Loan Programs

Federal Direct Stafford Loan

The unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program provides low-interest, long-term loans through the University. Funding for these loans comes from the U.S. Department of Education. Eligible students must be admitted and enrolled in good standing at least half-time (as defined by Financial Aid) in a program leading to a degree. If the student drops below half-time status during a semester, the remainder of the loan may be canceled. 

The amount students may borrow is determined by federal guidelines. The federal maximum that graduate students are allowed to borrow is $20,500 per academic year. Repayment normally begins six months following graduation or when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Payments and the length of the repayment period depend upon the size of the student's debt. Under special circumstances, repayment of a Federal Direct Stafford Loan that is not in default may be deferred or canceled. Repayment, deferment, and cancellation are handled by a federal loan servicer. If the student is eligible for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, one will be awarded. Students must accept, decline, or reduce the loan through their WINGS account. First-time borrowers of a Federal Direct Stafford Loan are required to complete entrance loan counseling and electronically sign a master promissory note.

The unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan can replace all or part of the family contribution. However, the amount of the loan may not be more than the difference between the cost of education and any financial assistance received from the school and any outside source.

The interest rate is variable but will not exceed 8.25 percent. Interest accrues on the unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan while the student is in school and during the six-month grace period before repayment begins. The student has the option of paying the interest monthly, quarterly, or having the interest added to the principal. A loan origination fee is deducted from each disbursement of an unsubsidized loan, but this fee does not reduce the amount required to repay. For additional information visit our website at

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Program is available for graduates and professional students.

To apply, students must:

  • Enroll as a Graduate or Professional Student in a degree-seeking program.
  • Complete the FAFSA.
  • Receive a determination of the maximum unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan.
  • Enroll at least half-time (four credit hours) for the semester.
  • Apply for a Graduate PLUS loan at
  • Pass a credit check completed by the Lender.
  • Meet all other Title IV Federal financial aid program requirements such as verification requirements, academic progress, and eligible citizenship categories.
  • The maximum loan amount for an academic year is determined by subtracting all financial aid (including Stafford loans) from the annual cost of attendance.

Private/Alternative Loans

 A private/alternative loan is a non-federal education loan through a private lender usually in the student's name that may require a co-signer. These loans are not subsidized and generally have different eligibility requirements, interest rates, repayment options and conditions. Because private/alternative loans vary, the Georgia Southern Financial Aid Office cannot provide the most accurate and useful information regarding these loans. We strongly suggest comparing interest rates, loan fees, and repayment options before applying.