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Federal Stafford Loans

The Federal Stafford Loan is one of the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) programs available through a cooperative effort among lending institutions, educational institutions and guarantee agencies on behalf of the federal government.

Interest rates for Federal Stafford Loans

  • Federal regulations set policies and guidelines, including loan limits and interest rates.
  • Private lenders provide the loan funds.
  • Schools determine student eligibility and certify the qualifying amount of the loan and the loan period.
  • Guarantee agencies ensure the repayment of the loan in the event of a borrower’s default, disability, or death.
  • For details on interest rates click here.


  • Federal Stafford loans can help you meet your educational expenses and they are offered in two forms:
  • Subsidized: Eligibility based on financial need. Loan interest is paid on your behalf by the government while you are enrolled at least half-time and during grace or deferment periods.
  • Unsubsidized: Eligibility is not based on financial need. Loan interest accrues within sixty days of disbursement and can be paid while you are in school, or deferred until you begin repayment. Interest is capitalized and added to the principal amount outstanding, if you choose the deferred option.
  • Deferred repayment.
  • Ability to complete the Master Promissory Note online.
  • Electronic disbursement of funds.
  • Varying repayment incentives, dependent on lender.
  • Flexible repayment plans.


To be considered for a Federal Stafford Loan, you must:

The Federal Stafford Loan Process at USF

Before we can receive funds and disburse them to you, you must:

  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    www.fafsa.ed.govGraphic: Leaving USFAS Indicator
  • Complete the online Entrance Interview. Check OASIS to see if an Entrance Interview is listed under your “Unsatisfied Requirements.”* Leaving USFAS Indicator
  • Accept, decline or reduce your loan amounts through OASIS.
  • If you are a first time student loan borrower you may choose a lender from the drop down menu in OASIS when you accept your loan(s).
  • Lenders on the recommended lender list are selected based on the results of an independent survey.  Lenders included on this meet criteria that most benefit the student borrower.
  • Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) (if you are a new borrower at USF). Our recommended lenders offer electronic MPNs that can be completed from links on our Recommended Lender List.

*Visit our tutorials page if you need help navigating OASIS, choose your area of interest and a short tutorial will run automatically.

Disbursement Process

All payments you owe to the University are charged to your USF student account. Your student account is maintained by the University Controller's Office (UCO). You cannot make deposits or withdrawals on your student account.

  1. All available funds are disbursed to your student account each term after the drop/add period ends.
  2. All charges posted to your student account will be deducted.
  3. If all charges have been paid, you owe the University no money and a credit balance results, the remaining funds will be eDeposited to your personal bank account (if you have subscribed via OASISGraphic: Leaving USFAS Indicator). If you have not subscribed to eDeposit, UCO will mail a check to the local address listed in OASIS.

If your disbursement includes Federal Stafford funds that you do not wish to keep, you have 14 calendar days from the date of the disbursement to see a financial aid counselor to return the funds. If you receive funds from a private loan and do not wish to keep them, contact your lender directly. Federal regulations require the return of funds from uncashed checks to the Federal Student Aid Programs. Sign up for eDeposit in OASIS to avoid this.

Loan Limits for Each Year

The amount you can borrow per academic year is based on several factors, including federal limits, your dependency status and grade level.

Your total financial aid, including Federal Stafford Loans, cannot exceed the school’s cost of attendance. Your USF award offer will include the amount you are eligible to borrow, but you are not required to borrow that full amount. The loan limits indicated in the chart below are the federal maximums that you can receive during two semesters of enrollment. Starting on July 1, 2008 the federal limits increase for some grade levels.

Academic Year Loan Limits


Base Loan

Additional Unsub*

Total Loan




































*For independent students or dependent students whose parent has been denied a PLUS loan.

If you are a dependent student, you cannot borrow more than the base amount unless your parent was denied a Federal PLUS, in which case you may borrow an additional unsubsidized loan up to the total allowed for your grade level.

If you are an independent student, you can borrow an additional unsubsidized loan up to the total allowed for your grade level.

Cumulative Total Loan Limits

Federal regulations set aggregate, or total, loan limits in addition to the annual loan limits. You cannot borrow more than the aggregate loan limit for all subsidized and unsubsidized loans at all schools.

Aggregate Loan Limits




Undergraduate Dependent Students



Undergraduate Independent Students



Graduate Students



*For independent, or dependent students whose parent has been denied a PLUS loan

Loan Payment After School

The chart below gives you an estimate of monthly loan payments. Monitor how much you borrow at the National Student Loan Data SystemGraphic: Leaving USFAS Indicator (NSLDS) to ensure that you don’t reach your aggregate limit before you complete your program.

Sample Repayment Chart

Based on 6.8% interest rate, 10 year repayment period and
a minimum $50 per month payment
If you
You will need
to make per year:*
To Pay this amount
$5,000 $6,905 $50
$15,000 $20,714 $173
$23,000 $31,762 $265
$46,000 $59,382 $495
$55,000 $75,953 $633
$65,500 $90,454 $754
$138,500 $191,263 $1,594

*Recommended annual salary figures are based on 10% of your gross monthly income available for student loan payments. Assumes you are paying your interest for any unsubsidized loans while in school to avoid capitalizing the interest to your final outstanding principle balance.

Graphic: Leaving USFAS Indicator indicates you are leaving the USFAS website
jkrez - 10/11/10