Stafford Loans are a form of Federal (U.S. Government) Financial Aid to help an undergraduate or graduate student pay for their education. Stafford loans are the most common and one of the least costly ways to pay for higher education. Other common types of educational loans are PLUS loans, and private student loans. Stafford Loans fall into two categories Subsidized and Unsubsidized. Stafford loans are also need based, and not impacted by your credit score.
Subsidized Stafford Loans*:
Subsidized Stafford loans are the least costly and should be taken out before any other type. Stafford loans carry a 3.4% fixed interest rate. Typically, the U.S. government covers interest payments until graduation. Interest starts to accrue after graduation and generally payments are not required until 6 months after graduation. Undergraduate students are currently limited to take out a maximum of $23,000 in subsidized Stafford loans.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans*:
Unsubsidized Stafford loans are federal loans that carry a 6.8% fixed interest rate. Unlike subsidized Stafford loans, interest accrues for unsubsidized Stafford loans while the students is enrolled in school. Like subsidized Stafford loans, your first monthly payment will not be due until 6 months after graduation. Unsubsidized Stafford loan limits vary based on your education status.
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Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.