Federal Loan Limits

"Federal Loan Limits" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 8th January 2012

The maximum amount an undergraduate student may borrow each year is determined by the student’s dependency status—dependent or independent—and by his or her year in school. Dependent undergraduate students may borrow Stafford loans of up to the maximum amounts shown in the chart below. Independent students may borrow the same amounts in subsidized Stafford loans as dependent students, plus an additional $4,000 a year in the first two years of their academic program and $5,000 a year for the remainder of the program, though the unsubsidized Stafford loan program.

Graduate and professional students are financially independent and can borrow up to $18,500 ($8,500 in subsidized Stafford and $10,000 in unsubsidized Stafford) per year. No student can borrow more money than the established cost of attendance at the school he or she attends.

In addition to annual borrowing limits, there are cumulative limits. Dependent undergraduate students may borrow up to $23,000 during their education. Independent undergraduate students may borrow up to $46,000, but only $23,000 of this total can be in subsidized loans. Graduate and professional students may borrow up to $138,500 for their education, including any undergraduate loans, with a maximum of $65,000 in subsidized loans.

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Annual Borrowing Limits in Federal Stafford Student Aid Programs (Aggregate Loan Limits) Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans:

Academic Year Dependent Undergraduate Student* (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Undergraduate Student (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Graduate and Professional Students
First year $5,500 $9,500 $20,500 — no more than $8,500 may be in subsidized loans
             No more than $3,500 may be in subsidized loans
Second year $6,500 $10,500
No more than $4,500 may be in subsidized loans
Third, Fourth and Fifth-Year and Beyond Students $7,500 $12,500
No more than $5,500 may be in subsidized loans
Teacher certification $5,500 $12,500—no more than $5,500 may be in subsidized loans
Total amount you can borrow (Maximum Total Debt From Stafford Loans When You Graduate (aggregate loan limits) $31,000 $57,500
 No more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans $138,500**—no more than $65,500 may be in subsidized loans (includes any Stafford loans you received for undergraduate study)

Primary Sources
Unless otherwise noted, the sources for aid awarded, for student charges, and for student fee revenue are as follows:

Additional Sources

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