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Federal Stafford Loans

The Stafford Loan is the most common of all federal student loans. The “subsidized” loan is awarded when you have financial need; the “unsubsidized” loan is awarded if you do not have financial need, or if your need has already been met by other types of financial aid.

Loans will appear on your billing statement after your enrollment is confirmed, and you have completed the necessary promissory note and entrance interview. The loan amount appearing on your Award Letter is the maximum amount allowed. In most cases you may borrow less than this amount. If you made an appeal for additional funds and received increased grant funds, you may be required to use all loans offered. 

First-time borrowers must complete both the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note.

How to apply, step-by-step

Follow these steps if you are a first time borrower:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Log in
  3. Sign in using your Federal Student Aid (FSA ID)
        •  Do not use your parent’s FSA ID.
        •  Go to to create an FSA ID, retrieve your FSA ID or reset your password.
  4. To complete the Entrance Counseling:
    1. Select the “Complete Aid Process” tab
    2. Then click on “Complete Entrance Counseling”
    3. Click “start”
    4. Add Lake Forest College and click “Notify this school
    5. Select student type: undergraduate and click “continue”
    6. Complete all six modules
  5. To complete the Stafford Master Promissory Note (MPN):
    1. Return to the home page by clicking on your name tab and select “dashboard”
    2. Select the “Complete Aid Process” tab
    3. Click on “Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)”
    4. Then select “Start” to complete the MPN for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students.
    5. Complete all five steps
  6. Print and save a copy for your records.
Important Information:
  • To accept a smaller loan, print your Award Letter, write in the amount you need and place your initials to the right. Return a copy of the award letter to Financial Aid. 
  • To decline a loan completely, print your Award Letter, draw a line through the loan and place your initials to the right. Return a copy of the Award Letter to Financial Aid. 
  • You may also use this Change of Loan Request Form to reduce/decline a loan.
What Happens Next?

The Office of Financial Aid will receive word that you have completed the Counseling and MPN.  After we certify the loan (confirm your eligibility) the loan funds will be sent to the College and applied to your tuition account.  You will receive a notice from the College’s Business Office when the funds have been applied to your account.

Is there a time limit on how long I can receive loans?

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is generally based on the published length of your current program.

Stafford Loan Basics

The student is the borrower.

The following limits apply to the combined total of subsidized and unsubsidized, borrowed in a year:

  • $5,500 Freshmen
  • $6,500 Sophomores
  • $7,500 Juniors & Seniors

Subsidized Stafford:

  • Need-based
  • No interest accrues while in school at least half-time
  • Fixed interest rates:
      3.73% for 2021-2022
      2.75% for 2020-2021
      4.53% for 2019-2020
      5.05% for 2018-2019
  • Fees of 1.057% are deducted
  • Repayment begins six months after graduation or falling below “half-time” status

Unsubsidized Stafford:

  • Not need-based
  • Interest accrues while in school
  • Fixed interest rates: 
    3.73% for 2021-2022
    2.75% for 2020-2021
    4.53% for 2019-2020
      5.05% for 2018-2019
  • Fees of 1.057% are deducted
  • Repayment begins six months after graduation or falling below “half-time” status

Stafford Loans for Graduate Students:

  • Your eligibility for Unsubsidized loans is not need-based
  • Interest accrues while in school
  • Fixed interest rate of 5.28% for 2021-2022
  • Fees of 1.057% are deducted

Learn More…

Contact Financial Aid

Phone and Fax



Patterson Lodge, 2nd Floor
Middle Campus, Map


8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Jerry Cebrzynski
Associate Vice President for Financial Aid

Mark Anderson
Associate Director

Adriana Rodriguez
Associate Director for Financial Aid Operations

Si necesita hablar con alguien en español en la oficina de ayuda financiera, usted puede llamar a Adriana Rodriguez.