Student Loan Limits For Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans


   
Dependent Students
(except students whose parents cannot borrow a PLUS loan)
 
 
Independent Students
(and students whose parents cannot borrow a PLUS loan)
 
Graduate and Professional Students
 
 
1st year
 
$5,500
Maximum of $3,500 in subsidized loans
 
 
$9,500
Maximum of $3,500 in subsidized loans
 
$20,500
unsubsidized only*
 
 
2nd year
 
$6,500
Maximum of $4,500 in subsidized loans
 
 
$10,500
Maximum of $4,500 in subsidized loans
 
 
Same as above
 
 
3rd – 5th years (each)
 
$7,500
Maximum of $5,500 in subsidized loans
 
 
$12,500
Maximum of $5,500 in subsidized loans
 
 
Same as above
 
Maximum total Stafford debt upon graduation
 
$31,000
Maximum of $23,000 in subsidized loans
 
 
$57,500
Maximum of $23,000 in subsidized loans
 
$138,500
unsubsidized only*
 
 
*As of July 1, 2012, subsidized loans are no longer available to graduate and professional students.



Filling the Financial Aid Gap

After calculating your financial need, financial aid administrators determine how much aid they are able to offer you. Sometimes your school of choice may offer an aid amount that is less than your financial need. This is called the financial aid gap (sometimes referred to as unmet need). You can help bridge that gap with:
  • Tuition plans and employment opportunities. Offered by most colleges and universities, tuition plans break up payments into monthly installments for a minimal participation fee. Students may also find jobs on campus through employment opportunities that are not related to Federal Work-Study. The financial aid office or career services office should be able to direct you to the appropriate employment office on your campus.
  • Private loan programs. Offered by banks, credit unions, and private non-profit lenders to provide additional funds to meet the cost of education once other sources of aid have been depleted or when the annual limits have been reached. The borrower may be the parents or the student; however, these credit-based loans may require a co-signer who is equally liable for the loan. State and non-profit lenders often offer private loans with interest rates lower than PLUS or Graduate PLUS loans, and with lower or no fees. If you are considering a private loan, ask your financial aid office for recommendations and choose a reputable lender that offers excellent customer service and default-prevention services.
 


 

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Student Loan Limits






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