FINANCIAL AID

Federal Stafford Loan

A federal Stafford loan is a low fixed-rate loan that is either subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized Stafford loans are available to students eligible for need-based financial aid. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to all students, regardless of income.

Subsidized Basics

Interest: Paid by the federal government on subsidized loans while you are enrolled at least half time and during the six-month grace period after you graduate.

Repayment: All federal Stafford loans must be paid back within 10 years regardless of the total amount borrowed. Repayment begins six months after you graduate, drop below half-time status or withdraw from school. Minimum monthly payments of $50 required, depending on the total amount of loans accumulated.

Activation: If you want to accept the Stafford loan offered to you, activate the loan on the myNorthridge Portal by going to the "Financial Matters" tab and selecting "Accept Loans" in the "Financial Aid Essentials" box. Loan Entrance Counseling (LEC) must be completed every year at Northridge. You must also have a signed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file with the Department of Education. If these requirements are not completed, loan funds will not be distributed.

Loan Changes Effective July 1, 2013, for New Student Loan Borrowers

There is now a limit on the maximum period of time, measured in academic years, that you can receive direct subsidized loans. In general, you may not receive direct subsidized loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program.* The new provision for first-time borrowers will take effect on or after July 1, 2013. For additional information, please see the document about time limitation on direct subsidized loan eligibility.

*Please note that all financial aid recipients, including direct subsidized loan borrowers, must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.

Loan Changes Effective July 1, 2012

Elimination of federal subsidized Stafford loan for graduate and professional students

Graduate students will only be eligible for the unsubsidized Stafford loan ($20,500 loan limit). Students enrolled in a credential or second bachelor's program will still be eligible for the subsidized Stafford loan, as they are not considered graduate students for financial aid purposes. For more information on the loan terms, view the comparison chart.

Temporary elimination of federal subsidized Stafford loan grace period subsidy

The interest subsidy provided during the six-month grace period on direct subsidized loans, when the student is no longer enrolled at least half time, has been temporarily eliminated. This applies to undergraduate, credential and second bachelor's students. The change will be effective for new direct subsidized Stafford loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012, through July 1, 2014. For more information on the loan terms, view the comparison chart.

All federal Stafford loans must be paid back within 10 years regardless of the total amount borrowed.

Unsubsidized Basics

Interest: Interest on unsubsidized loans is not paid by the federal government. You are responsible for interest that accrues on the loan while you are in school and during the six-month grace period. Interest begins accruing the day the first loan is disbursed. You may choose to make interest only payments while in school, or interest can be capitalized (added to the principal) and paid once you begin the repayment period.

Repayment: All federal Stafford loans must be paid back within 10 years regardless of the total amount borrowed. Repayment begins six months after you graduate, drop below half-time status or withdraw from school. Once you go into repayment, there is a $50 per month minimum payment depending on the total amount of loans accumulated.

Activation: If you want to accept the Stafford loan offered to you, activate the loan on the myNorthridge Portal by going to the "Financial Matters" tab and selecting "Accept Loans" in the "Financial Aid Essentials" box. Loan Entrance Counseling (LEC) must be completed every year at Northridge. You must also have a signed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file with the Department of Education. If these requirements are not completed, loan funds will not be distributed.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Subsidized: Available to students eligible for need-based financial aid. Select the "Subsidized Basics" tab for additional updates that affect first-time direct subsidized loan borrowers as of July 1, 2013.
  • Unsubsidized: Available to students regardless of income.
  • Students must apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.
  • Students must be enrolled (or plan to be enrolled) in at least six units, or four units for a master's program.
  • Students must achieve satisfactory academic progress as established by the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
  • Students must submit all documents requested by the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
  • Students cannot be in default on a student loan or owe a repayment on any grants.
  • Students must complete loan exit counseling if they fail to enroll or enroll in fewer than six units (four units if in a master's program).

Loan Limits

Annual federal Stafford loan limits

The base loan amount may be a combination of subsidized and an unsubsidized loans but will not be more than the established grade level or the cost of education. Graduating seniors who only attend one term may have their loans prorated based on federal regulation by the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.

Annual federal Stafford loan limits for dependent students
Dependent StudentsBase Subsidized/UnsubsidizedAdditional Unsubsidized Eligibility
Freshman (0-29 units)$3,500$2,000
Sophomore (30-59 units)$4,500$2,000
Junior and senior (60-180 units)$5,500$2,000
Second bachelor's$5,500$2,000
Credential program$5,500$0 (per federal regulation)

 

Annual federal Stafford loan limits for independent students
Independent StudentsBase Subsidized/UnsubsidizedAdditional Unsubsidized Eligibility
Freshman 0-29 units$3,500$6,000
Sophomore 30-59 units$4,500$6,000
Junior and Senior 60-180 units$5,500$7,000
Second bachelor's$5,500$7,000
Credential program$5,500$7,000
Post-baccalaureate unclassified: master's$5,500$7,000
Master's program$0$20,500
Doctoral program$0$20,500

Aggregate federal Stafford loan limits

The aggregate limit for master's and doctoral students includes the amount borrowed as an undergraduate or credential student.

Aggregate federal Stafford loan limits for students
Dependency StatusSubsidizedMaximum Subsidized and an unsubsidized
Dependent$23,000$31,000
Independent$23,000$57,500
Independent (master's and doctoral students only)$0$138,500*

*Due to federal legislative changes, master's and doctoral students are no longer eligible for subsidized direct loans. For a comprehensive review of the federal student loan program, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.