The federal government restricts the amount a student may borrow in federal loans, both on an annual and aggregate basis. Please review the following for guidelines related to loan limits:

Undergraduate Students: Direct Loan Maximums*

Grade Level  Dependent Undergraduate Student  Independent Undergraduate Student
Year 1* (0-44 credits) $5,500—Up to $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—Up to $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Year 2* (45-89 credits) $6,500—Up to $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—Up to $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Years 3–4* (90 + credits) $7,500—Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Lifetime Maximum Total Debt from Stafford and Direct Loans (in each status) $31,000—Only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500—Only $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized loans.

*Dependent undergraduate students whose parents have been denied a Federal Parent Loan are eligible to borrow at the independent undergraduate level. Students in undergraduate certificate programs or who are in the last two terms of their academic program may be eligible for reduced amounts due to required prorating.

Graduate Students: Direct Loan Maximums

  Per Academic Year  Lifetime Maximum Total Debt from Direct Loans
Graduate (Master’s, EdS, Doctoral, Post-Doctoral, Graduate Certificate) Students $20,500 $138,500—Only $65,500 of this amount may be subsidized loans.
Note: The graduate debt limit includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.
Students Enrolled in Preparatory Courses for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Dependent Students $7,500—Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Note: Students are eligible for this loan for one consecutive 12-month period.
$31,000—Only $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized loans.
Independent Students $12,500—Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Note: Students are eligible for this loan for one consecutive 12-month period.
$57,500—Only $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized loans.

Annual Loan Limits

The federal government limits the total and annual amount of Federal Direct Loans that you can borrow. Walden University defines its annual award year as three quarters or three semesters for course-based programs. For Tempo Learning® Programs, the annual borrowing limit is based on the minimum weeks and semester equivalencies in the program’s financial aid academic year and students cannot borrow a new annual loan limit until both requirements are met. Students cannot exceed the annual Direct Loan maximums in the award year. Loans borrowed at a prior institute can impact your eligibility at Walden. The Office of Financial Aid may ask students to provide additional information about prior loans in order to process new loans at Walden.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

  • Undergraduate annual borrowing ranges from $3,500–$5,500, depending on year in school and EFC.   

Time Limitation on Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility for First-Time Borrowers on or After July, 2013

The federal government has placed a new time limit on Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for first- time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. A first-time borrower is someone with no outstanding student loan debt as of July 1, 2013. In general, a first-time borrower may not receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of the bachelor’s degree or undergraduate certificate programs as measured in academic years. This is called the “maximum eligibility period.” For the Walden bachelor’s degree programs, the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan maximum eligibility period is 6.5 academic years. For the Undergraduate Certificate in Homeland Security, the limit is 1.5 academic years. An academic year is 3 quarters. Prior subsidized usage will count toward the students’ maximum.

Click here for more information: http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/051613DirectSubsidizedLoanLimit150PercentAnnounce1.html

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • Undergraduate annual borrowing ranges from $5,500–$12,500 (less Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility), depending on year in school and dependency status.
  • Graduate student annual borrowing maximum is $20,500.
  • Graduate PLUS Loans and Parent PLUS Loans are also processed based on three quarters or three semesters per award year. They are limited annually by the cost of attendance minus any financial aid received.
  • Teacher Preparation Students or Endorsement Students who do not choose the MS degree option have a borrowing maximum of $12,500.
  • Students enrolled in Preparatory Courses for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) have a borrowing maximum of $12,500.

All graduate student loans are unsubsidized for loan periods that began on or after July 1, 2012.

Lifetime Aggregate Loan Limits

The federal government limits the aggregate amount of Federal Direct Loans that you can borrow in your lifetime. The lifetime aggregate limits for federal student loans (Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Direct Loan Program) are as follows:

  • Graduate students: $138,500 combined (only $65,500 may be subsidized; includes amounts borrowed as an undergraduate student).
  • Dependent undergraduate students: $31,000 combined (only $23,000 may be subsidized).
  • Independent undergraduate students: $57,500 combined (only $23,000 may be subsidized).
  • Parent PLUS Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans do not have a lifetime maximum.

Student loan borrowers are responsible for knowing the total amount of federal loans they have borrowed. Having sufficient remaining eligibility is important in order for you to successfully complete your academic program. A summary of your federal loan debt is available via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Exceeding Annual or Aggregate Loan Limits

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) may indicate that you have inadvertently borrowed in excess of the Federal Direct Loan limits. For example, a prior institution may have inadvertently allowed a student to borrow federal undergraduate loans in excess of undergraduate limits while not exceeding the graduate loan limits. Before Walden can award graduate-level Federal Direct Loans to the student, the student must reaffirm the debt by either consolidating the prior loans that exceed the limits or by obtaining a reaffirmation letter from the holder of the loans. Another example would be if a prior institution inadvertently allowed a student to exceed graduate loan limits. Before Walden can award Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, the student must reaffirm the debt by either consolidating the prior loans that exceed the limits or by obtaining a reaffirmation letter from the holder of the loans.

Do you have questions about financial aid? If you haven’t yet applied to Walden, please contact an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 in the United States. If you are a current student, please contact a financial aid advisor at finaid@mail.waldenu.edu or call 1-800-WALDENU (1-800-925-3368).

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