Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans

Most students who file a FAFSA are awarded a Federal Stafford Loan. A Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS) is available to parents of dependent students.

The Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program provides low-interest deferred-payment loans to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. These funds assist students with educational expenses. Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Interest can be deferred while a student is attending school and enrolled at least half-time.

However, deferred interest is capitalized, or added to the original balance of the loan. If possible, it is best to pay the interest due when the lender sends the quarterly interest statement.


A student must be a US citizen or permanent resident, an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at least half-time, completed a FAFSA, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and not exceeded annual or lifetime aggregate loan limits. No credit check is required.


After graduation from college, dropping below half-time, or leaving school for any other reason, a student receives a 6-month grace period before starting repayment. There are a variety of repayment options and a student may be eligible to postpone payments through deferment or forbearance. Repayment is usually based upon a 10-year plan. In certain circumstances, a person may be allowed up to 25 years for repayment.

Interest Rate and Origination Fee

The interest rate for Federal Stafford loans is variable, but does not exceed 8.25%. The rate is adjusted each year on July 1. An origination fee of up to 3 percent of the loan is charged for Federal Stafford Loans. The fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement received.