Federal Direct Stafford Loans are available to most eligible borrowers who apply for financial aid.

qualification

To be eligible for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half-time;
  • Be enrolled in the number of units indicated in your Financial Aid Summary; and
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward your degree objective.

how to apply

To receive a Federal Stafford Loan, you must first apply for financial aid online at www.fafsa.gov. If you have not yet applied, do so as soon as possible, even if the priority date has already passed.

If you have applied for financial aid, and your Award Summary includes the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, please follow the Next Steps indicated below.

Receiving Your Funds

Complete ALL four steps to obtain your Stafford Loan:

  • Complete the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request form online by logging into My Financial Aid & Documents.  You will find the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form in the Document Library.  
    • Once the Financial Aid Office processes your loan and notifies the Department of Education, we will e-mail you confirmation.
  • Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at www.studentloans.gov.* You will need the Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued to you by the Department of Education when you completed your FAFSA. If you have forgotten your PIN, you can retrieve it through www.studentloans.gov. You will be able to sign your MPN after the Financial Aid Office processes your loan and notifies the Department of Education of your eligibility. You will receive an e-mail reminder at that time.
    • *You will not be required to complete a new MPN if you previously borrowed a Federal Direct Stafford Loan at another school, and your existing MPN is not more than 10 years old.
  • First-time undergraduate and graduate borrowers at USC, as well as new graduate students who borrowed at USC as an undergraduate student, must complete entrance loan counseling online at www.studentloans.gov.
  • First-time undergraduate borrowers must attend an in-person entrance loan counseling session. For a schedule of sessions, please refer to the Mandatory In-Person Entrance Loan Counseling page.

general information

Generally, one-half your loan will be disbursed at the start of each semester.

Federal Origination Fees will be deducted from each disbursement:

  • 1.072 percent for all loans made on or after December 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014

The ten-year repayment period begins six (6) months after you graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment.

For more information, please refer to the Student Loan Advisory.

Interest rates and Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Rates are fixed depending on the student's enrollment status, the type of loan and the date of first disbursement.

Undergraduate Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans:

First disbursed July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014 3.86%

Undergraduate Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans:

First disbursed July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014 3.86%

All Graduate Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans

First disbursed July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014 5.41%


*Changes in federal law prohibit Graduate and Professional Students from receiving Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans for enrollment periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012.

“Subsidized” means the federal government pays the interest that accrues on your loan while you are enrolled at least half-time, or during a six-month grace period after you graduate, withdraw or drop to less than half-time enrollment. Eligibility for Subsidized Stafford Loans is based on financial need.

After the six-month grace period, you must begin repaying your loan, and you become responsible for the interest.

Note: For Subsidized Stafford Loans first disbursed after July 1, 2012, interest will accrue from the date of the student’s graduation or withdrawal from school. Although payments will not be expected during the six-month grace period,* the federal government will no longer subsidize the interest accrual during grace period.

*If you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

“Unsubsidized” means you are responsible for paying the interest from the time the loan is disbursed. While you are enrolled in school at least half-time, you may defer interest payments and capitalize the interest.

“Capitalization” is the process by which interest is added to the loan balance, increasing the loan's size and cost. To reduce the cost of borrowing, consider making interest payments while you are in school.

Annual Loan Limits for Federal Stafford Loans

The amounts students may borrow annually are based on program of study, academic level and federal dependency status. Please note that Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans are limited by your financial need. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans are limited by your Cost of Attendance, less other aid received.

Most USC Programs use an academic calendar that consists of two terms. Eligible students in these programs regain annual loan limit eligibility after successfully completing two academic terms. Certain graduate/professional programs of study use an academic calendar that consists of three terms. Eligible students in those programs regain eligibility for a new annual loan limit after three successfully completed terms. These programs include but are not limited to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Executive MBA (EMBA), Doctor of Medicine (MD), and Doctor of Dental Science (DDS).

  Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Amount
All Students Dependent Undergraduates (Except Student Whose Parents Cannot Borrow PLUS Loans) Independent Undergraduate
Students and Dependent Students Whose Parents Cannot Borrow PLUS Loans
First-Year Undergraduate $3,500 $2,000 $6,000
Second-Year Undergraduate $4,500 $2,000 $6,000
Third-Year and beyond Undergraduate $5,500 $2,000 $7,000
Graduate Preparatory (i.e., Post-Bacc Pre-Med) $5,500 n/a $7,000
Graduate/ Professional n/a* n/a $20,500
Master of Public Health, Master of Health Administration n/a* n/a $33,000
Pharmacy Students (PHARMD) n/a* n/a $33,000
First-Year Medical Students (MD) n/a* n/a $42,722
Second- and Third- Year Medical Students (MD) n/a* n/a $47,167
Fourth-Year Medical Students (MD) n/a* n/a $42,722
First-, Second-, and Third-Year Dental Students (DDS) n/a* n/a $47,167
Forth-Year Dental Students (DDS) n/a* n/a $40,500
International Dental Students (DDS) n/a* n/a $47,167

*Changes in federal law prohibit Graduate and Professional Students from receiving Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans for enrollment periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012.

GRADUATING SENIORS ATTENDING ONE SEMESTER

If you plan to graduate after attending a single semester this academic year, you will be eligible for only prorated amounts of Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. The proration is based on the number of units you will attempt in that final semester.

  Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Amount

Enrollment Level/Number of Units

All Students

Dependent Undergraduates (Except Students Whose Parents Cannot Borrow PLUS Loans)

Independent Undergraduate Students and Dependent Students Whose Parents Cannot Borrow PLUS Loans

Half-time – 6

$1,375

$500

$1,750

¾ time – 9

$2,062

$750

$1,875

Full-time – 12

$2,750

$1,000

$2,500

Students with course loads greater or less than the number of units shown above should submit a written appeal to request an adjustment to their financial aid package. Please visit Special Circumstances - Package Adjustment for more information.

Aggregate Loan Limits for federal Stafford Loans

The figures in the table below are the total loan amounts students may borrow for their entire academic careers, based on academic level and federal dependency status.

Dependency and Program of Study Subsidized Stafford Maximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford
Dependent Undergraduates $23,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduates $23,000 $57,500
Graduate/Professional Students $65,500 $138,500
Certain Health Profession Students (MD, DDS, MHA, MPH) $65,500 $224,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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