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Graduate Student Loan Information

Important Changes in Federal Student Aid for Graduate and Professional Students

NEW!!!  Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, graduate and professional students will need to be enrolled in a minimum of 4.5 credit hours, during a semester, instead of 3 hours to reach half-time status. The definition of half-time status is important in two ways for financial aid purposes:

1). Students must be registered at least half-time to be eligible for federal financial aid (student loans), and

2). Students must be registered at least half-time to qualify for an in-school deferment on their prior federal student loans.

The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 was signed into law on August 2, 2011. This Act makes several important changes to the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program including the loss of subsidized loans for graduate and professional students.

Loss of Subsidized Loan Eligibility for Graduate and Professional Students

Effective for loans made for periods of enrollment (loan periods) beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. The terms and conditions of Direct Subsidized Loans received by any student for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012, for either graduate or undergraduate study, are not affected by this change.

The annual loan limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $20,500, but this amount will now be limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans, as shown in the following chart:

Annual Loan Limits for Graduate/Professional Students

Loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012

Loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012

Subsidized Loan Maximum

Unsubsidized Loan Maximum

Subsidized Loan Maximum

Unsubsidized Loan Maximum

All Graduate and Professional Students

$8,500

$20,500, less any subsidized amount received

$0

$20,500

The aggregate loan limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $138,500, not more than $65,500 of which may be in subsidized loans.

The elimination of subsidized loan eligibility for graduate and professional students does not affect undergraduate student borrowers, who remain eligible to receive Direct Subsidized Loans.