Federal Student Loan Information
It’s important to understand your college financing options.
Note: As of July 1, 2010, Wells Fargo and other private lenders no longer offer federal student loans. If you obtained a federal student loan through Wells Fargo before July 1, 2010, and would like to learn about repaying that loan, please see our Federal Loan Repayment page.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by schools to determine your eligibility for federal student loans and other federal, state, and school aid. We encourage you to complete the FAFSA online at fafsa.ed.gov.
After you complete the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) will mail you a Student Aid Report (SAR). When you get the SAR you can check it for accuracy and errors. The SAR doesn’t tell you how much aid you’ll get. The DOE sends the information from your FAFSA to the schools you list on the FAFSA. The schools to which you’ve been accepted will use that information to send your award letters.
The federal loans described on this page are all guaranteed by the Federal Government. They are made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which means students or parents borrow the money directly from the DOE. Each of the loans has a fixed interest rate.
The amount you can borrow varies, based on:
- Your year in school
- Your designation as financially dependent or independent
- Whether you are receiving subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, or both
- In some cases, whether your parents qualify for the federal PLUS Loan
PLUS Loan for Parents
Parents of dependent students can take out a federal PLUS Loan for parents.
The PLUS Loan for parents can be used to cover education expenses. Parents can borrow up to the full cost of attendance, less any other aid the student is receiving. The parent must be the student’s biological or adoptive parent, or the student’s stepparent if the biological or adoptive parent has remarried at the time of application. Applicants need to meet credit criteria in order to receive the loan.
Graduate PLUS Loan
This loan is not based on need, and applicants need to meet credit criteria in order to receive the loan. Students can use this loan to cover up to the cost of their graduate school needs, including tuition, room and board, supplies, and lab expenses, less any other aid.
Unlike the federal Stafford Loan and federal PLUS Loan, the federal Perkins Loan is made through a school’s financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. You must repay this loan to your school.