Federal Direct Stafford Loan

The Federal Stafford Loan is a non-credit based student loan for undergraduate and graduate students. There are two basic types of Stafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Both have a 6 month grace period (a period of time when a student is no longer enrolled for at least half-time and not required to make payments) and fixed interest rates, which are determined each year on July 1st. To view the current interest rate, please visit the Loan Comparison Chart on the Loan Program web page. Please see the differences between the Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans below.

Subsidized Loans

Government pays the interest on behalf of the student while the student is in the deferment period and grace period.

Once in repayment, the student is responsible for paying the interest on the loan as well as the principal amount borrowed.

The student’s cost of attendance must exceed his/her Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to be eligible for “need-based” aid (such as grants, scholarships and subsidized loans).

The EFC is based on information collected from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The total amount of the subsidized loan combined with other “need-based” aid cannot exceed the student’s “financial need.”

Subsidized loans are available only to undergraduate students.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Time Limitation

Students who are considered new borrowers or first time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, are limited in the amount of time they may qualify for interest subsidy. Once these students have exceeded 150 % of the published length of their current degree program, they will be:

  • Ineligible to borrow any more Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Eligible to borrow more Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans as long as the Total Aggregate Limit has not been met
  • Responsible for any interest that accrues on the Federal Direct Subsidized loans after exceeding the 150% limit.

New borrowers are students who have no outstanding federal student loan principal balances at the time they apply for a new federal loan on or after July 1, 2013.

For further details, please click here.

Unsubsidized Loans

Government does not pay the interest on behalf of the student.

Instead, the borrower is responsible for all the interest that accrues and capitalizes from the time the loan disburses.

Independent students may be eligible for greater unsubsidized amounts than dependent students. See our page on Borrowing Limits.

Though it is non-need based aid, the amount of the unsubsidized loan combined with other aid cannot exceed the total estimated cost of attendance

Stafford Loan Eligibility Criteria:

Students Must:

  • File the FAFSA.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Be fully admitted and meet UCF Admission requirements.
  • Be classified as degree seeking at UCF in an eligible program.
  • Enroll for at least half-time at UCF in UCF classes at time of disbursement. For more information regarding half-time enrollment please view our Program Eligibility Chart.
  • Maintain UCF’s Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Complete all required To Do List Items.
  • Complete verification (if selected).
  • If in receipt of a Federal Stafford Direct Loan during this academic year at another institution, make sure that the remainder of that loan is canceled before applying for a loan at UCF

Student Cannot:

  • Default on any educational loan or owe repayment on a federal grant at this or any other institution.
  • Borrow in excess of federal loan limits

Borrowing Limits

The total combined amounts a student may borrow in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans may not exceed the annual loan limits or aggregate limits, which are specified in federal regulations. Please view our Borrowing Limits web page for more detail.

How to Apply for the Federal Stafford Loan

File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current aid year. (We recommend that you file by the priority deadline of December 1st.)

After UCF receives the results of the FAFSA from the Federal Processor, we will automatically offer the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan based on your eligibility.

Accept, reduce, or decline your offered loan(s) for each term separately on the myUCF View Financial Aid screen by clicking the “Accept/Decline Awards” button and indicating your selection.

Fall 2017 loans must be accepted by September 15th, 2017, to avoid cancellation of the offer.

NOTE: Loan adjustment and reinstatement requests must be made by the following deadlines:

2017-2018 Year

Loan Period Adjustment /
Reinstatement Deadline
Award Year
Fall 2017 11/17/17 2017-2018
Spring 2018 4/06/18 2017-2018

Complete the online Master Promissory Note if this is your first time borrowing a Federal Direct loan.

Complete the online Entrance Counseling if this is your first time borrowing a Direct Loan at any school.

Transfer Students:

If you have previously completed the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at another institution, you must complete a new one if this is your first time borrowing a Federal Direct Stafford Loan at UCF.

If you were awarded a Federal Stafford Direct Loan during this academic year at another institution, make sure that the remainder of that loan is canceled at your previous school before applying for a loan at UCF.

Disbursement of Loan

For information about loan disbursements, please visit our Disbursement of Financial Aid webpage.