Loan eligibility is determined after you complete the FAFSA.

Offered loans are initially calculated based on full-time enrollment. If you attend less than full-time during any term, your Cost of Attendance and financial aid award amounts will be adjusted. This could result in reduction or removal of loans or other financial aid.

Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at any time.

After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within 14 days of receiving the disbursement.

Smart loan choices today – financial freedom tomorrow. Find out more about It’s My Future!, SPC’s free, easy-to-use loan management and planning tools.

Types of Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. See a Plain Language Disclosure for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are offered to students with financial need.

  • You are not charged interest while you're in school at least half-time, during grace periods, or deferment periods
  • If you receive a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period
  • If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are NOT based on financial need.

  • Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full
  • You can pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (added to the principal amount of your loan)
  • If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount
How to Apply

The first step in applying for any financial aid at SPC, including grants, loans, scholarships and student employment, is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Information for first-time Stafford borrowers

If you are a first-time borrower at SPC, you will be required to:

  1. Accept, reduce or decline the loans offered to you based on your eligibility. If you attend less than full-time during any term, your Cost of Attendance and financial aid award amounts will be adjusted. This could result in reduction or removal of loans or other financial aid. If your enrollment drops below half-time before loans are disbursed to your student account, you may not receive payment. After the funds are disbursed to your student account, the award will not change.
  2. Complete Federal Direct Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling, which explains your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower and is required for all first time borrowers at SPC.
  3. Complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) using your FSA ID. Note: You will only need to complete an MPN once while you attend SPC. The MPN is the legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s); for instance, it will include information on how interest is calculate and what deferment and cancellation provision are available to you.

These steps must be completed before you can receive your first loan disbursement. First-time, first-year Stafford borrowers will not receive their first loan disbursement until 30 calendar days after the first day of classes, according to federal regulations. Your loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system. Find out more information about Federal Direct Stafford Loans.

Fees and Interest

There is a small loan fee charged prior to funds being received at SPC.

Interest is charged on Stafford loans.Interest is the cost to borrow money. It is calculated as a percentage of the outstanding unpaid principal balance (accrual). Future interest is charged on the increased principal balance (capitalization). This will increase your monthly payment amount and the total amount you repay over the life of the loan.

See current federal loan interest rates.

Loan Limits

The following chart indicates the maximum loan amount you may request. It is to your advantage to request one loan for all semesters in the academic year you plan to attend. Any additional loan(s) requested will not be processed until the first loan has been disbursed.

Your loan award amounts will be based on enrollment (6 or more credits per term), grade level, and remaining eligibility of your annual and aggregate loan limits. 

If you attend less than full-time during any term, your Cost of Attendance and financial aid award amounts will be adjusted. This could result in reduction or removal of loans or other financial aid.

Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) For any new student who had no prior student loan indebtedness, you must complete your program within 150% of the credit hours it takes to complete the program. If you go beyond 150%, you will lose the interest subsidies or your Subsidized student loans and interest will accrue as though it were an Unsubsidized student loan.

Students who will be graduating at the end of fall term will have their Federal Direct Stafford and Federal Direct PLUS loan amounts adjusted based on enrollment during the fall term. This will limit the amount of loans you may borrow in your final term.

Dependent students - maximum loan amounts per academic year
ClassSubsidizedUnsubsidizedTotal
Freshman
(less than 24 credit hours earned)
$3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Sophomore
(24-60 credit hours earned)
$4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Junior*
(61-89 credit hours earned)
$5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Senior*
(90+ credit hours earned)
$5,500 $2,000 $7,500

The aggregate amount for a dependent undergraduate student (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans) is $31,000 for Stafford loans (maximum $23,000 subsidized).

Independent students - maximum loan amounts per academic year
ClassSubsidizedUnsubsidizedTotal
Freshman
(less than 24 credit hours earned)
$3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore
(24-60 credit hours earned)
$4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior*
(61-89 credit hours earned)
$5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Senior*
(90+ credit hours earned)
$5,500 $7,000 $12,500

The aggregate amount for an independent undergraduate student (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans) is $57,500 for Stafford loans (maximum $23,000 subsidized).

*Must be admitted in the four-year program.  

Exit Counseling

Information for exiting Stafford borrowers

If you are graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below half-time, complete Federal Direct Stafford Loan Exit Counseling. SPC will receive the results the next business day. Your academic records will be on hold until this is completed. 

Videos on Stafford Loans

Select the Stafford Loan Program playlist for answers to the following questions:

  • What types of Federal Direct Student loans are available?
  • What is a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan?
  • What is the difference between a subsidized and an unsubsidized loan?
  • What is the interest rate on a Federal Direct student Loan?
  • What are my Federal Direct Student Loan limits?
  • Is a credit check required to receive a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan?
  • What is the 150% Loan Limit Rule regarding federal direct subsidized loans?

Master Promissory Note (MPN) Tutorial

Select the Master Promissory Note (MPN) Tutorial to find out more information on the MPN

  • How do I complete the Master Promissory Note for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans?
Loan Repayment, Consolidation, Deferment, and Forbearance

Find out what you need to know about:

Loan Delinquency and Default

If you miss a payment on your student loans, you are considered delinquent. Delinquency can be reported to credit bureaus.

Learn more about loan delinquency and default.