Stafford Loan Information
- Fixed interest rate - as low as 3.4%
- No payments while in school at least half-time
This page will provide you with general Stafford Loan Information, and educate you about the Federal Stafford Loan Program.
Stafford Loans are federal student loans made available to college and university students to supplement personal and family resources, scholarships, grants, and work-study. Nearly all students are eligible to receive Stafford loans regardless of credit. Stafford loans may be subsidized by the U.S. Government or unsubsidized depending on the student's need.
Stafford Loan Information: Benefits
- Low fixed interest rate - Stafford loan rates for the 2012-2013 school year are as low as 3.4%
- Increased borrowing limits - up to $20,500 per year depending on degree status and years in school
- No payments while enrolled in school
- Acceptance not based on credit
Stafford Loan Information: Eligibility
You must be a U.S. citizen or national, a U.S. permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen accepted for enrollment or attending a school that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Additionally:
- You must have submitted a FAFSA to be eligible for a Stafford loan
- For subsidized Stafford, you must have financial need as determined by your school
- You must be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time
Stafford Loan Information: Fees
Stafford loans that have been disbursed on or after 7/1/2010 carry a 1.0% origination fee.
Stafford Loan Interest Rates
|Academic Year||Subsidized Rates||Unsubsidized/Graduate Rates|
Current Stafford Loan interest rates in effect from 07/01/2012 to 06/30/2013
*Subsidized interest rates are set to increase from 3.4% to 6.8% unless Congress acts by July 1, 2013. Stay up-to-date on interest rate changes and get the latest Stafford loan news at StudentLoanNetwork.com.
Stafford Loan Limits
|Dependent Students||Annual Loan Limits|
|First Year||$5,500 ($3,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)|
|Second Year||$6,500 ($4,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)|
|Third Year and Beyond||$7,500 ($5,500 subsidized/$2,000 unsubsidized)|
|Independent Students||Annual Loan Limits|
|First Year||$9,500 ($3,500 subsidized/$6,000 unsubsidized)|
|Second Year||$10,500 ($4,500 subsidized/$6,000 unsubsidized)|
|Third Year and Beyond||$12,500 ($5,500 subsidized/$7,000 unsubsidized)|
|Graduate or Professional||$20,500 ($8,500 subsidized/$12,000 unsubsidized)|
|Undergraduate Dependent||$31,000 (Up to $23,000 may be subsidized)|
|Graduate or Professional||
$138,500 (Up to $65,000 may be subsidized)
or $224,000 (for Health Professionals)
|For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008.|
Stafford Loan Information: Dependency Status
The FAFSA form explains the conditions by which a student is considered to be independent student. If you qualify for independent student status it means your parents financials are not included on your FAFSA. Unless you are a Graduate student, or have children of your own, it is unlikely that you are an Independent student.
The following FAFSA dependency questions, taken directly from the FAFSA Form, determine your dependency status. If a student can answer yes to any of these, the student is independent.
- Were you born before January 1, 1990?
- At the beginning of the school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
- As of today, are you married? (Answer "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced.)
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the academic year (July 1-June 30)?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you??
- At anytime since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- Are you, or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence at the time you received the determination?
- Are you, or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence at the time you received the determination?
- Has your high school or school district homeless liaison determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- Had the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- Has a director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you are an independent student and should learn how to maximize your financial aid package. Otherwise, you must use your parent's information on the FAFSA and other financial aid forms.
The amount you can borrow is based on your grade level and your status as a student. Independent students may be eligible to borrow more because they are paying for college without assistance from family.
It is important to note that even if a student is financing their education on their own, dependency status is still determined by the school.
Based on your award letter, you may not always qualify for the maximum Stafford Loan amount. For additional loan funding, consider private student loans which allow you to borrow up to the total cost of education less other financial aid received. After graduation, consider your student loan consolidation options.