Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans 

Thumbnail of A Minute to Learn It - Federal Direct Student Loans for Undergrads

Subsidized: A subsidized loan is a need-based loan. The federal government pays the interest on the loan when you are: 1) attending school at least half time [6 units]; 2) qualifying for an authorized deferment.

Unsubsidized: An unsubsidized loan is not need-based and a student who receives an unsubsidized loan is responsible for paying the interest. A student may choose to pay this interest while attending school or choose not to make the interest payments; the interest will be added or capitalized on the principal balance at repayment.

Annual Loan Limits: The chart below indicates the maximum annual loan limits for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, for dependent and independent students based on the academic level.

Dependent Students
Academic Level Subsidized Loan Limits Unsubsidized Loan Limits Total Direct Loan
Freshman <30units $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Sophomore > 30 units $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Independent Students
Academic Level Subsidized Loan Limits Unsubsidized Loan Limits Total Direct Loan
Freshman <30 units $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore > 30 units $4,500 $6,000 $10,500

Repayment Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can help me manage my student loan debt?
    • The Financial Aid Office is dedicated to helping you manage your student loan debt. We are available to help you develop a successful repayment strategy. Contact us at 661-722-6300 ext. 6337
    • If at any time during your student loan repayment you can't make your monthly payment, immediately contact your loan holder to find out about available deferment or forbearance options. If you're not sure who your loan holder is, we can help you find the right contact information.
  • Can I see a summary of my student loans?
    • You can access your loan information by visiting the National Student Loan Data System's (NSLDS) website at https://studentaid.gov
  • I can't make my student loan payments. What can I do?
    • Explain your situation and get help reviewing your options by contacting your loan holder or our Financial Aid Office at 661-722-6300 ext. 6337. You may be eligible for an alternative repayment schedule that will adjust your monthly payment amount, or a deferment or forbearance that temporarily delays your payments.

Delinquency Frequently Asked Questions

  • How did I become delinquent on my student loans?
    • If you continually fail to make payments on a student loan, your loan holder reports the delinquency to the guarantor. You'll get letters and phone calls from both the loan holder and guarantor asking you to contact them to help resolve your delinquency.
  • Why am I getting delinquency notices while I'm in school?
    • You may be getting notices if your loan holder or guarantor is unaware you're in school or you've had a change in enrollment status. You should contact your loan holder immediately to notify them of any changes in your enrollment status such as a school transfer, drop below half-time or change in your graduation date.
  • What's a deferment?
    • Deferment is an authorized period of time during which you may postpone monthly principal and/or interest payments. The federal government makes interest payments on subsidized Stafford loans during authorized deferment periods. You're responsible for interest that accrues on PLUS and unsubsidized Stafford loans during any deferment and has the option of making interest payments to avoid capitalization.
  • What's capitalization?
    • If you don't pay the interest that accrues on your loan while you're in school or during a deferment or forbearance, the unpaid interest is added to the principal balance of your loan. Once the unpaid interest is added, it increases the total amount of your loan and the monthly payment.
  • What's forbearance?
    • Forbearance is an authorized period of time during which a loan holder agrees to temporarily postpone payments or reduce your payment amount if you intend to repay the loan but are having temporary financial difficulties. You're still responsible for the accrued interest during forbearance.
  • What's the difference between delinquency and default?
    • Delinquency occurs when your loan payment is past due or late.

Default occurs when your loan is delinquent for 270 days or more. At that point, the guarantor purchases your loan and is responsible for collecting the debt on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.

Default Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's a defaulted student loan?
    • Loans are considered defaulted when a borrower fails to repay a loan according to the terms agreed upon in the Master Promissory Note (MPN). This usually happens when payment is at least 270 days late. A default can also occur for failure to submit on-time requests for a deferment or cancellation. If a FFELP loan defaults, the guarantor purchases the loan from the loan holder and begins collection
  • What happens when my student loan goes into default?
    • Defaulting on a federal student loan can result in several consequences, which may include:
      • Ineligibility for financial aid or grants until the default is satisfactorily resolved.
      • Taking state and federal tax refunds or other federal payments, to be applied to the loan balance.
      • Wage garnishment.
      • Hold on academic transcripts.
      • Reporting the default to consumer reporting agencies.
      • Capitalization of accrued interest, increasing the loan balance.
      • Assessment of collection costs (approximately 19%) which are added to the loan balance.
  • Who can help me manage my defaulted student loans?
    • The Financial Aid Office is dedicated to helping borrowers repay their student loan debt and reestablish good credit. You can reach a representative by calling 661-722-6300 ext. 6337
  • When is my default reported to consumer reporting agencies?
    • Defaulted loans are reported 60 days from the date of default.
  • Can my federal and state tax refunds be taken?
    • Yes. The money will be applied to the balance of your defaulted loan.
  • How can I get my student loan out of default?
    • You have several options to get your loan out of default status. You can:
      • Make a lump-sum payment to pay the loan in full.
      • Make monthly payments until the loan is paid in full.
      • Make and fulfill a settlement offer.
      • Rehabilitate your loan.
      • Consolidate your loan
  • Why do you keep calling my relatives and friends?
    • After unsuccessful attempts to contact you about your loan, the school, loan holder or guarantor will contact the relatives and friends whose information you provided when you signed your Master Promissory Note (MPN). To update the contact information you provided, contact your loan holder or our Default Prevention department at 661-722-6300 ext. 6337
  • Can I get a forbearance or deferment if my loan is in default?
    • Defaulted student loans aren't eligible for forbearance or deferment.
  • What's consolidation?
    • Consolidation is a loan program that allows borrowers to combine all of their federal education loans into one loan, make a single monthly payment and extend the repayment period (up to 30 years depending on the loan amount). Consolidation loans can make loan repayment more manageable for borrowers with multiple lenders or high loan balances.
  • Can I consolidate a defaulted student loan?
    • Yes, you can consolidate after you've established monthly repayment and have met the required number of payments.
  • What's student loan rehabilitation?
    • Rehabilitation is a process by which a borrower can bring their student loan out of default by following specific repayment requirements.
  • What's the difference between rehabilitation and consolidation?
    • Rehabilitation brings your loan out of default and updates any consumer reporting agency listings and your loan is purchased by a lender.
    • Consolidation brings your loan out of default by making a new loan with different repayment terms. However, the defaulted loan listing is not completely removed from your credit history with a consolidation loan.
  • If I'm in default, can I get more financial aid?
    • Yes, but only after you've made six consecutive, satisfactory payments on your defaulted student loan. You must continue to make on-time; monthly payments to receive aid while the loan is in default and you must not have ineligible loans.
Last updated: June 16, 2020