Federal student loans have annual and aggregate limits on the maximum amounts that may be borrowed. These dollar limits are in addition to cost of attendance caps on the amounts that may be borrowed.

The loan limits depend on degree level, year-in-school and dependency status.

Historical Annual Federal Student Loan Limits

Historical annual loan limits differed for Federal Stafford loans and Federal PLUS loans.

Annual Federal Stafford Loan Limits

These tables show the historical overall annual loan limits for the Federal Stafford loan.

This table shows the overall annual loan limits for Federal Stafford loans to dependent students.

Effective Dates

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

7/1/2008 to the present

$5,500

$6,500

$7,500

$7,500

7/1/2007 to 6/30/2008

$3,500

$4,500

$5,500

$5,500

7/1/1996 to 6/30/2007

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

7/1/1994 to 6/30/1996

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

10/1/1993 to 6/30/1994

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

7/1/1993 to 9/30/1993

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

1/1/1987 to 6/30/1993

$2,625

$2,625

$4,000

$4,000

10/17/1986 to 12/31/1986

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

5/20/1977 to 10/16/1986

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$1,000

$1,500

$2,500

$2,500

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$1,500

$1,500

$1,500

$1,500

This table shows the overall annual loan limits for Federal Stafford loans to independent students.

Effective Dates

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

7/1/2008 to the present

$9,500

$10,500

$12,500

$12,500

7/1/2007 to 6/30/2008

$7,500

$8,500

$10,500

$10,500

7/1/1996 to 6/30/2007

$6,625

$7,500

$10,500

$10,500

7/1/1994 to 6/30/1996

$6,625

$7,500

$10,500

$10,500

10/1/1993 to 6/30/1994

$6,625

$7,500

$9,500

$9,500

7/1/1993 to 9/30/1993

$6,625

$7,500

$9,500

$9,500

1/1/1987 to 6/30/1993

$6,625

$6,625

$8,000

$8,000

10/17/1986 to 12/31/1986

$6,500

$6,500

$6,500

$6,500

This table shows the overall annual loan limits for Federal Stafford loans to graduate students.

Effective Dates

Graduate School

Medical School

7/1/2008 to the present

$20,500

$40,500

7/1/2007 to 6/30/2008

$20,500

$40,500

7/1/1996 to 6/30/2007

$18,500

$38,500

7/1/1994 to 6/30/1996

$18,500

$18,500

10/1/1993 to 6/30/1994

$12,500

$12,500

7/1/1993 to 9/30/1993

$11,500

$11,500

1/1/1987 to 6/30/1993

$11,500

$11,500

10/17/1986 to 12/31/1986

$11,500

$11,500

5/20/1977 to 10/16/1986

$5,000

$5,000

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$2,500

$2,500

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$1,500

$1,500

In addition to the overall Federal Stafford loan limits, there are also separate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans.

The loan limits for unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans are the same as the overall limits, minus any amounts received as a subsidized Federal Stafford loan.

This table shows the historical loan limits for subsidized Federal Stafford loans to undergraduate students. The subsidized loan limits for undergraduate students are the same for both dependent and independent students.

Effective Dates

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

7/1/2012 to the present

$3,500

$4,500

$5,500

$5,500

7/1/2007 to 6/30/2012

$3,500

$4,500

$5,500

$5,500

10/1/1993 to 6/30/2007

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

7/1/1993 to 9/30/1993

$2,625

$3,500

$5,500

$5,500

1/1/1987 to 6/30/1993

$2,625

$2,625

$4,000

$4,000

5/20/1977 to 12/31/1986

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

$2,500

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$1,000

$1,500

$2,500

$2,500

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$1,500

$1,500

$1,500

$1,500

This table shows the loan limits for subsidized Federal Stafford loans to graduate students.

Effective Dates

Graduate Students

7/1/2012 to the present

None

7/1/2007 to 6/30/2012

$8,500

10/1/1993 to 6/30/2007

$8,500

7/1/1993 to 9/30/1993

$7,500

1/1/1987 to 6/30/1993

$7,500

5/20/1977 to 12/31/1986

$5,000

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$2,500

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$1,500

Annual Federal PLUS Loan Limits

This table shows the historical loan limits for Federal Parent PLUS and Federal Grad PLUS loans.

Effective Dates

Annual Limit

7/1/1993 to present

Cost of Attendance minus Aid Received

10/17/1986 to 6/30/1993

$4,000

Historical Aggregate Federal Student Loan Limits

Aggregate loan limits may also be called cumulative loan limits.

Aggregate loan limits are sometimes incorrectly called lifetime loan limits. The difference is that once the aggregate limit is reached, eligibility may be restored by paying down the loan balance. Once a lifetime limit is reached, no further borrowing is permitted, even if the loan balance is repaid.

Federal student loans have aggregate limits, not lifetime limits.

Aggregate Federal Stafford Loan Limits

This table shows the historical aggregate loan limits for the Federal Stafford loan to undergraduate students.

Effective Dates

Undergraduate

Subsidized

Undergraduate

Overall

(Dependent)

Undergraduate

Overall

(Independent)

7/1/2008 to the present

$23,000

$31,000

$57,500

4/18/2008 to 6/30/2008

$23,000

$23,000

$46,000

7/1/1996 to 4/17/2008

$23,000

$23,000

$46,000

7/1/1994 to 6/30/1996

$23,000

$23,000

$46,000

10/1/1992 to 6/30/2008

$23,000

$23,000

 

1/1/1987 to 9/30/1992

$17,250

$17,250

 

10/1/1981 to 12/31/1986

$12,500

$12,500

 

1/1/1981 to 9/30/1981

$12,500

$12,500

$15,000

5/20/1977 to 12/31/1980

$7,500

$7,500

 

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$7,500

$7,500

 

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$9,000

$9,000

 

This table shows the historical aggregate loan limits for the Federal Stafford loan to graduate students. Note that aggregate limits for graduate students are expressed as a limit on the sum of undergraduate and graduate student loans.

Effective Dates

Graduate +

Undergraduate

Subsidized

Graduate +

Undergraduate

Combined

Medical

School

7/1/2008 to the present

$65,500

$138,500

$224,000

4/18/2008 to 6/30/2008

$65,500

$138,500

$224,000

7/1/1996 to 4/17/2008

$65,500

$138,500

$189,125

7/1/1994 to 6/30/1996

$65,500

$138,500

 

10/1/1992 to 6/30/2008

$65,500

 

 

1/1/1987 to 9/30/1992

$54,750

 

 

10/1/1981 to 12/31/1986

$25,000

 

 

1/1/1981 to 9/30/1981

$25,000

 

 

5/20/1977 to 12/31/1980

$15,000

 

 

6/1/1973 to 5/19/1977

$10,000

 

 

7/2/1967 to 5/31/1973

$9,000

 

 

 

This chart shows the sum of the first four years of annual Federal Direct Stafford loan limits, the aggregate loan limits and the college tuition index based on CPI-U.

Aggregate Federal PLUS Loan Limits

This table shows the historical aggregate loan limits for the Federal PLUS loan, including loans to parents of undergraduate students and loans to graduate students.

Effective Dates

Aggregate Limit

7/1/1993 to present

No Limit

10/17/1986 to 6/30/1993

$20,000