Federal Direct Loan FAQs
How and when do I apply for a federal Direct Stafford loan if I want to borrow for the academic year?
For incoming first-years and students who have not previously borrowed:
Complete your Swarthmore College financial aid application.
Follow the instructions on our website or that are emailed to the first year class's Swarthmore email address later in May.
For students who have previously borrowed:
Complete your Swarthmore College financial aid application and tell us the amount you wish to borrow in the Supplemental Questions (SQ section) of your College Board PROFILE form or email the amount you wish to borrow to email@example.com.
Where can I learn more about the federal Direct Stafford loan program?
What are the federal loan interest rates?
*Please note: All Federal interest rates are adjusted in June and origination fees in October annually through Congressional action. This information is for the 2015-16 academic year and will be updated as 2016-17 legislation is passed.
- Your 2015-16 subsidized federal Direct Stafford Loan will be interest-free during your enrollment (while at Swarthmore and in graduate school, if you are enrolled at least half-time) but then 4.66% once you begin repayment and continuing for the life of the loan.
- Your 2015-16 unsubsidized federal Direct Stafford Loan will carry a 4.66% interest during your enrollment and during repayment (although you may defer repayment of interest during your enrollment). For the Federal Government's detailed explanation, please visit the Department of Education's website. For the most up-to-date explanation of all federal financial aid changes, visit Department of Education website.
- The 2015-16 federal PLUS Loan will carry a 6.8% interest rate.
Where can I find an explanation of terms such as subsidized, unsubsidized, deferment, or forbearance?
Why is my loan unsubsidized?
We must follow federal regulations when we determine the subsidy on your federal Direct Loan. We use our standard costs, your expected family contribution from filing the FAFSA and all your sources of financial aid.
What administrative fees will be retained from my loan by the US Department of Education?
Each July 1st, Congress approves legislation that may change the terms of federally funded financial aid programs, including loans. These amounts are for the 2015-16 year and will be set by Congress in July.
- The federal Direct Stafford Loan administrative fee is 1.068%.
- The federal PLUS administrative fee is 4.288%.
I'd like to know more about my federal student loan repayment obligations and opportunities. Will Swarthmore be providing me guidance?
Yes, we'll be providing a few financial literacy and debt management programs each semester. You may also visit our Direct Stafford Loan Guidance page for a list of helpful Federal Department of Education and private websites.