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Federal Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford Loans require a completed and correct FAFSA and other requirements. These loans are not based on the your credit history unless you previously defaulted on another federal student loan or owe money for an over-award on a federal grant. There are two types of loans available:

1. Subsidized Stafford Loans
This is a low-cost option to help undergraduate students supplement the cost of their education. If qualified, you may be eligible for up to $5,500 depending on financial need and grade level (see chart below). Even though interest accrues on this loan, the federal government pays it while you are enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program. You have a six-month grace period after graduation, or enrolling less than half-time, before entering the ten year repayment period. Note: Beginning with the 2012-13 award year this loan option is only available to undergraduate students.

Read the new law for First-Time Borrowers effective on or after July 1, 2013: Time Limitations on Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility .

2. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
This option is available to both undergraduate and graduate students and it is not based on financial need. Graduate students may be eligible for up to $20,500 per academic year and undergraduate students may be eligible for up to $12,500 per academic year (see chart below). Interest accrues at the time of disbursement. Typically, students defer the accrued interest until after they go into repayment in a process called "capitalization;" however, this will increase the balance of your loan. We encourage students to set up quarterly interest payments with their lender if possible.

Doctoral students majoring in Clinical Psychology are eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan of $12,500 for a 9-month academic year or $16,667 for a 12-month academic year.   Students in this program are also eligible for higher aggregate loan limits for their subsidized and unsubsidized loans. (see chart below).

Interest Rates
The interest rates on your Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are based on the dates the loans were disbursed. All Stafford Loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2006 have a variable rate that is adjusted annually. Loans disbursed after July 1, 2006 until June 30, 2013 have a FIXED interest rate based.

All loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 will have a "variable-fixed" interest rate based on financial markets at the time of disbursement. "Variable-fixed" means that interest rates are variable based on financial markets annually; however, the interest rate for a specific award year will be fixed for the life of that loan. For information on the current rates, please visit the our Federal Interest Rates page.

 

Annual Limits
for Stafford Loans
Subsidized Total
(Subsidized &
Unsubsidized)
Dependent - Undergraduate Students
First Year (0 to 29 credits) $3,500 $5,500
Second Year (30 to 59 credits) $4,500 $6,500
Third Year & Beyond (60+ credits) $5,500 $7,500
Independent - Undergraduate Students
First Year (0 to 29 credits) $3,500 $9,500
Second Year (30 to 59 credits) $4,500 $10,500
Third Year & Beyond (60+ credits) $5,500 $12,500
Graduate & Professional Studies N/A $20,500
Psy. D. Students N/A $37,167

 

 

 

Aggregate Limits
for Stafford Loans
Subsidized
Total
(Subsidized &
Unsubsidized)
Dependent - Undergraduates $23,000 $31,000
Independent - Undergraduates $23,000 $57,500
Graduate & Professional Students N/A $138,500
Psy. D. Students N/A $224,000

 

 

LOAN ELIGIBILITY
In order to qualify to receive a student loan (Stafford or private), a student must be enrolled and attend classes/submit assignments on at least a half-time basis, regardless of the stage of his/her program. Half-time is defined as follows:

 

Minimum number of credits for loans: Fall Spring Summer
Undergraduate 6 6 6
Graduate Students 5 5 3
Doctoral Students 3 3 3

 

If a student plans on dropping below these levels, he/she should contact Central Financial Aid before making any final decision or submitting paperwork. Your counselor will review with you the effects of dropping below half-time status on your loan eligibility.

The total loan amount a student is eligible for is based on the following formula:

Cost of Attendance (COA) - Aid (scholarships, etc.) = Total Loan Eligibility

The following formula determines a student's eligibility for a Subsidized Loan:

COA - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - Aid = Subsidized Loan Eligibility

APPLYING FOR AID
Students are encouraged to begin the financial aid application process in conjunction with their admissions application. Although a financial aid award cannot be made until a student is accepted, all necessary paperwork will be on file to expedite the awarding process upon acceptance. Students interested in borrowing a Federal Stafford Loan should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible or when the previous year’s taxes are completed. Central Financial Aid suggests submitting the FAFSA by March 15 to ensure timely processing and arrival of funds for the fall semester.

The FAFSA may be submitted one of two ways. The student may fill out the paper application or complete the FAFSA-on-the-Web. The location of FAFSA-on-the-Web is www.fafsa.ed.gov link opens in a new window. Submitting the FAFSA online greatly reduces the processing time of the application.

Early submission of applications helps to ensure the arrival of funds by the final payment deadline. It also allows for necessary information to be available when Central Financial Aid begins the awarding process.

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Last updated February 29, 2012