Students must be admitted as "degree-seeking" and must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify for federal student loans.
Please also note that all awards are subject to individual student eligibility and fund availability. Borrowing should be done conservatively to avoid heavy loan debt and the potential for default.
Recently, changes were enacted at the federal level that affect the student loan process. Read more about these changes here.
Federal Stafford Loan
Federal Stafford loans are fixed-rate federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half-time.
Subsidized Stafford Loans
Subsidized is a need-based loan program in which the government pays the interest that accrues during the student's period of enrollment.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Unsubsidized is a non-need-based loan program in which the interest accrues while the student is attending. The student has the option of paying the interest while in school on a monthly or quarterly basis or deferring the interest until repayment begins. This accrued interest will be capitalized.
Repayment of the Federal Stafford Loan can be deferred up to 6 months upon graduation, leaving the university, or dropping below half-time attendance. This loan is repaid through the lender. All Stafford Loans have a fixed interest rate with a cap of 8.25%.
The following details the maximum annual amounts, if eligible, that you can borrow at each grade level.
- $3,500 / year for Freshmen
- $4,500 / year for Sophomores
- $5,500 / year for Juniors/Seniors
As of July 1, 2008 all students qualify for an additional $2,000 of unsubsidized Stafford funds under the new federal funding limits.
A dependent undergraduate may borrow up to $31,000, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized.
Independent undergraduates can borrow an additional $4,000 at the freshman / sophomore level and $5,000 at the junior / senior level.
An independent undergraduate can borrow up to $57,500 of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized.
- $20,500 / year
**Graduate/Professional Student Reminder: The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan for graduate and professional students, effective July 1, 2012. This will not affect previous subsidized loans. Graduate/Professional Students will still be eligible for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loan funds per academic year as determined by other eligibility factors.
Graduate or professional students may accrue up to $138,500 ($65,500 subsidized and $73,000 unsubsidized), which includes undergraduate loans.
Federal Perkins Loan
Administered by the University of Tennessee, Perkins Loans are awarded to students with exceptional need with priority given to Federal Pell Grant recipients. Listed below are the maximum annual amounts:
- $4,000 / year for undergraduates
- $6,000 / year for graduates
The aggregate limit for an undergraduate is currently $20,000 and $40,000 for graduate/professional students. Repayment is deferred for up to 9 months upon graduation, leaving the university or dropping below half-time attendance. The Perkins Loan interest rate is fixed at 5% and repayment is coordinated by the UT Bursar's Office.
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
PLUS loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow to pay the educational expenses of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time (6 hours). The interest rate is fixed, but it will never exceed 9%. Repayment generally begins 60 days after the final disbursement for the academic year. Parents interested in applying for a PLUS Loan should visit www.studentloans.gov.
If a parent is denied for a PLUS loan, the dependent student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized Stafford loan funds for that academic year.
Graduate Student PLUS Loans
Graduate and professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the GRAD PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate/Professional PLUS loans. These requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history. Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.
Alternative student loans are made through private lending institutions and are not part of federal loan programs. We encourage you to first look into federal loan programs before applying for a private loan. If you are ineligible for federal government loans or have already exhausted government sources, private loans can help offset the difference between educational expenses and federal loans. There are many private loan options and it is to your benefit to research and find the loan that best meets your specific needs. Please remember that final approval for your loan resides with your lender and not the University of Tennessee. Information on UT's annual cost of attendance can be found here.
Two helpful links to research alternative student loans: http://www.studentlendinganalytics.com/alternative_loan_options.html and http://www.studentlendinganalytics.com/images/SLA-2009-Private-Loan-Guide.pdf
The first step in applying for student loans, grants, and federal work study is to complete the FAFSA. After the University of Tennessee reviews your FAFSA results, we will determine your eligibility for federal student loans.
Direct Student Loans
Is a Student Loan the best option for you? If so, please click here for more information on the Direct Loan Program .
115 Student Services Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0210
Telephone: (865) 974-3131
FAX: (865) 974-2175