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Financial Aid

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

The Federal Direct Stafford loan program allows students to borrow low-cost educational loans from the federal government. To be eligible for a Direct Stafford loan, students must be enrolled at least 6 hours (5 hours for the Graduate College and School of Public Health). Repayment of these loans begins 6 months after students leave school or fall below half time enrollment. There are 2 types of Federal Direct Stafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. For detailed information about Federal Direct Stafford loans, visit the U.S. Department of Education.

Subsidized (Undergraduates Only)

Federal Subsidized Direct Stafford loans are need based loans. They are subsidized in that the federal government generally pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled greater than half-time, but terms do very based upon date the loan was borrowed.

Unsubsidized

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loans are not need based. Interest begins accruing from the date of first disbursement. You can choose to pay the interest quarterly while in school, or you can allow it to accumulate and be capitalized when repayment begins.

Interest Rates

There are a variety of interest rates for Federal Direct Stafford loans, depending on date of disbursement, subsidized/unsubsidized, undergraduate/graduate, fixed/variable rates. The rates can range from around 3%-8%. See complete interest rate information here.

Origination Fees

There is roughly a 1% origination fee for Federal Direct Stafford loans.

Loan Proration for Graduating Borrowers (Undergraduates Only)

The annual maximum loan amount an undergraduate student may borrow must be prorated when the student is enrolled in a program that is one academic year or more in length, but is in a remaining period of study that is shorter than a full academic year.

Loan limit proration determines the maximum loan amount that a student may borrow for a program or remaining balance of a program, not the loan amount that the student actually receives. In some cases, the actual loan amount that a student is eligible to receive (based on costs, EFC, and other aid) may be less than the prorated loan limit.

All loan proration for graduating borrowers will occur after the add/drop period of each semester.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

First time UIC borrowers of Stafford loans must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) agreeing to pay back the loan to the federal government, with interest, according to the terms of the program. You must complete the MPN online here.

Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

Direct Loan Entrance Counseling is REQUIRED for first-time Federal Direct Loan (except Parent PLUS) borrowers. This counseling session and quiz, helps students understand their loan responsibilities. Entrance counseling must be completed prior to any Direct Loan (except Parent PLUS) funds being disbursed to your student account. So please make sure to complete as soon as possible. In order to ensure funds are disbursed by the start of school, this should be completed two weeks prior to the start of the semester in which you plan on borrowing your first Federal Direct Loan at UIC.

Direct Loan Exit Counseling

When you leave school, you will be required to complete Direct Loan Exit Counseling which will give you additional information regarding loan repayment.

Annual and Aggregate Limits

Federal regulations limit the amount of Stafford loans you can borrow each academic year and over your entire student career. Limits are listed in the chart below. Please note that other financial aid resources and cost of attendance restrictions might prevent you from borrowing up to the annual limit in any given year.

Annual Limits for Stafford Loans

 Subsidized Combined Annual Maximum (subsidized & unsubsidized)
Dependent  
Undergraduates  
Freshman (1-29 credit hours)$3,500$5,500
Sophomore (30-59 credit hours)$4,500$6,500
Junior/Senior (60+ hours)$5,500$7,500
   
Independent Undergraduates  
Freshman (1-29 credit hours)$3,500 $9,500
Sophomore (30-59 credit hours)$4,500 $10,500
Junior/Senior (60+ hours)$5,500 $12,500
   
Graduate & Professional Students  
Graduate $0$20,500
Pharmacy, Master of Public Health $0$33,000
Dentistry (DDS & IDP only) $0$40,500


Aggregate Limits for Stafford Loans

 SubsidizedCombined Annual Maximum (subsidized & unsubsidized)
Undergraduates    
Dependent $23,000 $31,000
Independent $23,000$57,500
   
Graduate & Professional Students  
Graduate$65,500$138,500
Pharmacy, Master of Public Health & Dentistry DDS & IDP$65,500$224,000

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