Stafford Loan Limits

 
 

The following chart illustrates the annual and aggregate loan limits for the Direct subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014.

The limits may be a little confusing because there are two sets of limits for the Stafford loan: a combined base limit for the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loan, and an additional limit for just the unsubsidized Stafford loan.

In effect, the subsidized Stafford loan is limited to the amounts in the "Combined Base Limit" column and the unsubsidized Stafford loan is limited to the amounts in the "Total Limit" column minus the amount of any subsidized Stafford loans.

Many students combine subsidized loans with unsubsidized loans to borrow the maximum amount permitted each year.

Note also that there are separate limits for dependent undergraduate students, independent undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and medical school students. Dependent undergraduate students whose parents have been denied a Parent PLUS loan are eligible for the higher unsubsidized Stafford loan limits available to independent undergraduate students.

Annual Loan Limits - Stafford Loan

Dependent Students (whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan) Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
First-Year Undergraduate (Freshman) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second-Year Undergraduate (Sophomore) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate (Junior, Senior) $5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Preparatory Coursework (for enrollment in an undergraduate program) $2,625 $0 $2,625
Preparatory Coursework (for enrollment in a graduate or professional program) $5,500 $0 $5,500
Teacher Certification Coursework $5,500 $0 $5,500
Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
First-Year Undergraduate (Freshman) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second-Year Undergraduate (Sophomore) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate (Junior, Senior) $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Preparatory Coursework (for enrollment in an undergraduate program) $2,625 $6,000 $8,625
Preparatory Coursework (for enrollment in a graduate or professional program) $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Teacher Certification Coursework $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Graduate and Professional Students Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
Graduate and Professional Students 0 $20,500 $20,500
Medical School Students 0 $40,500 $40,500

Aggregate Loan Limits - Stafford Loan

NOTE: As of July 1st 2012 Graduate/Professional Students are no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans.

Student Type Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
Dependent Undergraduate Students (whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $8,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduate Students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $34,500 $57,500
Graduate and Professional Students

(As of July 1st 2012 Graduate/Professional Students are no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans.)
$138,500 $138,500
Medical School Students

(Effective 4/18/08 per DCL GEN-08-04)


(As of July 1st 2012 Graduate/Professional Students are no longer eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans.)
$224,000 $224,000

Stafford Loan Interest Rates and Fees

Congress has passed and the President has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act, interest rates will be determined each June for new loans being made for the upcoming award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

The following table provides the interest rates for new Direct Loans made on or after July 1, 2021, and before July 1, 2022. These rates will apply to all new Direct Loans made during this time, even loans already disbursed before the passage of the Act.

Load Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loan (Undergraduates) 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Undergraduates) 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Graduates/Professional) 5.28%
Direct Plus Loan (Parents and Graduate/Professional Students) 6.28%

Direct Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans currently have an origination fee of 1.057%, which are deducted from the disbursement. Direct Plus Loans currently have an origination fee of 4.228%, which are deducted from the disbursement.