Federal Financial Aid Programs


Financial aid from federal programs is available for those who qualify. Stratford University participates in several Federal Financial Aid programs, including:

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Federal Work-Study Program

All Title IV financial aid funds received by the institution will be credited to the student's account (excluding Federal Work-Study) with the exception of requirements set forth in Section 682.604 of current federal regulations.

Federal Direct Loans Subsidized and Unsubsidized

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are federal student loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. The U.S. Department of Education offers eligible students at participating schools Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Interest rates for Federal Direct Student Loans are fixed but are adjusted on an annual basis. For more information about the current interest rates of Federal Direct Student Loans, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates#what-are-the-interest-rates-of-federal-student-loans

In addition, most federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You're responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received. For more information on the current loan fee percentage for Federal Direct Student Loans, please visit: https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates#are-there-any-other-fees-for-federal-student-aid

Federal Direct Student Loans have two categories: subsidized and unsubsidized.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
  • For a Subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest
    • while you’re in school at least half-time,
    • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
    • during periods of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).
  • *Note: If you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow by considering the cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
  • For an Unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for paying the interest during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

If you are considered a Dependent student for Federal Financial Aid purposes, and enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, your Stafford Loan (including both Subsidized and Unsubsidized portions) may be as high as:

  • $5,500 your first academic year.
  • $6,500 your second academic year.
  • $7,500 your third and subsequent academic years.
  • Total Stafford Loan indebtedness cannot exceed $23,000.

If you are considered an Independent student for Federal Financial Aid purposes, and enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, your Stafford Loan (including both subsidized and unsubsidized portions) may be as high as:

  • $9,500 your first academic year.
  • $10,500 your second academic year.
  • $12,500 your third and subsequent academic years.
  • Total aggregate loan limit is $57,500.
  • No more than $23,000 may be Subsidized.

If you are a graduate student, your Direct Unsubsidized Loans may be as high as:

  • $20,500 per academic year
  • Total aggregate loan limit is $138,500
  • The graduate debt limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

Federal Plus Loans

Federal PLUS Loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time. The PLUS Loan is also available to graduate and professional degree students. Financial need is not a requirement. PLUS Loans are unsubsidized: the borrower is responsible for interest that accrues during the life of the loan. Borrowers can request a loan for up to the full cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.

Borrower Rights and Responsibilities

When a student takes on a student loan he/she has certain rights and responsibilities

The borrower has the right to receive the following information before the first loan disbursement:

  • The full amount of the loan;
  • The interest rate;
  • When the student must start repaying the loan;
  • The effect borrowing will have on the student's eligibility for other types of financial aid;
  • A complete list of any charges the student must pay (loan fees) and information on how those charges are collected;
  • The yearly and total amounts the student can borrow;
  • The maximum repayment periods and the minimum repayment amount;
  • An explanation of default and its consequences;
  • An explanation of available options for consolidating or refinancing the student loan;
  • A statement that the student can prepay the loan at any time without penalty.

The borrower has the right to receive the following information before leaving school:

  • The amount of the student's total debt (principal and estimated interest), what the student's interest rate is, and the total interest charges on the loan(s);
  • A loan repayment schedule that lets the student know when his/her first payment is due, the number and frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment;
  • If the student has student loans, the name of the lender or agency that holds the student's loan(s), where to send the student's payments, and where to write or call if the student has questions;
  • The fees the student should expect during the repayment period, such as late charges and collection or litigation costs if delinquent or in default;
  • An explanation of available options for consolidating or refinancing the student's loan;
  • A statement that the student can repay his/her loan without penalty at any time.

The borrower has a responsibility to:

  • Understand that by signing the promissory note, the student is agreeing to repay the loan according to the terms of the note;
  • Make payments on the student loan even if the student does not receive a bill or repayment notice;
  • Make payments on the student loan even after applying for a deferment or forbearance, until notification that the request has been granted;
  • Notify the appropriate representative (institution, agency, or lender) that manages the student's loan when the student graduates, withdraws from school, or drops below half-time status; changes his/her name, address, or Social Security Number, or transfers to another institution.
  • Receive entrance counseling before being given the first loan disbursement, and receive exit counseling before leaving school.

Entrance and Exit Interview/Loan Counseling

The Department of Education requires that any students receiving Federal Direct loans be notified concerning their loans. The University counsels each student regarding loan indebtedness and gives each student an entrance test and mails an exit interview regarding the loan to make sure the student understands the amount borrowed and the student's rights and responsibilities regarding repayment. The student must report to the Student Accounts Office prior to withdrawal or graduation for loan counseling. The purpose of this session is to inform the student of their tentative total loans received while in attendance at the University, refunds that may be made, and to provide the student with an estimated payment schedule. If the student is unable to meet with the Student Finance Office, an exit interview will be mailed. Students are also informed of the option to conduct entrance and exit interviews online at NSLDS Student portal. Student must login using their personal identifiable information and FASFA PIN. Click here for access to the NSLDS Student portal.

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants can be awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. Pell Grants are considered a foundation of Federal financial aid, to which aid from other Federal and nonfederal sources might be added. The maximum Pell Grant award is determined each year through the Federal budgeting process. For the current maximum Pell Grant amount please visit this link https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/pell. The amount you will receive, however, will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) can provide additional grant money. You must be an undergraduate student enrolled at least half time to be eligible. The award is administered by the Student Financial Services office and is part of your overall aid package. The specific amount is based on your financial need, funding availability, and the amount of aid you are already receiving. Priority is given to students already receiving a Federal Pell Grant.

Federal Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study program provides part-time employment to students who need the earnings to offset the cost of their education. Students may work on or off campus for a qualified public, private or community service organization. Application for the Federal Work Study program may be made through the Student Accounts office and eligibility is based on financial need and the availability of funds. The University will attempt to place students in jobs related to their program of study, and work schedules will be arranged according to class schedules.