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Federal Stafford Loan Limits

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The Department of Education sets annual and aggregate (i.e. lifetime) limits of the amount of debt a student can obtain from the federal government. The chart below summarizes the current limits for the Federal Stafford Loan.

Borrowing Tips

  • Before borrowing, it is important to consider how much you need. Remember, all loans must be repaid. Use a loan payment calculator to investigate how much your monthly payment may be if you decide to accept loans.
  • You can review your student loan balances at the National Student Loan Data System. You will need your federal PIN to access your information.
  • Monitor your Direct Stafford Federal aggregate and annual loan limits. Once your limit is reached, you will not be eligible to receive any additional Federal Stafford Loans. If you exceed your loan limits, your award could be reduced or cancelled after you have received the funds.

 

Years Dependent Undergraduate Student Independent Undergraduate Student* Graduate/Professional Student
1st Year/Freshman
(0 - 24 credits)
$5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $20,500†
2nd Year/Sophomore
(25 - 55 credits)
$6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
3rd Year/Junior
4th Year/Senior
(56+ credits)
$7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Maximum Total Debt from
Stafford Loans When You
Graduate (i.e., your aggregate
loan limits)
$31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $138,500†
*Also applies to dependent undergraduate students whose parent was denied a PLUS loan and post-baccalaureate students.† As of the 2012-2013 academic year, subsidized loans are no longer awarded to graduate students.