William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program

This loan is commonly referred to as the Federal Direct Loan Program. Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students to help pay for the cost of the student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or other financial institution. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Carthage’s school code (institutional code: 003839) before they will be considered for a Direct Loan.

There are two types of Federal Direct Loans available to students:

  • Federal Subsidized Direct Loan — Your eligibility is based on your financial need and your academic level (see charts below). You don’t have to make any payments until six months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half time. The government pays the interest while you are in school and during your six-month grace period.
  • Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan — Your eligibility is not based on financial need. You may borrow the cost of education minus all other financial aid you receive, up to the amount allowed for your academic level (see charts below). You have two choices for paying interest: You may pay it while you are enrolled full time, or it can accrue and become part of the principal that you will owe. You begin making payments six months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half time.


Interest Rate and Origination Fee

The interest rate for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan to undergraduate students for the 2024-25 school year is 6.533%, and the rate for unsubsidized loans is 6.533%. The current rate for graduate students is yet to be announced.

There is also an origination fee based on the amount of the total loan; this origination fee of 1.068% is deducted from your loan before you receive the funds.


Applying: Loan Application Requirements

If you are a first-time Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan borrower, before you can receive any funds to your account, you must complete the following two steps:

1. Electronic Master Promissory Note (EMPN)
2. Electronic Pre-Loan Entrance Counseling

NOTE: Please wait until after June 1, 2023, to complete this process for loans for the 2023-24 award year!


Loan Eligibility Amounts

The maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan amounts available vary according to academic level and dependency status. Please see the tables below for more information.

Dependent Undergraduate Students

Freshmen
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $3,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $2,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $5,500
Sophomore
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $4,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $2,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $6,500
Junior/Senior
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $5,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $2,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $7,500

inDependent Undergraduate Students

Freshmen
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $3,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $2,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $9,500
Sophomore
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $4,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $6,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $10,500
Junior/Senior
  • Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: $5,500
  • Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans: $6,000
  • Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans a Dependent Undergraduate may Borrow: $12,500