Federal Stafford and Perkins Loans

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Stafford Loans are often the foundation of a borrower’s student loan portfolio and the first loan to consider. 

Because these are federal loans, if you wish to apply for Federal Stafford Loans, you must complete the FAFSA. As of July 1, 2012, graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Features include:

  • Fixed 5.41 percent interest rate
  • Each student is allowed an annual maximum of US$20,500 in Stafford Loans
  • Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed
  • At the end of the period, you are allowed an aggregate maximum (undergraduate and graduate Stafford Loans) of US$138,500
  • Deferment, forbearance, and multiple repayment options are available

Federal Perkins Loans are administered by schools, so availability varies from school to school. Features include:

  • Available for US citizens and permanent residents
  • Subsidized loans based on financial need
  • They carry a 5 percent fixed interest rate and have favorable grace, deferment, forbearance, and repayment options
  • You must file the FAFSA in order to be considered
  • The annual maximum is $8,000

Contact your school to see if they participate in the Federal Perkins Loan program, and if so, how you might qualify.

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