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

  1. Go to https://studentaid.gov/  
  2. Click on Log in
  3. Sign in using your Federal Student Aid (FSA ID)
    1. Do not use your parent’s FSA ID.
    2. Create an FSA IDretrieve your username or reset your password.
  4. To complete the Entrance Counseling:
    1. Select the “ Loans and Grants” tab
    2. Then click on  “Loan Entrance Counseling”
    3. Click  “start” next to “I am an undergraduate student
    4. Add Lake Forest College and click “ Notify this school
    5. Complete all 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 “ Loans and Grants” tab
    3. Click on  “Master Promissory Note (MPN)”
    4. Then select “ Start” to complete  the MPN for  undergraduate students.
    5. Complete all five steps
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 Loan Change Form to reduce/increase or decline/accept 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.

Stafford Loan Basics

1.  The student is the borrower.

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

  • $5,500 Freshmen  (up to $3500 can be subsidized)
  • $6,500 Sophomores  (up to $4500 can be subsidized)
  • $7,500 Juniors & Seniors  (up to $5500 can be subsidized)

3.  Common characteristics of both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans for undergraduate students:

    A.  Fixed interest rates:

    • 6.53% for 2024-2025
    • 5.50% for 2023-2024
    • 4.99% for 2022-2023 
    • 3.73% for 2021-2022
    • 2.75% for 2020-2021
    • 4.53% for 2019-2020

        B.  Fees of  1.057% are deducted.

        C.  Repayment begins six months after graduation or falling below “half-time” status.

    4.  Differences between subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans:

       A.  Subsidized Stafford:

    • Need-based
    • Interest does not accrue while enrolled at least half-time

       B.  Unsubsidized Stafford:

    • Not need-based (available regardless of family income)
    • Interest does accrue while enrolled at least half-time

    Stafford Loans for Graduate Students:

    • Eligibility is limited to the unsubsidized Stafford loan, which is not need-based
    • Interest accrues while in school
    • Fixed interest rate of 8.08% for 2024-2025
    • Fees of 1.057% are deducted

    Learn More about Stafford Loans … and here.

    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
    VA Certifying Official

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