Historical Loan Limits
This page provides information about historical loan limits for the Stafford and PLUS education loans.
The loan limits for the Stafford and PLUS Loans have changed multiple times, with the following major milestones:
Annual Stafford Loan Limits
The following table lists historical annual subsidized Stafford loan limits. From July 1, 1993 onward, these were combined subsidized and unsubsidized limits, allowing students to borrow any amount not awarded as a subsidized Stafford as an unsubsidized Stafford, up to the combined limit. (Starting July 1, 2008 the unsubsidized Stafford loan limits were increased.)
From January 1, 1981 to September 30, 1981, independent undergraduate students had a higher annual loan limit of $3,000.
The following table lists the additional unsubsidized Stafford limits available to dependent students whose parents were not denied a PLUS loan.
The following table lists the additional unsubsidized Stafford limits available to independent students, dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan, and graduate students. These additional limits were motivated by the Supplemental Loan to Students (SLS), which was eliminated on July 1, 1994. This table incorporates SLS limits prior to that date.
Medical school students can borrow an additional $20,000 a year in unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
Aggregate Stafford Loan Limits
The following table lists historical aggregate Stafford loan limits.
From October 17, 1986 to September 30, 1992, SLS aggregate limits were $20,000. They were increased to $23,000 (undergraduate) and $73,000 (graduate plus undergraduate) from October 1, 1992 through June 30, 1994. The SLS program was eliminated on July 1, 1994.
Since July 1, 1994 there have been additional aggregate unsubsidized Stafford loan limits for independent undergradate students, dependent undergradate students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan, and graduate students. The additional aggregate limits for unsubsidized Stafford loans were $23,000 for undergraduate students (independent students and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) and $73,000 for graduate students, bringing the combined aggregate limits to $46,000 and $138,500.
Starting July 1, 2008 the additional aggregate limits for unsubsidized Stafford loans increased by $8,000 for dependent undergraduate students (whose parents were not denied a Parent PLUS loan) and by $11,500 for independent undergraduate students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan), bringing the combined aggregate limits to $31,000 and $57,500, respectively. (No more than $23,000 of the aggregate Stafford loan limit may be subsidized.) The combined aggregate limit for graduate and professional students remained unchanged at $138,500, no more than $65,500 of which may be subsidized. However, as noted below, DCL GEN-08-04 increased the combined aggregate limit for medical school students from $189,125 (set in 1996) to $224,000 effective 4/18/2008.
PLUS Loan Limits
The following table lists historical PLUS loan limits.
Miscellaneous Loan Limits
Prior to 1994, smaller Stafford loan limits were available for programs that were shorter than a year in length.
Students enrolled in health professions programs that were eligible under the former HEAL program have higher unsubsidized Stafford loan limits since July 1, 1996, per DCL GEN-96-14. Such students are eligible to borrow an additional unsubsidized Stafford of $20,000 per year and have an aggregate Stafford loan limit (combined subsidized plus unsubsidized) of $189,125. This limit was increased to $224,000 effective April 18, 2008 by DCL GEN-08-04.
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