Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program

Rensselaer at Hartford offers low-interest loans to eligible students through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program. You can borrow loan amounts directly from the federal government through the U.S. Department of Education. And you need not have established credit-worthiness or a credit history in order to qualify. Through this loan program, graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per award year.

The interest is a fixed rate of 6.8% for Federal Direct Stafford loans. You can choose to either make quarterly interest-only payments, or defer interest payments until repayment of principal begins. Deferred interest is capitalized upon repayment.

The aggregate limit is $138,500. [Note: As of July 1, 2012, Subsidized Stafford Loans are no longer available.]

If eligible, you are encouraged to take full advantage of these programs with the understanding that student loans must be repaid. It is important, therefore, for you to consider your ability to repay the loan in relation to your projected future earnings. It is also important to note that federal policy specifies that the primary responsibility for meeting educational costs rests with you and your family. Federal student loans are available to help bridge the gap between the cost of education and your family's ability to pay.

The Department of Education recently has set up an Office of the Ombudsman to work with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems. To contact Ombudsman Debra Wiley's office, please use the toll-free number (877) 557-2575 or visit their web site at ombudsman.ed.gov. The mailing address is: U.S. Department of Education, FSA Ombudsman, 830 First Street, NW, Fourth Floor, Washington DC 20202-5144. The phone number is (877) 557-2575.

For additional information on every stage of the federal financial aid process, please visit the U.S. Department of Education's Student Financial Assistance web site: www.ed.gov/studentaid. Numerous helpful links can be found at this site, particularly if you click on "Funding Your Education," or "Visit our New Federal Student Aid Portal."

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Updated: 2014-03-03, 16:09