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CGRS: Government Loan Programs

Different types of Federal Loans available to graduate students.

Government Loan Programs

The tables below present general information on need-based financial aid available to domestic, non-foreign graduate students. 

There are many non-need-based sources of funding that all graduate students should investigate further.  Graduate students should check UW-Madison's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for specific need-based funding information. 

Please note, certain types of financial aid have eligibility requirements additional to those listed below.  Be sure to research each type of need-based financial aid before applying for or accepting admission.

To meet the minimum requirements for receiving need-based financial aid, a student must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • Be registered with Selective Service (if required);
  • Attend a participating school;
  • Working toward a degree or certificate;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan; and
  • Have financial need (except for Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan)

Additionally, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for financial aid, grants and some fellowships.

Loans (Federal)*

 Program Description Eligibility Terms

Federal Direct Stafford Loan subsidized**

Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more detailed information.

  •  Federally Funded

  • Variable interest rate adjusted annually on the July 1, capped at 8.25%

  • More rate information is available.

  • See "Borrowing Maximums" chart below.

  •  Need-based

  • All full and half time students in a graduate degree program

  • U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.

Repayment is deferred and there is interest while the student is enrolled at least half time.

Limited deferment provisions. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information. 

Federal Direct Stafford Loan, unsubsidized**

Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more detailed information.

  •  Federally funded

  • Variable interest rate adjusted annually on July 1 capped at 8.25%

  • More rate information is available

  • See "Borrowing Maximums" chart below.

  •  Non-need-based

  • All full and half time students in a graduate degree program

  • U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.

Interest begins accruing immediately at the loan's inception.

The student can begin making payments toward interest or choose to have interest accrue (capitalize) while enrolled in an eligible degree program (see promissory note)

Repayment of principle is deferred while the student is enrolled at least half time.

Limited deferment provisions. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information.

*Graduate students are considered "independent" for the purpose of Federal (U.S.) need-based lending and financial aid. 

**Students accepting Direct Loans funds for the first time must complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note before receiving their loan funds.  A promissory note will be sent to students after they accept their loan on Visual Aid.

Combined Borrowing Maximums for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

Graduate Students

 Borrowing Maximums
 First Year
  $18,500 each academic year (only $8,500 of this amount can be a subsidized loan).

 Second Year
  $18,500 each academic year (only $8,500 of this amount can be a subsidized loan).

 Third Year
  $18,500 each academic year (only $8,500 of this amount can be a subsidized loan).

Total Loan Debt Limit
  $138,500 (only $$65,500 can be a subsidized loan); limit includes Federal Direct Loans received as an undergraduate at an institution.

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Keywords:Government, loans, graduate students, federal loan programs, Stafford Loan, FAFSA, Financial Aid   Doc ID:45452
Owner:Brian B.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2014-12-05 09:31 CSTUpdated:2016-05-03 13:20 CST
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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