Federal Stafford Loans
Federal loans are both subsidized (government pays the interest while student is enrolled at least six hours) and unsubsidized (government does not pay the interest while the student is enrolled at least six credit hours.) Students must be matriculated and taking at least six credits each semester to be eligible for Stafford loans. The interest rates for all Stafford loans are variable, but they don't exceed 8.25 percent for students or 9 percent for parents. Students are required to have entrance counseling before receiving Stafford loans and undergo exit counseling for graduation or withdrawal. The counseling is available online.
Additional Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
undergraduates whose parents are not eligible to borrow a Parent PLUS
loan and independent undergraduate students are allowed to borrow
additional unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans. Annual loan amounts
vary according to grade level: freshman-$4,000; sophomore-$ 4,000;
junior and senior-$5,000.
Federal Parent PLUS Loans
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is a flexible option for
parents looking to help pay for school costs. Loans are available to
parents of dependent students at a fixed interest rate of 8.5%. Maximum
loan amount available is the annual cost of attendance minus financial
aid. Repayment of principal and interest begins within sixty days after
full disbursement of the loan unless the parent has requested an
in-school deferment from the lender.
Alternative/Private Loan Programs
lenders offer private education loans, with different terms and
interest rates available to students who are credit worthy or who apply
with a credit worthy co-signor. These loans are non-need based and most
of them can be deferred while the student is in school. Interest rates
and terms vary according to credit worthiness.
Federal Loan Limits
Freshmen (up to 29 credit hours) may borrow up to $3,500 if they’re enrolled in a program of study that is a full academic year. Sophomores (30-59 hours) may borrow up to $4,500 if the remainder of their program is a full academic year. Juniors (60-89 hours) and seniors (90 plus hours) may borrow up to $5,500 if the remainder of their program is one academic year. Higher loan limits in the form of an unsubsidized loan are available for dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain Federal PLUS Loans and for independent students.
You can find more information about these programs at the federal government's student aid Web site.