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Historical Interest Rates

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This page provides information about historical interest rates and interest rate caps on the Stafford and PLUS education loans.

The interest rate formulas on the Stafford Loan have changed multiple times, with the following major milestones:

  • 2008-09 through 2011-12: Cut subsidized Stafford loan interest rates for undergraduate students to 6.0%, 5.6%, 4.5% and 3.4%, with a return to 6.8% in 2012-13. These cuts are available only to undergraduate students, not graduate students, and only for subsidized Stafford loans, not unsubsidized Stafford loans. Those loans remain at 6.8%.
  • 2006-07: Replacement of separate variable in-school/grace and repayment rates on the Stafford Loan with a single fixed rate of 6.8%. Replacement of variable interest rates on the PLUS Loan with a fixed rate of 8.5% (FFELP) and 7.9% (DL).
  • 1998-99: 80 basis point reduction in both in-school/grace and repayment rates on the Stafford Loan. Consolidation loan interest rates switched from rounding up to the nearest whole percent to the nearest 1/8th of a percent and capped at 8.25%.
  • 1995-96: Separate rates established during the in-school and grace periods on the Stafford Loan, with these rates 60 basis points lower than repayment rates.
  • 1994-95: Change in the cap on the Stafford Loan from 9.0% to 8.25% and the cap on the PLUS Loan from 10.0% to 9.0%.
  • 1992-93: Change in the cap on the PLUS Loan from 12.0% to 10.0% and a 15 basis point reduction in the interest rate.

Repayment Interest Rates

The following table lists historical Stafford loan repayment interest rates.

Year Rate Formula
2010-116.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
4.5%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
2.47%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.167 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2009-106.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
5.6%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
2.48%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.178 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2008-096.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
6.0%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
4.21%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(1.905 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2007-086.8%fixed rate
7.22%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.919 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2006-076.8%fixed rate
7.14%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.843 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2005-065.30%(2.998 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2004-053.37%(1.066 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2003-043.42%(1.121 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2002-034.06%(1.760 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2001-025.99%(3.688 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
2000-018.19%(5.893 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
1999-006.92%(4.621 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
1998-997.46%(5.155 + 2.3%, cap 8.25%)
1997-988.25%(5.16 + 3.1%, cap 8.25%)
1996-978.25%(5.16 + 3.1%, cap 8.25%)
1995-968.25%(5.82 + 3.1%, cap 8.25%)
1994-957.43%(4.33 + 3.1%, cap 8.25%)
1993-946.22%(3.12 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1992-936.94%(3.84 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)

Before 1992, there were the GSL and SLS loans. These loans were more similar in concept to the current PLUS loans than the Stafford loans. The interest rates on these loans were somewhat complicated. For example, from October 1, 1981 to October 1, 1992, interest rates on the SLS loans were fixed rates that changed annually with various caps (14.0%, 12.0%, 9.0%, 8.0% and 7.0%). From July 1, 1988 to October 1, 1992, this loan had a fixed rate of 8% from disbursement to four years after the loan entered repayment, and 10% thereafter. Variable rates were introduced on July 1, 1987, and one could convert a fixed rate loan into a variable rate loan through January 1, 1995 using a refinancing mechanism.

In-School Interest Rates

The following table lists historical Stafford loan in-school/grace period interest rates.

Year Rate Formula
2010-116.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
4.5%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
1.87%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.167 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2009-106.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
5.6%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
1.88%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.178 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2008-096.8%fixed rate
(unsubsidized Stafford for all students and subsidized Stafford for graduate students)
6.0%fixed rate
(subsidized Stafford for undergraduate students)
3.61%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(1.905 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2007-086.8%fixed rate
6.62%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.919 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2006-076.8%fixed rate
6.54%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.843 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2005-064.70%(2.998 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2004-052.77%(1.066 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2003-042.82%(1.121 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2002-033.46%(1.760 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2001-025.39%(3.688 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
2000-017.59%(5.893 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
1999-006.32%(4.621 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
1998-996.86%(5.155 + 1.7%, cap 8.25%)
1997-987.65%(5.16 + 2.5%, cap 8.25%)
1996-977.65%(5.16 + 2.5%, cap 8.25%)
1995-968.25%(5.82 + 2.5%, cap 8.25%)
1994-957.43%(4.33 + 3.1%, cap 8.25%)
1993-946.22%(3.12 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1992-936.94%(3.84 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)

PLUS Loan Interest Rates

The following table lists historical PLUS loan interest rates.

Year Rate Formula
2010-117.9%fixed rate (DL)
3.27%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.167 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2009-108.5%fixed rate (FFELP)
7.9%fixed rate (DL)
3.28%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(0.178 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2008-098.5%fixed rate (FFELP)
7.9%fixed rate (DL)
5.01%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(1.905 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2007-088.5%fixed rate (FFELP)
7.9%fixed rate (DL)
8.02%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.919 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2006-078.5%fixed rate (FFELP)
7.9%fixed rate (DL)
7.94%variable rate (loans from before 7/1/06)
(4.843 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2005-066.10%(2.998 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2004-054.17%(1.066 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2003-044.22%(1.121 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2002-034.86%(1.760 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2001-026.79%(3.688 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
2000-018.99%(5.893 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1999-007.72%(4.621 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1998-998.26%(5.155 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1997-988.98%(5.88 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1996-978.72%(5.62 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1995-968.98%(5.87 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1994-958.38%(5.28 + 3.1%, cap 9.0%)
1993-946.64%(3.54 + 3.1%, cap 10.0%)
1992-937.36%(4.26 + 3.1%, cap 10.0%)
1991-929.34%(6.09 + 3.25%, cap 12.0%)
1990-9111.49%(8.24 + 3.25%, cap 12.0%)
1989-9012.00%(9.15 + 3.25%, cap 12.0%)
1988-8910.45%(7.20 + 3.25%, cap 12.0%)
1987-8810.27%(7.02 + 3.25%, cap 12.0%)

For other historical interest rate data, such as the Commercial Paper Rate, LIBOR index and Prime Lending Rate, see the Federal Reserve Statistical Release and the Federal Reserve Historical Data.

 

 
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