Loans

How much can I borrow?

There are limits on the amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit.  These limits vary depending on:

  • Your level of standing (year) in school, and
  • Whether you are a dependent or independent student.

If you are a dependent student whose parents are ineligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, you may be able to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.  The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Year

Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

Freshman (0-31 Credits)

Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Sophomore (32-56 Credits)

Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Junior and Beyond (57+ Credits)

Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Graduate or Professional Students Annual Loan Limit

Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent)

$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit

$31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$138,500 for graduate or professional students—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

Notes:

  • The aggregate loan limits include any Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans you may have previously received under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. As a result of legislation that took effect July 1, 2010, no further loans are being made under the FFEL Program.
  • Effective for periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Direct Subsidized Loans. The $65,500 subsidized aggregate loan limit for graduate or professional students includes subsidized loans that a graduate or professional student may have received for periods of enrollment that began before July 1, 2012, or for prior undergraduate study. 

If the total loan amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you are not eligible to receive additional loans. However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.

To apply for a Direct Loan, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even though the unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to all students regardless of financial need, you must still submit the FAFSA to be eligible. You can receive a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan for the same period.

Federal Direct Loans

The Direct Loan program is comprised of the Subsidized Direct Loan and the Unsubsidized Direct Loan:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students only.
    • Students must demonstrate financial need
    • Generally, no interest is charged when the student is enrolled at least half time, during the grace period or during deferment periods
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
    • Students do not need to demonstrate financial need.
    • Interest is charged during all periods

To apply for a Direct Loan, you must first submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

*Even though the Unsubsidized Direct Loan is available to all students regardless of financial need, you must still submit the FAFSA to be eligible. 

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Direct PLUS loans are available to graduate and professional students; as well as parents of dependent students. Here’s a quick overview of Direct PLUS Loans:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is the lender
  • The borrower must not have an adverse credit history
  • The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received
  • Interest is charged during all periods
  • Borrowers may request deferment while the student is enrolled at least half time and for additional six months after the student ceases to be enrolled half time

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans help bridge the gap between the actual cost of the student’s education and the amount of financial aid received. Alternative loans are offered by private lenders and there are no federal forms to complete. However, you will need to notify your Financial Aid Advisor once you are approved for an alternative loan and inform them which lender you chose. Interest rates and repayment plan options vary by lender, it is important to explore all available financial options prior to finalizing your financial aid package.