Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans 

Quick Links:  Applying for Stafford LoansStafford Loan Limits | Stafford Loan Terms | FAQs

Stafford Loans are low interest Federal Direct Loans awarded to eligible students who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must be enrolled in a degree seeking program for at least six credits in any given semester to qualify.

Applying for Stafford Loans

  1. PIN pin.ed.gov
    The PIN is used to electronically sign financial aid documents with the Department of Education including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Master Promissory Notes (MPN). It is also used as a login for Department of Education websites.
  2. Yearly requirements that must be completed by incoming and returning students
    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) www.FAFSA.gov
      Federal Title IV Code: 002104
      The FAFSA is the official application of the Department of Education to determine eligibility for Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), it is also required for Pell Grants, PLUS Loans and all other federal and most state aid. The priority deadline for this form is March 1st (form goes live January 1st) for prospective (even if not yet accepted) and returning students, late submission could cause a delay of funds.
    • Accept Awards - SURFS
      Students receive an email to the University email account (or email listed on their FAFSA for incoming students) once they are awarded aid instructing them to logon to SURFS (also known as SIMSweb) to accept their awards.
    • Borrower Disclosure Form Click here to view and print
      The Borrower Disclosure Form authorizes the Financial Aid Office to process the loans on the student's behalf and contains additional information on the loans.
  3. Entrance Counseling - www.studentloans.gov
    The Department of Education requires all borrowers to complete Entrance Counseling when borrowing for the first time at each institution. This is an online “quiz” that provides information about how student loans work and the borrower’s rights and responsibilities.
  4. Master Promissory Note (MPN) www.studentloans.gov
    The Master Promissory Note (MPN) contains the terms of the loans and is your contract with the Department of Education to repay your loans. Please complete the Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN for Stafford Loans.

 Stafford Loan Limits

Annual Limits

Aggregate Limits

Subsidized1

Unsubsidized

Combined2

Subsidized1

Unsubsidized

Combined2

Dependent Undergraduates

$5,500

$2,000

$7,500

$23,000

$8,000

$31,000

Independent3 Undergraduates

$5,500

$7,000

$12,500

$23,000

$34,500

$57,500

Graduate Students

$0

$20,500

$20,500

$65,500

$73,000

$138,500

Medical & Dental Students

$0

$40,500

$40,500

$65,500

$158,500

$224,000

1If eligible
2
total unsubsidized loan eligibility if student is not eligible for subsidized loans
3these limits also apply to students whose parents were denied Parent Plus Loans

Stafford Loan Terms for the 2013-2014 Academic Year


Subsidized

Unsubsidized

Origination Fee (1.072%)1

Grace Period2

Dependent Undergraduates

3.86%

3.86%

$75.04

6 Months

Independent3 Undergraduates

3.86%

3.86%

$134

6 Months

Graduate Students

N/A

5.41%

$219.76

6 Months

Medical & Dental Students

N/A

5.41%

$434.16

6 Months

1Total fee listed based on full acceptance of loans. Fee applies to loans first disbursed between 12/1/2013 and 9/30/2014. Loans first disbursed between 7/1/2013 and 11/30/13 were subject to a fee of 1.051%. The increase is due to sequestration.
2Amount of time after student graduates, drops below half-time status or leaves schools before first payment is due
3Total fee amount also applies to students whose parents were denied Parent Plus Loans


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: What is the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized?
A: Subsidized Loans do not incur interest until after graduation* while Unsubsidized Loans begin incurring interest upon disbursement. *Please note that Subsidized Loans disbursed before June 30, 2012 do not begin to incur interest until after the grace period ends.

Q: When are the loans disbursed?
A: Loans are disbursed by the Department of Education to the University no earlier than 10 days before the start of classes each semester.

Q: Who is my lender?
A: Beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year the Department of Education is the lender for all Federal Student Loans (Stafford and Plus Loans) as stated in the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Q: What is an origination fee?
A: An amount taken off the top of the loan before the loan is disbursed (Loan Amount – Origination Fee = Amount received by school).

Q: Why is my origination fee higher than in previous years?
A: The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated the upfront origination fee rebate. If you had the rebate in previous years please do remember that the rebate must be repaid if you do not make your first 12 consecutive monthly payments on time (within six days of date due).

Q: Why was my loan split?
A: Loans are split evenly between Fall & Spring semesters for all students, depending on the program it is possible students could have their loans split into three between Summer, Fall & Spring semesters.

Q: Why are graduate students no longer considered for Subsidized Loans?
A: The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated Subsidized Loans for Graduate and Professional Students. You are still eligible for the full Stafford Loan amount but now the entire amount is Unsubsidized.

Q: I am an undergraduate student, why was I not offered Subsidized Loans?
A: Subsidized Loans are need-based loans and are awarded based on the results of the FAFSA. The counselors must compare the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA to the total Cost of Attendance (COA) and other need-based aid received to see if the student has eligibility for Subsidized Loans.

Q: If I don’t accept the awards this year, can I still get awarded next year?
A: Yes, awards are based on that year’s FAFSA not on what was accepted last year. Please do note that awards are not guaranteed to stay the same from year-to-year and can vary greatly based on changes in students' need, changes in funding and changes in regulations.

Q: Why was I not offered the full amount I was eligible for?
A: There can be many reasons for this. (a) You listed the wrong year in school on your FAFSA and were therefore awarded with the lower amount. Please correct your FAFSA and contact your counselor. (b) You have reached your aggregate limit in Stafford Loans. (c) You have reached your total Cost of Attendance.

Q: How often does interest accrue?
A: Interest accrues daily starting on the day of disbursement (day the funds are released by the Department of Education). In a typical Fall & Spring academic year this means that interest begins on the first half of the loan in late August (for most programs) and on the entire loan in mid-January (for most programs).

Q: How can I calculate the amount of interest that is accruing on my loan?
A: To determine what your accruing loan interest is on a daily basis you divide your interest rate (converted to decimal) by 365.25 (number of days in a calendar year) this gives you the Interest Rate Factor. Then multiply the Interest Rate Factor by your outstanding principal balance. This is the amount of interest that is accruing daily. The interest rate factor for a 5.41% Stafford Loan is 0.00014811773.