Find out what’s available, and determine what you can pay back
There are limits to almost everything in life, including how much you can borrow on student loans. Student loan limits are based on a variety of factors, including the type of loan (federal or private), your year in school, and how much it costs to attend your school of choice.
- The four main types of student loans are Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, Federal Direct PLUS, and private.
- Loan limits are based on type of loan, year in school, and cost of attendance.
- Annual and cumulative limits both impact the amount you can borrow.
It’s important to keep in mind that the maximum amount you can borrow isn’t necessarily the amount you should borrow. You should only borrow as much as you can expect to be able to pay back under the terms of the loan-and the interest rate is part of that calculation. All this makes for a tricky landscape, which starts with knowing what’s available.
Note that as a result of the 2020 economic crisis, the U.S. Department of Education has suspended loan payments, waived interest, and stopped collections. They were expected to resume in early 2022.
How Much Can You Borrow?
In addition to private loans, there are three main types of federal student loans: Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS.
First, consider a Direct Subsidized Loan. Subsidized federal loans are simple to obtain, usually less expensive than PLUS or private loans, don’t require a credit check or cosigner, and have built-in protections and repayment options that unsubsidized, PLUS, and private loans don’t have. Subsidized federal loans are available for undergraduate students only. Unsubsidized federal loans can be taken out by both undergrads and graduate/professional students.
Federal Direct Student Loans
The table below shows the breakdown of the maximum amount you can borrow when taking out Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans. Note that the total for each year, and cumulatively, includes both subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans. If, for example, your subsidized loan total in year one as a dependent undergrad is https://badcreditloanshelp.net/payday-loans-nv/ $3,500, you are limited to $2,000 in unsubsidized loans for that year. If your subsidized total is less than $3,500, the difference between that and $5,500 can be unsubsidized loans.
The amount you can borrow each year and cumulatively as an undergrad is also affected by your parents’ eligibility to help you by taking out a Direct PLUS loan. If they are eligible, the amount you can borrow in your own name is less. If they are ineligible, due to poor credit, for example, you can borrow more. Amounts for independent undergrads also reflect lack of parent support-as do amounts for graduate and professional students, who are always considered to be independent.
The aggregate total for each class of borrower includes all unpaid loan balances for all federal student loans taken. This includes subsidized and unsubsidized FFEL (Stafford) loans, which are no longer available, as well as subsidized graduate level loans dispersed before .
Federal Direct PLUS Loans
Federal Direct PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students, as well as to graduate or professional students enrolled in school at least half time. PLUS loans do not have a cap on the amount that can be borrowed, but you can’t borrow more than the cost of attendance at the specific school you-or your child, if you’re the parents-are attending. Cost of attendance is defined as tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and equipment, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. ? ??