U.S. Loan Limits & Calculation of Loan Amounts

The maximum amount you can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans depends on your grade level and on whether you are an independent student or dependent student. The table below shows the maximum amount of money (in US currency) you may borrow each academic year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. 

 
 
The actual loan amount that you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by the school (see ' How Does the School Determine Financial Need?' below) and students may receive much less than the maximum annual amounts shown in the chart below. Please also note that Federal Pell Grants are not available outside of the U.S.
 
Annual Loan Limits:

  Dependent student1 Independent student2
1st-year undergraduate $5,500 (max. $3,500 subsidized) $9,500 (max. $3,500 subsidized)3
2nd-year undergraduate $6,500 (max. $4,500 subsidized) $10,500 (max. $4,500 subsidized)
3rd- and 4th-year undergraduate $7,500 (max. $5,500 subsidized) $12,500 (max. $5,500 subsidized)
Graduate/professional

Not applicable (All graduate/professional students are considered independent.)

$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

1 Except those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
2 These limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
3 The numbers in parentheses represent the maximum amount that may be subsidized.


 

How Does the School Determine Financial Need?

 

Your eligibility for aid depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your year in school, your enrolment status, and the cost of attendance at the school you will be attending. Our office will tell you how much you can receive once we've calculated all of your costs after receiving your financial information.

For more information on eligibility, look at Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid  (please note that this is a publication that includes Federal Pell Grants and Federal Work-Study programs which are NOT available in Canada)

 

 


 

Aggregate (Maximum) Loan Limits

Below are the aggregate (total) limits for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:

  • $31,000 for dependent undergraduate students excluding those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS Loan (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
  • $57,500 for independent undergraduate students and dependent undergraduates whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)
  • $138,500 for graduate or professional students (no more than $65,500 may be subsidized; includes loans for undergraduate study)

These aggregate limits include both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and any subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans received through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

With a Direct PLUS Loan, a graduate/professional student or the parent of a dependent student can borrow up to the cost of the student's attendance minus other financial aid the student receives.