Available Loans

If you are interested in applying for a private US student loan, please refer to the information on applying for Private Student Loans.

Loans for graduate students

Until the academic year 2011-12, Direct Subsidised loans were available to graduate students. However, a change to the Direct Loan Program, as part of the US Budget Control Act 2011, specified that graduate students were no longer eligible for Direct Subsidised loans.

 Direct Unsubsidised loan (federal)Direct Grad PLUS loan
(federal)
Private loan
Who is eligible? Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible graduate courses.* Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible graduate courses.* A credit check is required. Most US citizens enrolled on courses the lender considers eligible. Good credit history is likely to be necessary. A co-signer may be required.
How do repayments work? No payments as long as you are enrolled on an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while you are studying. No payments as long as you are enrolled on an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while you are studying. Variable. You should check the terms and conditions provided to you by your lender. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than federal loans. 
When do repayments start? Usually six months (known as the 'grace period') after your course finishes or you become less than half-time. Repayment period begins on the date of the final disbursement. Unless you receive a deferment or forbearance, the first payment will be due within 60 days of the final disbursement date.  Variable. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than for federal loans

*Some courses are not eligible for federal loans. Please read our Eligibility guidelines before starting your loan application.

Loans for undergraduate students

Before completing a loan application, you will need to determine whether you are a dependent or an independent undergraduate and this will establish which loan types and amounts you are eligible to borrow. Definitions are below:

Independent

For the purposes of federal aid, a student is considered independent if he or she meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • the student is at least 24 years old by 31 December of the award year;
  • the student is an orphan or ward/dependent of the court, or was a ward/dependent of the court until he or she reached age 18;
  • the student is a veteran of the US Armed Forces;
  • the student is working on a master's or doctorate programme at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed;
  • the student is married as of the date the FAFSA is completed;
  • the student has at least one child who receives more than half of his or her support from the student; and/or
  • the student has a dependent, other than a spouse or a child, who lives with the student and receives more than half of his or her support from the student at the time the FAFSA is completed and through 30 June of the award year.

Dependent

The student is considered dependent if he or she does not meet any of the preceding criteria for an independent student unless the financial aid administrator determines that the student is independent on the basis of special circumstances and performs a dependency override.

 Direct Subsidised loan (federal)Direct Unsubsidised loan (federal)Parent PLUS loan (federalPrivate loan
Who is eligible? Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible undergraduate courses.* Available to dependent and independent students who demonstrate financial need Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible undergraduate courses.* Available to dependent and independent students who demonstrate financial need. Parents (biological, adoptive, or in some cases, stepparent) of dependent undergraduate students on eligible courses. Both the parent and the student must meet the general eligibility requirements. A credit check is required. Most US citizens on courses the lender considers eligible. Good credit history is likely to be necessary. A co-signer may be required
How do repayments work? No interest or payments as long as you are enrolled on an eligible course at least half-time. No payments as long as you are enrolled on an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while you are studying. No payments as long as student is enrolled on an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while studying. Variable. You should check the terms and conditions provided to you by your lender. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than federal loans. 
When do repayments start? Usually six months (known as the 'grace period') after your course finishes or you become less than half-time. Usually six months (known as the 'grace period') after your course finishes or you become less than half-time. Repayment period begins on the date of the final disbursement. Unless you receive a deferment or forbearance, the first payment will be due within 60 days of the final disbursement date.  Variable. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than for federal loans.

*Some courses are not eligible for federal loans. Please read our Eligibility guidelines before starting your loan application.

Loan limits

Federal loans can usually cover the total cost of fees and living expenses for the duration of your studies. Origination and default fees will be deducted from your gross loan award, and the fees for the Direct PLUS loan can be taken into consideration when requesting how much to borrow.

Origination fees, default fees and interest rates are subject to change. For the latest information on interest rates and fees, please see the Federal Student Aid website.

A Cost of Attendance (COA) worksheet will be completed by the US Loan Officer for all students applying for US loans. This will calculate the loan amount to which you are entitled.

If you are interested in applying for a private US student loan, please refer to the information on applying for private student loans for more details. 

Maximum Direct Stafford Loans at a glance 

Dependent Undergraduate Student
(except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans)
 Initial Subsidized StaffordAdditional Unsubsidized StaffordCombined SUBS & UNSUBS STAFFORD (Maximum) Levels
1st year $3500 $2000 $5500
2nd year $4500 $2000 $6500
3rd year and up $5500 $2000 $7500
Independent Undergraduate Student
(and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans)
1st year $3500 $6000 $9500
2nd year $4500 $6000 $10500
3rd year and up $5500 $7000 $12500
Graduate/Professional
Maximum amount per academic year $0 $20500 $20500
       
  • Dependent Undergraduates     - $23,000 subsidized or with unsubsidized £31,000
  • Independent Undergraduates - $23,000 subsidized or with unsubsidized £57,500
  • Graduate Students - $138,500 (includes undergraduate borrowing) subsidized and unsubsidized

The loan amounts vary depending on whether you are a graduate or an undergraduate:

Maximum Loans for graduate students

 

 Direct Unsubsidised loan (federal)Direct Grad PLUS loan (federal)  Private loan
Maximum amount per academic year  $20,500 Total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA. Total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA.
Lifetime Aggregate loan limit  $138,500 (not more than $65,500 of this may be previous Direct Subsidised loans). No limit Depends on lender.

Your entitlement to loans is explained below and on your government website at studentaid.ed.gov. These are the borrowing limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

A PLUS loan is available to cover the difference between these loans and the full cost of attendance. PLUS loans are only available to parents of dependent undergraduates and to independent graduate students.

Note: Independent undergraduates have no entitlement to a PLUS loan.

Maximum Loans for undergraduate students

Before completing a loan application, you will need to determine whether you are a dependent or an independent undergraduate and this will establish which loan types and amounts you are eligible to borrow. Definitions can be found on the loan types section.

DEP = dependent undergraduate
IND = independent undergraduate
COA = Cost of attendance

 Direct Subsidised loan (federal)Direct Unsubsidised loan (federal)  Parent PLUS loan (federal)Private loan
Maximum amount per academic year

1st Year

$3,500 DEP
$3,500 IND

2nd Year
$4,500 DEP
$4,500 IND

3rd Year and up
$5,500 DEP
$5,500 IND

1st Year
$2,000 DEP
$6,000 IND

2nd Year
$2,000 DEP
$6,000 IND

3rd Year and up
$2,000 DEP 
$7,000 IND
For dependent undergraduate students only. Total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA  Total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA.
Lifetime Aggregate loan limits $23,000 DEP
$23,000 IND
$31,000 DEP (Direct Subsidised and Direct Unsubsidised combined)

$57,500 IND (Direct Subsidised and Direct Unsubsidised combined).
None. Depends on lender.