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Stafford Student Loans

Government Guaranteed, Fixed Rate Student Loan
that covers all or part of your education-related expenses as certified by the institution. Available for both undergraduate and graduate level programs at different loan amounts.
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Federal Stafford Loans:

Summary Overview

summary information
  • loan amounts:
    varies by student grade level: see loan amount chart

  • interest on the loan:
    eligible loan amounts may be subsidized or unsubsidized (depending on the financial need of the student)

  • interest rates:
    fixed for the life of the student loan

  • no restrictions:
    no credit check or co-borrower required

  • stafford student loan processing:
    processed and funded through the college

  • stafford student loan eligibility:
    loan eligibility requirements include HS diploma, approved DOE certified school, and other eligibility requirements: link to view student eligibility

  • stafford student loan terms:
    repayment begins 180 days after graduation or separation from school
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Federal Stafford Loans:

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • No Credit Checks
    since the funds are guaranteed by the federal government, your credit report is not used in qualifying you for the loan: see qualification parameters

  • Low Interest
    federal student loans are fixed rate loans that remain fixed for the entire term of the loan; current rates are lower than most other financing options: view interest rates

  • Flexible Repayment Plans
    student loan payments do not have to be repaid until 180 days after you leave or graduate from school. The federal government offers flexible repayment plans that can fit your budget. You can even consolidate your federal loans into one, low repayment plan: view our affiliated student loan consolidation center for information
  • Low Amount Limits
    the biggest disadvantage of stafford loans is the limited loan amounts — only $3,500 for first-year students. Very small amounts considering the cost of education: see loan limits

  • Requires Federal Filings
    you must file the FAFSA form with the federal government in order to apply for stafford loans. The FAFSA filing is used by colleges to determine your financial aid award: see FAFSA file

  • Multiple Borrowings
    you have to file and apply for a loan each academic year.
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Federal Stafford Loans:

Detail Information

Two types of Stafford Student Loans:

  1. Subsidized student government loans are available to students who display a financial need as determined by the EFC (expected family contribution) formula:

    see Step1: qualifying for financial aid

    Interest on subsidized federal student loans is paid by the federal government while you are in school and for up to six months (called the grace period) after you graduate or leave school.

    Student Loan amount limits will apply:
    see loan chart for amounts

  2. Unsubsidized student government loans are available to any student regardless of family need or income level.

    Interest on unsubsidized federal student loans to be paid by the student after loan funds are disbursed. You will be given the option of paying interest on the loan while in school or deferring interest payments while attending school until 6 months after graduation, withdrawal, or when you drop below half-time attendance status (deferred interest will be capitalized and added to the loan amount upon entering repayment period).

    Student Loan amount limits will apply:
    see loan chart for amounts


To qualify for federal student loans,

You must meet certain criteria: link to view student eligibility

Qualified loan amounts will differ depending on your dependency status: link to view student dependency status


Both subsidized and unsubsidized are fixed rate student loans with an upper limit,

Meaning that the rate will remain fixed for term of the loan. Fixed rates are applicable for all loans disbursed after July 01, 2007.


You may be required to pay processing fees to the lender upon student loan disbursement.

Portion of these fees go the Federal Government and another portion to the guaranty agency to help reduce the cost of issuing the loans.

Generally these fees are deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.


Borrowed funds will be paid directly to your school from the lender or federal government.

Your school will first use the money to pay your tuition and fees. Any remaining loan money is credited to your account or paid to you directly.

You may cancel the loan within 14 days after you receive written notification that funds have been credited to your account. Contact your financial aid office for cancellation terms.


Interest paid on student loans qualify a tax reduction

Borrowers who file tax returns can deduct some of the interest paid on their student loans. Taxpayers who have taken out loans to pay for the cost of attending an accredited college for themselves, a spouse, or a dependent may be eligible for this deduction.


The repayment period is 10 years under one of the following plans:

  • Standard Repayment Plan:
    you pay a fixed amount per month

  • Graduated Repayment Plan:
    you begin payments that are low (equal to the interest accrued) and then increase over time until full repayment

  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan:
    the monthly payments change based upon annual income

  • Extended Repayment Plan:
    allows new borrowers on or after 10/7/98 with a total FFELP debt of at least $30,000 (FDSLP loans offer other repayment terms) to repay their loan (either fixed or graduated) for up to 25 years.

    You can consolidate your loans with extended repayment terms if you qualify. See our affiliated student loan consolidation site.


For more information:

financial aid steps in the application process: reviews the steps required when applying for federal financial aid.

link to the U.S. Department of Education to download the latest version of the Student Guide


start your Stafford student loan application

SayStudent Stafford Student Loans


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Student Loan Application


Disbursement Period:
07/01/06 to present
Stafford Student
(fixed rate)
PLUS Loans
(fixed rate)
Private Student
(variable rate)
see rates
Other Disbursements:
see rate chart
Private Student Loans