Stafford Loan Programs

Graduate Students

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 percent 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 interest occurred totaling $1,039.

Borrowing Limits

The subsidized aggregate limit for graduate/professional students in $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 and fees for the 2015-2016 academic year are:


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

Before you begin:
The FSA ID has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN as the credential with which students, parents, and borrowers authenticate their identity to access their federal student aid information online and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to the FAFSA.
***Attention MAC users, you must use Internet Explorer or Firefox as 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.***
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.

Complete your 2015-2016 Stafford Loan Certification
To finalize the loan process you must complete and return this loan certification to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Attention Graduate/Part Time Undergraduate Students

Per Federal regulations, You MUST be enrolled/registered for at least 6 credits per term/semester in order for your Federal Stafford Loan or your Federal Grad Plus loan to disburse. Please remember that when you complete your Confidential Information form you will be indicating which terms/semesters you will be taking courses. Your loan disbursements will be divided by the terms you state on the form. Each of the terms/semesters you will be taking courses, you must maintain at least Half Time enrollment or at least 6 credits in order for your loan disbursements to be in compliance with Federal Regulations. This includes the Late Spring/Summer semesters. If you fail to maintain at least Half time enrollment your loan disbursements will be canceled.

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.