, a military veteran or married, or if you financially support yourself. Independent students can borrow $9,500 to $12,500 annually and up to $57,500 total. If youre a dependent undergrad but your parents dont qualify for a parent PLUS loan, you may be able to borrow up to the federal student loan limits for independent students.
|Year in school
|Up to the cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid received
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What About Graduate Or Parent Student Loans
Unlike undergraduate loans, most graduate and parent loans dont have caps on how much you can borrow. Instead, you can borrow up to the total cost of attendance. The one exception is unsubsidized loans for graduate students. The maximum you can borrow with these loans is $20,500 per year, and the aggregate cap is $138,500.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan Limits For Health Profession Students
Health profession students, such as students enrolled in medical school, are eligible for higher Direct Loan limits.
There are two different levels of increased loan limits, depending on the area of study . These limits are available only to health profession students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students enrolled at foreign institutions are not eligible.Health Professions Loan Limits
Some schools may also offer 10-month or 11-month academic programs, which would have different annual limits than those listed here. Check with your schools financial aid office to get the limits for your program.
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