Stafford Loan Programs

Subsidized Versus Unsubsidized Loans

Subsidized loans are interest-free while you are in school or otherwise have a deferment (authorized break from payments). As an example, let’s say you spent four continuous years in college, plus two years in graduate school. You have a subsidized loan from your first semester for $1,000 with a 3.86% interest rate. After completing your schooling, you would only owe the original $1,000, thanks to the subsidized nature of the loan. If your loan was unsubsidized, you would owe your loan balance, plus any accrued interest.

Borrowing Limits

The aggregate limit for undergraduate dependent students is a total of $31,000 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized). The aggregate limit for undergraduate independent students and dependent students whose parents cannot borrow PLUS is a total of $57,500 (up to $23,000 may be subsidized). The subsidized aggregate limit for graduate/professional students is $65,500 (this includes undergraduate borrowing). The unsubsidized aggregate limit for graduate/professional students is defined by the U.S. Department of Education.    


If you have consolidated your federal student loans or intend to consolidate after graduation, your subsidized loans will not be affected. Even though you pay via a single check or electronic payment, your unsubsidized and subsidized loans are separated in consolidation in case of future deferments.

Interest Rates & Fees for the 2015-2016 Academic Year


Direct Interest Rate
 Subsidized and Unsubsidized Undergraduate Stafford Loans
1.073% prior to 10/1/15; 1.068% on or after 10/1/15 
Unsubsidized Graduate Stafford Loan
1.073% prior to 10/1/15; 1.068% on or after 10/1/15

Applying for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan 

There are 3 steps to applying for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan. If you are applying for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan for the first time at Sacred Heart University, you will need to complete all 3 steps which will take approximately 25-30 minutes.

Before you begin: You will need your FSA ID (which has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN) and the name, address and phone numbers of two adult references (living in the United States) with different addresses.

*If you have not yet created a FSA ID you may do so here.

Attention MAC Users, you must use "Internet Explorer" or "Firefox" for your browser in order to complete your Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Interview. "Safari" is not compatible with the Dept. of Education's website

STEP 1: Electronically sign your Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
If you would prefer to work with another lender or as a transfer student have borrowed in the past and would like to continue working with that lender, please contact our office for further instruction.

STEP 2: Complete your Federal Direct Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling online
This counseling is a federal requirement and will inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a borrower under the Federal Stafford Loan program.

STEP 3: Download and complete your 2015-2016 Stafford Loan Certification and return it to the Office of Student Financial Assistance in order to finalize the loan process.