Information and university updates about COVID-19 and CARES Act Funds.

Aerial view of Brookside during sunrise.


Federal Loans

The University administers the following federal loans, which are managed by the U.S. Department of Education. These low-interest loans are issued to parents or students and must be repaid. Eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be submitted annually.

Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans

Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans are based on need and determined by family income. The government pays interest on the loan while the student is enrolled.

  • Fixed interest rate for undergraduate borrowers (2020-2021 academic year): 2.75%

Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans

Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based and not restricted by family income. Borrowers pay interest semiannually while in school or add the interest to the amount borrowed at the time of repayment.

  • Fixed interest rate for undergraduate borrowers (2020-2021 academic year): 2.75%
  • Fixed interest rate for graduate borrowers (2020-2021 academic year): 4.30%

Parent PLUS Loans

Parent PLUS Loans assist parents of dependent students. Eligibility is determined by credit (not financial need). Repayment begins 30-60 days of disbursement. Deferment of payments while the student is enrolled may be requested by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center.

  • Interest rates are established each year with a cap of 10.5%.
  • PLUS loans borrowed between October 1, 2020 and October 1, 2021 have an origination fee of 4.236%.
  • The fixed interest rate for borrowers (2020-2021 academic year): 5.30%

Grad PLUS Loans

Grad PLUS Loans enable graduate students (who are enrolled ½ time) to borrow up to the cost of their education minus any other financial aid. Repayment is deferred while the student is  enrolled at least half time, though interest will accrue after full disbursement of the loan. Prior to applying, applicants must complete a FAFSA and apply for the maximum annual loan eligibility through the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program.

  • PLUS loans borrowed between October 1, 2020 and October 1, 2021 have an origination fee of 4.236%.
  • The fixed interest rate for borrowers (2020-2021 academic year): 5.30%

Private Loans

We recommend families access all federal loan options before considering alternate lenders. If, however, the federal funds received do not cover the cost of the education, families may want to consider private loans. USF has no affiliation with any private lenders.

Though we encourage students to utilize Federal Work Study Employment opportunities and summer earnings to finance their education, we realize there are some situations where students need to borrow beyond this. It is our goal to help each student understand the financial obligations they commit themselves to when borrowing. When selecting a private loan lender, carefully examine the rates and terms associated with the loan. The borrower’s and/or co-borrower’s credit will be examined to determine approval of the loan. Eligibility of the loan amount applied for will be determined by cost of education minus the total of financial aid received.

A Few Things to Note

  • The student can apply for the loan on their own if he/she is credit-worthy. Otherwise, the student will need a credit-worthy co-signer
  • Students may borrow up to total cost of attendance minus other aid received.
  • Interest rates can be fixed (set for duration of loan) or variable (fluctuate with the market) and will depend on the borrower’s credit rating
  • Be sure of the interest rate and any associated fees before accepting a loan
  • Payments are deferred as long as the student remains enrolled at least half-time. Interest does accrue while in school. The student is strongly encouraged to pay the interest while enrolled.
  • Your Rights

Per the Truth in Lending Act, private lenders must disclose the following forms and information.

  • Application and Solicitation Disclosure: Notification of your starting interest rate and the interest rate during the lifetime of the loan; provided when an application is initiated
  • Borrower Self-Certification Form: Each private loan lender must obtain a signed and completed self-certification form from the borrower before disbursements can be made.
  • Loan Approved Disclosure: Provides information about the loan’s terms; is sent after credit is approved. The borrower must accept the loan term within 30 days of receipt of this document in order for the application to proceed.
  • Final Disclosure: Sent after the borrower has accepted the terms of the loan and after USF has certified the loan amount (occurs prior to disbursement).

To Start: Assess Your Options

The following tools allow you to compare loan rates and options.