Are There Limits to Student Loan Amounts?

Student Loans

As you begin to apply for postsecondary education, you may be wondering, “Is there a limit on student loans?” The answer is yes, there are student loan limits you should be aware of. The limit will depend on whether you’re a dependent undergrad, independent undergrad, or graduate student. Below we’ll explore the federal student loan limits in detail, so you can start to create a payment plan accordingly.

Current Federal Student Loan Limits (May 2019)

Dependent Undergrad: If you are under the age of 24 as of December 31 of the year in which you’ll be awarded your student loans, you’ll be considered a dependent undergraduate.

  • First Year Limit (0 – 29 Credits): $5,500, with no more than $3,500 in subsidized loans
  • Second Year Limit (29.1 – 59 Credits): $6,500, with no more than $4,500 in subsidized loans
  • Third, Fourth, and Fifth Year Limit (59.1+ Credits): $7,500, with no more than $5,500 in subsidized loans
  • Aggregate Limit (your entire time in college): $31,000, with no more than $23,000 in subsidized loans

Independent Undergrad: If you are at least 24 years old, are working beyond your bachelor’s degree, have legal dependents, are married, are a veteran, are currently serving on active duty, were emancipated as a child by a judge, or are homeless/at risk of homelessness, you are considered an independent undergraduate student.

  • First Year Limit (0 – 29 Credits): $9,500, with no more than $3,500 in subsidized loans
  • Second Year Limit (29.1 – 59 Credits): $10,500, with no more than $4,500 in subsidized loans
  • Third, Fourth, and Fifth Year Limit (59.1+ Credits): $12,500, with no more than $5,500 in subsidized loans
  • Aggregate Limit: $57,500, with no more than $23,000 in subsidized loans

Graduate or Professional: Graduate programs offer advanced studies in specific disciplines, resulting in a master’s degree or Ph.D. Professional programs prepare students for specific fields, such as law, medicine, and business. 

  • Annual Limit: $20,500 (unsubsidized only)
  • Aggregate Limit: $138,500, with no more than $65,500 in subsidized loans. (This includes all federal loans received during undergrad studies.)

Additional Student Loan Options

In addition to federal student loans, you can get additional funding for your education through direct PLUS loans and private lenders. 

  • Direct PLUS loans are only available to parents of dependent undergraduate students and graduate or professional students. The maximum limit for PLUS loans is derived from the school’s cost of attendance (tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks, supplies, etc.) minus the other financial aid you or your child is awarded. PLUS loans have higher interest rates, so you should max out your federal loan before using this option. 
  • Private student loan limits vary between lenders. As a general rule, though, the amount borrowed must not exceed the total cost of attendance for your school. Again, you should max out your federal student loans before opting for private student loans; you’ll be more protected if you need help paying off your student loans in the future, with income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs being an option only for federal loans.

Learn More at Xpress Cash

Have lingering questions surrounding student loans, like what happens if you don’t pay them after college or how to refinance them in the future? Contact Xpress Cash today or stop by one of our Michigan, Wisconsin, or Idaho locations to learn more. Our friendly staff of finance professionals will be more than happy to help.