Federal Direct Stafford Loans
Direct Stafford Loans are low interest loans for students that are borrowed directly through the U.S. Department of Education.
Applying for a Direct Stafford Loan
To apply for a Direct Stafford Loan, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov . NIU automatically offers loan eligibility with the initial award notification. A request to have a student's loan eligibility reviewed can be made by contacting the Student Financial Aid Office. See the chart below for information on loan limits.
There are two types of Stafford Loans:
- Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The U.S Department of Education will pay the interest on the loan while you are attending
school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (grace period), and during periods of deferment (postponement of loan payments). For periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012, (Fall 2012 and beyond), Graduate and Professional students are no longer eligible to receive Direct Subsidized loans.
- Unsubsidized loans are awarded to any student eligible for financial aid regardless of Expected Family Contributions (EFC). Unsubsidized loans are not awarded based on financial need. The U.S. Department of Education does not pay the interest on the loan while you are attending school - the student is responsible for paying the interest that can accrue on the loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
Maximum Stafford Loan Limits