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Federal Direct Stafford (Subsidized/Unsubsidized) – Student Loans


Federal Direct Stafford Loan FAQs:

Help-32Am I eligible for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan?

To be eligible for a Federal Direct Stafford loan, you must satisfy a number of requirements, including (but not limited to):

  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Be registered with the Selective Service (men only)
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or eligible non-citizen

Help-32What kinds of Federal Direct Stafford loans are available?

There are two kinds of Federal Direct Stafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized loans are for Undergraduate students only and are need-based, meaning they’re reserved for students who have demonstrated financial need on the FAFSA. Also, the government pays the interest on a subsidized Direct Stafford loan as long as you’re enrolled at least half time and during periods of deferment. After that, the interest is your responsibility.

Unsubsidized loans are not need-based, meaning they’re available to all eligible students regardless of how much financial help they need. You’re responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized Direct Stafford loan as soon as UConn receives the money. You can choose to pay the interest while you’re still in college or defer interest payments until you graduate. If you choose the second option, the interest that accrues while you are in-school will capitalize (be added to your principal balance) when you enter repayment.


Help-32As a first time borrower at UConn, how do I accept a Federal Direct Stafford Loan?

You must go to the Student Administration System to accept the Federal Direct Stafford Loan. Beginning in May, your loan will be electronically transmitted to the U.S. Department of Education. You will then receive an email from our office with instructions regarding completion of the Master Promissory Note (MPN). You will also receive instructions from our office on completing the entrance counseling requirement. Loan funds will not be deferred on your fee bill or disbursed to your student account until you complete the MPN and the entrance counseling requirement, which details the terms and conditions of the loan.

Note for Transfer Students: If you previously borrowed a Federal Direct Stafford Loan through the Direct Loan Program, you will not need to complete a new MPN. If you previously borrowed a Federal Stafford Loan through a bank or private lender, you will need to complete a new MPN for the Direct Loan Program.


Help-32As a continuing borrower at UConn, how do I apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan?

When you accept a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, our office will electronically transmit your requested loan amount to the U.S. Department of Education. Once you have completed your Federal Direct Stafford Loan MPN, you will not be required to complete a new MPN in future years. In order to keep track of your loan debt, it is important to pay attention to your award notices and disclosure statements from your Direct Loan Servicer.


Help-32How much can I borrow?

Dependent Students

The amounts listed below are the maximums a dependent undergraduate student may borrow each year. However, a student may never borrow more than the cost of education minus any other financial aid received.

Grade Level Base Amount * Additional Unsubsidized Amount
Freshman (0-23 credits) $ 3,500 / year $ 2,000 / year
Sophomore (24-53 credits) $ 4,500 / year $ 2,000 / year
Junior (54+ credits) $ 5,500 / year $ 2,000 / year

* The base amount may consist of Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, or a combination.

Independent Students

If you are a dependent student whose parents have applied for, but were denied a PLUS Loan, or if you are an independent undergraduate student, you may be eligible for an additional Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan amount. However, a student may never borrow more than the cost of education minus any other financial aid received.

Grade Level Base Amount * Additional Unsubsidized Amount
Freshman (0-23 credits) $ 3,500 / year $ 6,000 / year
Sophomore (24-53 credits) $ 4,500 / year $ 6,000 / year
Junior (54+ credits) $ 5,500 / year $ 7,000 / year

* The base amount may consist of Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, or a combination.

Transfer Students: Initial awards will be based on your projected academic level as determined by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Based upon a final credit assessment, your academic level may change. The change may result in a revision to your original financial aid package. Loan funds may not be disbursed until the final credit evaluation is complete.

Graduate Students: Maximum $20,500 Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan

Effective with the 2012/2013 award year, Graduate students are no longer be eligible to borrow Subsidized loans due to the Budget Control Act of 2011.


Help-32When will I receive my Federal Direct Stafford Loan funds?

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are disbursed to your student account in two payments: one for the fall semester and one for the spring semester. To expedite the disbursement of your loan funds, you should complete your semester registration as early as possible, and be sure that you have submitted all required paperwork and completed all requirements.


Help-32Can I borrow a Federal Direct Stafford Loan for Summer?

Summer Federal Direct Stafford Loan eligibility is based on remaining eligibility after Fall/Spring borrowing and in accordance with annual loan limits. To be considered for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, you must have filed a FAFSA for the previous academic year.


Help-32What is required when I leave UConn?

Each Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrower at the University of Connecticut is required to complete Exit Counseling shortly before completing a degree, leaving the University (i.e., withdrawing) or dropping below half-time enrollment.

To complete this requirement, click here.

If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact our office at 860-486-2819 for further guidance from a member of our client services staff. You will not be able to obtain an official academic transcript or be readmitted to the University until you complete this requirement.


Help-32Are there any fees?

The U.S. Department of Education charges a 1.073% origination fee for Federal Direct Stafford Loans with a first disbursement date on or after 10-1-2014.  This fee is deducted from the loan by the U.S. Department of Education before the proceeds are credited to the student’s University account.


Help-32Where can I find information about repayment, deferment, or cancellation?

The U.S. Department of Education’s “Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt” brochure  provides information on repayment, as well as deferment and cancellation options. To learn more click this web link.

To help estimate your monthly repayment amount, a loan repayment calculator is available here.

If your federal student loan debt is high relative to your income and family size, you may be eligible for the new Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan. You can use the Federal Department of Education’s IBR calculator to estimate if you would likely benefit from the IBR plan. Additional information is available at http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/IBRPlan.jsp.

Additional information is also available on our website at repaying your federal student loans.


Help-32What happens to the interest on my loan if I’m on active duty?

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The HEOA adds a new provision to section 455 of the HEA to provide that interest will not accrue on the Direct Loan of an eligible military borrower for a period of not more than 60 months. For this purpose, an eligible military borrower is one who is:

(1) serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency; or

(2) performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency; and serving in an area of hostilities in which service qualifies for special pay under section 310 of title 37, U.S.C.

This benefit applies to any eligible military borrower whose service includes August 14, 2008, or begins on or after that date. This benefit applies to Direct Loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2008, and any portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a Direct Loan first disbursed on or after that date. FFEL-only borrowers are authorized under section 428C(a)(3)(B)(i)(V) of the HEA to consolidate their loans in the Direct Loan Program to receive this benefit. For a Direct Loan borrower who also qualifies for the military service deferment, the borrower’s deferment period and 60-month period of no interest accrual run concurrently.