Who Can Get Stafford Loans?

Q: Who can get Federal Stafford Loans?

Nearly all students, regardless of family or personal income, can qualify to receive a Federal Stafford Loan.

To qualify for the Stafford Loan, you will need to be enrolled at least half time as determined by your school and you will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

You can complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov

The FAFSA is free, but you will need help from a parent to complete the online form.

Aside from completing the FAFSA, you must also meet the following requirements:

1. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (for most programs) with a valid Social Security number,

2. Be working toward a degree or certificate,

3. Have a high school diploma, a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or meet other standards your state establishes that meet the high school education requirement,

4. Register with the Selective Service, if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25,

5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school.

Stafford Loans come with low fixed interest rates and are available as either subsidized or unsubsidized loans.
Subsidized Stafford: A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest before you begin repayment or during deferment periods. The federal government subsidizes the interest during these periods.
Unsubsidized Stafford: An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If you allow the interest to accrue (accumulate) while you are in school or during other periods of nonpayment, it will be capitalized. This means the interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan, and additional interest will be based on that higher amount.

Your school will disburse your loan in at least two installments. No installment will be greater than half the amount of your loan.

Your loan money must first be used to pay for your tuition, fees, and room and board. If loan funds remain, you’ll receive them by check or in cash, unless you give the school written permission to hold the funds until later in the enrollment period.

If you are a first-year undergraduate student and a first-time borrower, your first disbursement cannot be made until 30 days after the first day of your enrollment period. That way, you won’t have to repay the loan if you withdraw during the first 30 days of classes. (However, you might owe money to the school for a portion of tuition or other fees.)