The unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan is a federal student loan that is not based on financial need. Interest accrues on unsubsidized loans from the time the loan is disbursed by the school. If the borrower does not pay the interest as it accrues, it is capitalized (added to the loan balance). The interest is not paid by the federal government. This is the key difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.
(A comparison of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans discusses other differences between subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans.)
The unsubsidized Federal Stafford loan limits in this table are overall Federal Stafford loan limits . The loan limits are reduced by the amount of any subsidized Federal Stafford loans received by the student.
|Undergraduate Grade Level||Dependent Student||Independent Student|
|Juniors, Seniors and Beyond||$7,500||$12,500|
Graduate and professional students may borrow up to $20,500 per year and $138,500 total ($224,000 for certain medical school students) in unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans.
In certain circumstances, dependent students may be able to qualify for an increased amount of Federal Stafford Loans, the same loan limits as independent students. Qualifying circumstances include:
Unsubsidized student loans are not need-based funds. Because of this, they are available to most federal aid recipients, regardless of financial circumstances. Even wealthy students may qualify. To receive these loans, students must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree or certificate program, not be in default on any existing federal student loan and meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid.
The application process for unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans is the same as for subsidized Federal Stafford loans. The student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After the application is complete, the school’s financial aid office will send the student an award letter, detailing the amount and types of aid available.
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