Federal Stafford Loan

Students borrowing Federal Stafford Loans receive their funds from the federal government. However, you must request a loan through Whitman College. The request form for Stafford Loan is included in the student's financial aid offer packet or may be obtained by selecting Financial Aid Forms and clicking on the Stafford Loan Request form. If you're a dependent undergraduate student, each year you can borrow up to:

  • $5,500 if you're a first-year student. No more than $3,500 of this amount can be in subsidized loans.
  • $6,500 if you're a sophomore. No more than $4,500 of this amount can be in subsidized loans.
  • $7,500 if you're a junior or senior. No more than $5,500 of this amount can be in subsidized loans.

The total possible loan debt for undergraduate study for dependent students is $31,000 and for independent students is $57,500 with a maximum of $23,000 in subsidized Loan.

Students must participate in entrance and exit counseling for a Federal Stafford Loan. This is generally done online via the Department of Education's website, StudentLoans.gov. A Master Promissory Note (MPN) attesting to the borrower's understanding of his or her rights and responsibilities as a Stafford Loan borrower must be signed by all first-time borrowers before the loan proceeds may be disbursed. The MPN may also be completed online at StudentLoans.gov.


Federal regulations require that all students who wish to borrow a Stafford Loan must first complete the FAFSA . Based on the FAFSA results, Whitman will be able to determine your eligibility for subsidized and unsubsidized loan. A student must also be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits each semester to qualify for Stafford Loan.

Students who are not eligible for a subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, meaning that the federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time in college, may borrow an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan. With the unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan, the student is responsible for the interest on the loan during the entire life of the loan. Students who borrow an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan may pay the interest while they are in school (and we strongly encourage students to do so), or they may allow the interest to accrue and pay it along with the principal and interest that accrues during repayment of the loan.


The interest on subsidized loans will be paid by the federal government on behalf of the student borrower until the student graduates or drops below part-time enrollment. Historical interest rates for loans made each school year are as follows:

School YearSubsidized StaffordUnsubsidized Stafford
2009-10 5.6% 6.8%
2010-11 4.5% 6.8%
2011-12 3.4% 6.8%
2012-13 3.4% 6.8%
2013-14 3.86% 3.86%
2014-15 4.66% 4.66%


Although a loan may be repaid at any time without penalty, the usual repayment of the loan begins six months after leaving higher education (including graduate school). Repayment schedules will normally be arranged for five to ten years, although the student will be required to pay a minimum of $50 per month.


Under any of the following circumstances, students who owe an outstanding Stafford Loan may defer repayment: half-time or greater study at an eligible school; study under an eligible Graduate Fellowship Program approved by the Department of Education; study under a Rehabilitation Training Program approved by the Department of Education for disabled individuals; a period of active duty in the Armed Forces or U. S. Public Health Service, or as a Peace Corps Volunteer or as a volunteer for an organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (such as VISTA); a period of temporary disability, or for a period of unemployment because of caring for a disabled spouse (not to exceed three years); internships for professional practice certified from the appropriate state licensing agency stating that the successful completion of the internship is required in order to begin professional practice or service (not to exceed two years); or periods of unemployment (not in excess of a total of 24 months). Deferments are also available for half-time study at an eligible school, active duty with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, and full-time elementary or secondary teaching in a private or public school in a shortage area approved by the Department of Education. For possible financial or health related deferments, borrowers should check with their lender.

Loan Fees

For 2014-15, the federal government will charge a 1.072% origination fee on all subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans first disbursed by September 30. Afterwards, the fee will increase to 1.073%. Loan fees will be subtracted from the requested loan amount before the loan proceeds are credited to the student account.