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Student Financial Aid

Direct Loan Borrowing Limits

Financial Need and Cost of Education Limits:

In addition to the annual and aggregate Direct Loan borrowing limits, Direct Loans cannot exceed the following Financial Need and Cost of Education limits:

  • a student's total Subsidized Direct Loans, need-based loans, grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, Federal Work-Study, and other non-loan educational benefits cannot exceed his or her gross Financial Need.
  • a student's total Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans and all other forms of aid (other educational loans, grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, and all other educational benefits) cannot exceed his or her Projected Cost of Education.

The following chart illustrates the annual and aggregate loan limits for the subsidized and unsubsidized Direct loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008.

The limits may be a little confusing because there are two sets of limits for the Direct loan: a combined base limit for the subsidized and unsubsidized Direct loan, and an additional limit for just the unsubsidized Direct loan. In effect, the subsidized Direct loan is limited to the amounts in the "Combined Base Limit" column and the unsubsidized Direct loan is limited to the amounts in the "Total Limit" column minus the amount of any subsidized Direct loans.

Many students combine subsidized loans with unsubsidized loans to borrow the maximum amount permitted each year.

Annual Borrowing Limits for Dependent Students (and Undergraduate Students whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan):

Grade Level Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
First-Year Undergraduate (Freshman) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second-Year Undergraduate (Sophomore) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate (Junior, Senior) $5,500 $2,000 $7,500


Annual Borrowing Limits for Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan):

Grade Level Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
First-Year Undergraduate (Freshman) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second-Year Undergraduate (Sophomore) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate (Junior, Senior) $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Graduate or Professional $0 $20,500 $20,500


Lifetime Borrowing Limits:

Grade Level Combined Base Limit for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans Total Limit for Unsubsidized Loans (minus subsidized amounts)
Dependent Undergraduate Students (whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $8,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduate Students (and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) $23,000 $34,500 $57,500
Graduate or Professional $65,000 $57,500 $138,500

*Aggregate limits for graduate students include loans borrowed as an undergraduate student.