US Federal Direct Loans: Maximum Funding
SFU will determine the loan type(s), if any, and the actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year based on your Cost of Attendance (COA). However, there are limits on the amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit.
The amount of money you can borrow in US Federal Direct student loans depends on your student status. If you are an undergraduate, the maximum amount of Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans you can borrow each academic year is between $5,500 and $12,500, depending on your year in school and your dependency status (whether you are a dependent or independent student). A parent can also borrow a Parent PLUS Loan to help pay for the educational costs of a dependent undergraduate student.
Determining if you are a Dependent or Independent Student
Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
- If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information.
- If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if you’re married, your spouse’s).
The Federal Student Aid programs are based on the concept that it is primarily your and your family’s responsibility to pay for your education. A dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, so the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner. You can review your student status by reviewing this helpful infographic.
Undergraduate Funding Limits (Yearly): Dependent Students
|Dependent Students (except those whose parents cannot borrow PLUS)||Maximum Subsidized Loan (USD)||Maximum Unsubsidized Loan (USD)||Total (USD)|
|Third Year and Above||$5,500||$2,000||$7,500|
Undergraduate Funding Limits (Yearly): Independent Students
|Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents cannot borrower PLUS)||Maximum Subsidized Loan (USD)||Maximum Unsubsidized Loan (USD)||Total (USD)|
|Third Year and Above||$5,500||$7,000||$12,500|
Undergraduate Aggregate Funding Limits
Dependent student: $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which may be subsidized funding)
Independent student: $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which may be subsidized funding). This includes students whose parent(s) are ineligible for Parent PLUS funding.
If you are a graduate/professional student, the maximum amount you can borrow each academic year is $20,500 in US Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. A graduate/professional student is also eligible to borrow a Grad PLUS Loan. The maximum Grad PLUS Loan amount that a graduate/professional student may borrow is the cost of attendance, minus other financial aid received.
Graduate Funding Limits (Yearly)
|Graduate and Professional Students||Maximum Subsidized Loan||Maximum Unsubsidized Loan (USD)||Total (USD)|
*For loans made for periods of enrollment (loan periods) beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. The annual loan limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $20,500, but this amount will now be limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
Graduate Aggregate Funding Limits
|Graduate and Professional Students||Aggregate Limit (USD)|
|The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study||$138,500 (no more than $65,500 of which may be subsidized)|
How to Verify Your Outstanding Loan Amounts (subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS)
You can verify information on your previous loans and/or aggregate loan amounts through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
- If the total you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you will not be eligible to receive additional loans.
- However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.