The cost of going to college can be daunting sometimes. With so many expenses, from tuition to textbooks, it can be hard to pay for loans. Luckily, the federal government offers student loans that make paying for college a little easier.
What is a Stafford Student Loan?
A Stafford student loan is awarded by the Department of Education. These loans have low interest rates, and do not require the borrower to be creditworthy.
What types of Stafford Loans are there?
- Subsidized- A subsidized Stafford loan is the most favorable type of student loan. It has very low interest rate, which is currently capped at 3.4%. Additionally, the borrower does not have to worry about interest accumulating on the loan during the deferment period.
- Unsubsidized- A subsidized Stafford loan has a little bit of a higher interest rate, which is currently at 6.8%. During the deferment period, interest does begin to accumulate on this loan, so by the time a student is done with their education they will have more debt than they initially took out.
How do I qualify for a Stafford Student Loan?
In order to qualify for a Stafford Student Loan, you must fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. This, as the name suggests, is free and is relatively easy to fill out.
- A subsidized loan is awarded to students based on their demonstrated financial need.
- A subsidized loan is awarded to students not on the basis of financial need.
What are the borrowing limits for Stafford student loans?
Stafford student loans have limits on how much a borrower can borrower in a year and over the course of their education altogether. This is dependent on what type of Stafford loan you qualify for, what year in college you are, and whether you are considered a dependent or an independent borrower.
- Dependent first year students can borrow up to $5,500 in Stafford loans. Up to 3,500 of those loans can be subsidized.
- Dependent second year students can borrow up to $6,500 in Stafford loans. Up to 4,500 of those loans can be subsidized.
- Dependent third and fourth year students can borrow up to $7,500 in Stafford loans. Up to $5,500 can be subsidized loans.
- Independent first year students can borrow $9,500 in Stafford Loans. Up to $3,500 of those loans can be subsidized
- Independent second year students can borrow up to $10,500. Up to $4,500 of those loans can be subsidized.
- Independent third and fourth year students can borrow up to $12,500. Up to $5,500 of those loans can be subsidized.
- Undergraduate dependent students can borrow up to $31,000, with $23,000 of those loans being subsidized.
- Undergraduate independent students can borrow up to $53,000, with $23,000 of those loans being subsidized.
- Graduate students may borrow up to $138,500, with $65,000 coming from subsidized loans. The only exception is that health professionals can borrow up to $224,000.