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Financial Aid / Student Financial Services

Federal Stafford Loan Program

A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed before applying for a student loan

Stafford loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. No interest is charged before repayment begins or during authorized periods of deferment. An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. Interest will be charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. A student may receive both types for the same enrollment period.

Complete your Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loan application and entrance interview online!

Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans

  • The federal government pays interest on the borrower's behalf
  • while she/he is in school
  • in her/his grace period
  • during authorized periods of deferment of repayment.

Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

  • Are available to students who do not qualify, in whole or in part, for Subsidized Federal Stafford loans.
  • The terms for unsubsidized loans are the same as the terms for subsidized loans, except that the federal government DOES NOT pay interest on the borrower's behalf.
  • The interest may either accrue while the student is in school, and then be added to the loan balance, or the borrower may begin making interest payments after the first loan check is disbursed.
  • The borrower is responsible for paying interest during her/his grace period and during authorized periods of deferment of repayment.

Interest Rates:

The interest rate is fixed for loans borrowed on or after July 1, 2006.  Loans borrowed before this date had a variable interest rate, adjusted annually on July 1, with a cap of 8.25%. A fee of up to 4% will be deducted from each disbursement. Repayment begins six months after graduation or separation from the University, or when enrollment status falls below half-time. There is a ten year repayment period. Deferment and repayment options are available; contact your Student Financial Services Counselor for more information.

Annual Borrowing limits for Dependent Undergraduates:

  • $5,500 ($3,500 subsidized) Freshmen (0-43 units) 
  • $6,500 ($4,500 subsidized) Sophomores (44-87 units) 
  • $7,500 ($5,500 subsidized) Juniors, Seniors & Fifth-year students 

Annual Borrowing limits for Independent/Graduate & Professional Students:

  • $9,500 ($3,500 subsidized) Freshmen (0-43 units)
  • $10,500 ($4,500 subsidized) Sophomores (44-87 unites)
  • $12,500 ($5,500 subsidized) Juniors, Seniors & Fifth-year students(88 or more units)
  • $20,500 ($8,500 subsidized) Graduate & Professional students

Aggregate Borrowing limits (maximum life-time):          

  • $31,000 ($23,000 subsidized) Dependent Undergraduate Students
  • $57,500 ($23,500 subsidized) Independent Undergraduate Students
  • $138,500 ($65,500 subsidized) Graduate & Professional Students (includes undergraduate loans)

When Does Repayment Begin?

Repayment begins after the grace period expires. The grace period for most borrowers is six months and begins when the student leaves school or falls below half-time status.  Students who borrow an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan may choose to begin payment of the interest immediately, or they may choose to defer payment until they leave school.  In the case that the student does not pay the interest while in school, the interest will be capitalized at some point before the student enters repayment.


Federal regulations require lenders to make at least two disbursements of all Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans. For students enrolled in more than one quarter in a particular aid year, the loan will be disbursed in roughly equal installments for each term.  For students enrolled in only one term, the first disbursement is usually made by the second week of the term, and the second disbursement is made on or after the midpoint of the term.

To ensure prompt delivery of loan funds, borrowers should submit loan applications well in advance to allow for processing the applications and to give the lender time to disburse the funds. Complete and sign a Stafford Loan Acceptance form (SLAF) in order for the federal funds to disburse on to your student account.

FRESHMAN BORROWERS will not receive the first disbursement of a Stafford Loan until 30 days after the first day of enrollment as per Federal Regulations.  Students should arrive with sufficient funds to cover the cost of their books and personal expenses for the first 30 days of the quarter.