Federal Student Loan Options for Undergraduate Students

Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?
Your eligibility is determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA. Please note that students must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for these loans.

If you have received a financial aid notification letter from our office and a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan has already been awarded to you, and you are a first-time borrower, you may proceed to the U.S. Department of Education's website, www.studentloans.gov, to complete the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to login to the website.


How much can I borrow?
Your eligibility is determined for a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan. A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by your FAFSA. If you are eligible for such a loan, the government will pay (subsidize) the interest on your loan while you are enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis.  Depending on your federal eligibility, you may borrow a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan in an amount up to the annual loan borrowing limit for your level of study (see below).

You may also receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  Unlike with a Federal Direct Subsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest on an Unsubsidized Loan from the time it is disbursed until it is repaid in full. You can choose to pay the interest while you are in school or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount you will have to repay over the life of the loan.

You can receive both a Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan as long as the combined amount of the two loans does not exceed the annual loan limit for your class level, which can be viewed in BearDEN:

  • At the freshman level, you can borrow up to $5,500 in combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, with a maximum of $3,500 as a Subsidized Loan (providing that you are eligible for Subsidized Loan assistance).
  • At the sophomore level, you can borrow up to $6,500 in combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, with a maximum of $4,500 being as a Subsidized Loan (providing that you are eligible for Subsidized Loan assistance).
  • At the junior or senior level, you can borrow up to $7,500 in combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, with a maximum of $5,500 being as a Subsidized Loan (providing that you are eligible for Subsidized Loan assistance).
  • Class level changing?  You may request additional loan funding when your class level changes after you receive an award notification.  You must notify our office in writing or via email to indicate the amount you wish to request.  You may borrow up to the annual amount as determined by your class level.  

The annual borrowing limits can be increased for students who meet the criteria to be considered independent for student financial aid purposes or whose parents have applied for and who were denied a Federal Direct PLUS Loan (see Federal Direct PLUS Loan information below). These students may be eligible for the following additional unsubsidized funds:

  • $4,000 for freshmen/sophomores
  • $5,000 for juniors/seniors

Aggregate borrowing limits are:

  • For dependent undergraduate students - $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans);
  • For independent students and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans - $57,500 for undergraduates (no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans);

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for this loan?
The interest rate for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans is the rate of the 10-year Treasury note plus 2.05%.  The rate for new loans for the 2014-2015 academic year, first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014, is 4.66 percent.  The loan is "variable-fixed" meaning students would receive a new rate with each new loan, but the rate would be fixed for the life of that loan.  Please check our News Page for changes to the terms of loans disbursed after March 1, 2013.

When do I begin repaying the loan?
Repayment begins six months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status.  Normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason.

Federal Perkins Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?
SUNY Potsdam receives an allocation from the federal government and funds are distributed based on eligibility for federal need-based aid. Availability is not guaranteed.  Only those students who demonstrate an exceptional level of federal eligibility are eligible to receive this loan.  If you are awarded this loan, and this is your first time receiving a Federal Perkins Loan borrower through a SUNY campus, you will need to complete the Perkins Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note here.

How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to $5,500 for each year of undergraduate study. The actual amount you may receive depends on your level of federal eligibility and the level/availability of Perkins Loan funds.

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for this loan?
The interest rate is fixed at 5%. There are no other fees for this loan, and interest on the loan does not begin to accrue until the loan enters repayment.

When do I begin repaying the loan?
Repayment begins nine months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status.  Normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason.