Navegó a una página que no está disponible en español en este momento. Seleccione el enlace si desea ver otro contenido en español.

Página principal

About Federal Student Loans

It pays to understand your college financing options.

Note: As of July 1, 2010, Wells Fargo and other private lenders no longer offer federal student loans. If you obtained a federal student loan through Wells Fargo before July 1, 2010, and would like to learn about repaying that loan, please see our Federal Loan Repayment page.

When it comes to financing your education, carefully consider all of your options, including grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by schools to determine your eligibility for federal student loans and other federal, state, and school aid. We encourage you to complete the FAFSA online at fafsa.ed.gov.

After you complete the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) will mail you a Student Aid Report (SAR). When you get the SAR you can check it for accuracy and errors. The SAR doesn’t tell you how much aid you’ll get. The DOE sends the information from your FAFSA to the schools you list on the FAFSA. The schools you’ve been accepted to will use that information to send your award letters.

The federal loans described on this page are all guaranteed by the federal government. They are made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which means students or parents borrow the money directly from the DOE. Each of the loans has a fixed interest rate.

The federal Stafford Loan is one of the most affordable federal student loans and most students qualify for it.

Depending on your financial need, you qualify for subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Some students qualify for both. Federal Stafford Loans can be used for tuition and other eligible expenses.

The amount you can borrow varies, based on:

  • Your year in school
  • Your designation as financially dependent or independent
  • Whether you are receiving subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, or both
  • In some cases, whether your parents qualify for the federal PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent students can take out a federal PLUS Loan for parents.

The PLUS Loan for parents can be used to cover education expenses. Parents can borrow up to the full cost of attendance, less any other aid the student is receiving. The parent must be the student's biological or adoptive parent, or the student's stepparent if the biological or adoptive parent has remarried at the time of application. Applicants need to meet credit criteria in order to receive the loan. 

The federal PLUS Loan for graduate and professional degree students is a low fixed interest rate loan.

This loan is not based on need, and applicants need to meet credit criteria in order to receive the loan. Students can use this loan to cover up to the cost of their graduate school needs, including tuition, room and board, supplies, and lab expenses, less any other aid.

A federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional financial need.

Unlike the federal Stafford Loan and federal PLUS Loan, the federal Perkins Loan is made through a school's financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. You must repay this loan to your school.

Financial need is determined by the DOE, using a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the financial information reported by the student on the FAFSA.