Federal Direct Stafford Loans


Federal Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. See a Plain Language Disclosure for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are offered to students with financial need.

  • You are not charged interest while you're in school at least half-time, during grace periods, or deferment periods
  • If you receive a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period
  • If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are NOT based on financial need.

  • Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full
  • You can pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (added to the principal amount of your loan)
  • If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount

Loan eligibility is determined by completing the FAFSA.

Offered loans are initially calculated based on full-time enrollment. If you attend less than full-time during any term, your Cost of Attendance and financial aid award amounts will be adjusted. This could result in reduction or removal of loans or other financial aid.

Loan limits are determined by grade level and prior borrowed amounts.

Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) - For any new student who had no prior student loan indebtedness, you must complete your program within 150% of the credit hours it takes to complete the program. If you go beyond 150%, you will lose the interest subsidies or your Subsidized student loans and interest will accrue as though it were an Unsubsidized student loan.

There is a small loan fee charged prior to funds being received at SPC.

Interest is charged on Stafford loans.

Students who will be graduating at the end of fall term will have their Federal Direct Stafford and Federal Direct PLUS loan amounts adjusted based on enrollment during the fall term. This will limit the amount of loans you may borrow in your final term.

Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at any time. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within 14 days of receiving the loan.

Use this printable document to help you understand the Federal Direct Stafford Loan terms and application process.

Stafford loans

Select the Stafford Loan Program playlist for answers to the following questions:

  • What types of Federal Direct Student loans are available?
  • What is a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan?
  • What is the difference between a subsidized and an unsubsidized loan?
  • What is the interest rate on a Federal Direct student Loan?
  • What are my Federal Direct Student Loan limits?
  • Is a credit check required to receive a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan?
  • What is the 150% Loan Limit Rule regarding federal direct subsidized loans?

Master Promissory Note (MPN) Tutorial

Select the Master Promissory Note (MPN) Tutorial to find out more information on the MPN

  • How do I complete the Master Promissory Note for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans?