Federal Stafford Loans

The Federal Stafford Loan programs provide "fixed" low interest loans to student borrowers. Subsidized Stafford Loans are those for which the government pays the interest while a student is enrolled at least half time (a minimum of six credit hours toward the student's degree program) or in applicable loan deferment status. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are those that are not need-based, and the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues during in-school and deferment periods.

Interest rates vary, depending on Stafford Loan history and the date on which the loan is disbursed, but are not higher than 8.25%. Variable interest rates are set each June. For prior borrowers with outstanding loan balances, interest rates will be the same for previous loans. For loans disbursed after July 1, 2016, interest rates will be "fixed" at 3.76% for Undergraduate Subsidized Loans. Undergraduate Unsubsidized loans will be "fixed" at 3.76%. All Graduate Stafford loans will be "fixed" at 5.31%.

* Origination Fee for loan disbursement for Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans:

  • On or after October 1, 2015, and before October 1, 2016
  • 1.073% Loan Fee

  • On or after October 1, 2016, and before October 1, 2017
  • 1.068%  Loan Fee 


Undergraduate students may borrow subsidized loans up to $3,500 per year as freshmen, $4,500 per year as sophomores, and $5,500 per year as juniors and seniors. Dependent undergraduates may also borrow an additional $2000 per year in Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Graduate students are not eligible to borrow subsidized Stafford loans.  (Actual loan amounts may be less, depending on individual student eligibility.) Repayment begins six months after the student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time attendance.

Independent undergraduate and graduate students may borrow additional unsubsidized Stafford Loans once subsidized limits are reached (and if otherwise eligible). The maximum amounts of additional unsubsidized loans that can be borrowed are:

  • freshmen and sophomores - $6,000
  • juniors or seniors - $7,000
  • graduate students - $20,500

These are maximums only; actual unsubsidized loan amounts are determined according to individual student eligibility.

Stafford Loans are disbursed in two payments, usually one per semester. One semester loans may be disbursed in two payments; the first at the beginning of the semester (or after approval) and the second after the mid-point of the semester.

Loan requests can be made through your BISON account.

Students who have outstanding Stafford loans should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss future borrowing resources. Repayment begins six months after a student withdraws, LOA, graduates, or drops below half-time attendance (including internship and dissertation enrollment). Students with Unsubsidized Stafford Loans will be responsible for the interest that accrues during the six-month grace period. Deferments are available and depend on the loan date. Questions about your deferments should be directed to the holder of your loan.

Loan Deadlines

Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans must be requested by the end of November for the fall semester and the end of April for the spring semester. This is necessary so that adequate time is given to process loan applications, promissory notes, and the receipt of loan funds. Under no circumstances will a loan be awarded/processed for a semester that has ended, unless the student is fully enrolled for a subsequent semester in the same academic year. Loans will not be processed to cover outstanding charges for a prior semester in order to enroll. Students who owe a balance from a previous semester will have to satisfy all debts to the University before a loan will be processed. Students who have completed the fall semester with an outstanding balance above $1,000 may not enroll for the spring semester, and therefore are not considered "students" for the purpose of loan requirements. For this reason, it is essential that students apply for loans early, and well before the semester ends.

Master Promissory Notes

Students who are first-time Federal Stafford Loan borrowers, or students who are borrowing at Gallaudet for the first time (e.g., transfer students) are required to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at the time of their initial Direct Loan application. Stafford Loans will be canceled for students who do not complete the MPN requirements within 30 days. (Loan funds will not be approved or disbursed by the Department of Education without a signed promissory note.)

Student Loan Counseling

Federal law requires institutions to inform students of their borrower rights and responsibilities. To meet this federal requirement, students may be required to complete an entrance interview/counseling session. The loan Entrance Interview may be obtained at: http://www.studentloans.gov. Students cannot receive their Federal Stafford Loan funds until they have met this federal requirement. After linking to the website, students should follow the instructions carefully. If a student is unable to complete the entrance loan counseling session on the web, the student may complete it in the Financial Aid Office.

  • Entrance Loan Counseling session is required of all first-time Gallaudet loan borrowers at the time of application. Entrance counseling may be completed in person or on the web. The loan request will not be processed until this requirement is satisfied.
  • Exit Loan Counseling is required of Stafford Loan borrowers who withdraw, drop below half-time (6 credits), or graduate. Exit Loan Counseling may also be completed in person, or on the web at: www.studentloans.gov

Failure to complete the exit loan counseling requirements will result in a "hold" on transcripts, grades, and diplomas.