Federal loans are borrowed and must be repaid, generally after you have graduated or are no longer in college. Interest rates are usually lower than commercial loans.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled at least half time in a qualified program at a participating school, not in default on a prior student loan, and not convicted of a drug offense while receiving prior federal financial aid. Total aid, including student loans, cannot exceed school’s total cost of attendance (tuition and fees, room and board, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses).
No credit check. FAFSA required. Subsidized loans require financial need; unsubsidized loans are available regardless of need.
- Dependent students: $5,500 as freshmen (including up to $3,500 subsidized); $6,500 as sophomores (including up to $4,500 subsidized); $7,500 as juniors and seniors (including up to $5,500 subsidized).
- Independent students: $9,500 as freshmen (including up to $3,500 subsidized); $10,500 as sophomores (including up to $4,500 subsidized); $12,500 as juniors and seniors (including up to $5,500 subsidized).
Aggregate Loan Limits:
- Dependent students: $31,000.
- Independent students (undergraduate): $57,500.
3.86% on unsubsidized loans. On subsidized loans, no interest is charged during school and in some deferment periods; in repayment, the rate is 3.86% for undergraduate students.
Eligibility: Available regardless of need to parents of dependent students (Parent PLUS) and to graduate and professional students (Grad PLUS). Credit check must show no delinquencies in the previous 90 days (some exceptions for extenuating circumstances) and no bankruptcy in the previous five years. The credit requirement can be met by a cosigner.
Loan Limit: Total cost of attendance minus other financial aid. No aggregate maximum.
Interest Rate: 6.41% in the Direct Loan Program
Origination Fees: 4.204-4.288%