Federal student loans are offered to every student that files the FAFSA. The types and amounts of federal loans you're eligible for are determined by your need level and college grade level. Federal student loans have fixed interest rates, are deferred and can be interest free while you’re enrolled at least half time in a college.

Options
Federal Direct Stafford Loans
Amount
  • $5,500* first year (up to $3,500 subsidized)
  • $6,500* second year (up to $4,500 subsidized)
  • $7,500* other years (up to $5,500 subsidized)
Interest rate

4.66% fixed rate (2014-2015)

Loan fee
  • 1.072% (before Oct. 1, 2014)
  • 1.073% (after Oct 1, 2014)
Repayment

6 months after leaving school or enrolled less than half time

More information

Federal Student Aid website

*Independent students are eligible for an additional $4,000 unsubsidized loan per year.

Federal Perkins Loan
Amount

Up to $2,000 for the first and second year (subsidized)

Interest rate

5% fixed rate (subsidized)

Repayment

9 months after leaving school or enrolled less than half time

More information
Federal Student Aid website
Federal PLUS for Graduate Students
Amount

Up to the cost of attendance, minus other financial aid (unsubsidized).

Interest rate

7.21%

Loan fee
  • 4.288% (before Oct. 1, 2014)
  • 4.292% (after Oct 1, 2014)
Repayment

Can be deferred while student is enrolled at least half time in a college.

More information
Federal Student Aid website

Important terms: "subsidized" vs. "unsubsidized"

Subsidized loans
Under a subsidized loan, the government pays (subsidizes) the interest on the loan while you are enrolled at least half time in a college.
Unsubsidized loans
Under an unsubsidized loan, interest begins accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed into your student account. Payments on the loan (and interest) are deferred while you are enrolled at least half time in a college. However, during this time, interest is still accruing and is being added to the principal balance of the loan. You have the option to pay the interest as it accrues.