Tufts University Financial Aid
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Graduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans


If you wish to borrow a Federal Direct Loan that is not already part of your current award package, please contact your aid counselor to determine eligibility. Loan details provided by the government can be found on their website here. The Federal Student Loan Support phone line is: (800) 557-7394.

If you wish to decline a Direct Stafford Loan which you have received at Tufts, simply send your request in an email to: studentservices@ase.tufts.edu

To see how much you have already borrowed in federal loans,  please log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).


Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan

The Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan is a federally subsidized loan, which means that there are no interest charges while you are enrolled at least half time, and for six months after you leave school or drop below half time. This six month period is called a grace period. 

Elimination of the subsidy on Direct Stafford Loans made to graduate students: Effective for loans originated on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students will no longer receive Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans. The total amount that students can borrow per year remains at $20,500, however the full amount will be unsubsidized.

Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan

Any student ineligible for a Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan may borrow an Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan.  Unsubsidized means that all interest charges for this loan are the responsibility of the borrower. The interest rate for the 2014-15 year is 5.84%. The 15-16 loan fee is 1.073%. New loans made on or after October 1, 2015 will have a fee of 1.068%.Loan limits are shown below.  Borrowers can choose to make interest payments by checking off the appropriate box on the Master Promissory Note.  You may choose to capitalize the interest (add interest charges to the amount owed) but this will significantly increase the total amount of your debt burden at repayment. 


Here is a link to details about  Deferments.  You must contact your loan servicer to obtain a deferment of your loans.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Limits

The Department of Education sets annual and aggregate (i.e. lifetime) limits on the amount of debt a student can obtain from the federal government. The chart below summarizes the current limits for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan.

Grade Level Annual Amount Lifetime Limit
Graduate Student

$20,500—No more than $8,500 of this amount may be in the form of a Subsidized Loan.

*As of July 1, 2012, Subsidized Direct Loans will be eliminated for graduate students.

$138,500—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in the form of a Subsidized loan.

Direct Stafford Loan Application Process

If you are a first time Direct Stafford Loan borrower you must complete a two step electronic process:  1)  submit a Master Promissory Note, and 2)  complete Entrance Loan Counseling.  Please be aware that failure to complete either step will result in cancellation of your loan.

1.  Complete the Master Promissory Note.

A Master Promissory Note (MPN) needs to be completed only once while at Tufts. It will take approximately 30 minutes.

      a.  You will need a valid e-mail address, and must have the PIN given to you when you completed your Free Application     for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you have lost your PIN go to www.pin.ed.gov to have it sent to you electronically.

      b.  Have on hand the names, addresses and phone numbers of two people (friend or family) that will be required as references.

2.  Complete Entrance Counseling (NOT Financial Awareness Counseling).
First time loan borrowers must go here to complete the government required loan counseling. Graduate Students who borrow both Direct Stafford and PLUS loans will click on the Combination link.  If you complete the Stafford counseling only, and then choose to borrow PLUS, you must then return again to complete the Combination counseling.  For this reason we encourage all Graduate student borrowers to complete the Combination counseling initially to save time and simplify the process.

Loans will not be disbursed until the two step process has been completed.


Edited 02/07/2014
  Financial Services - Financial Aid, Dowling Hall 7th Floor, Tufts University, Medford, MA,  02155  |  Tel: (617) 627-2000  |  Email