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Student Loan Programs

Student loans have varying repayment terms and interest rates and must be repaid. The interest rates listed below are the standard rates for the 2018-19 academic year; however, the promissory note is the final word on the correct rate.

For the class of 2010, 69.8 percent of students borrowed to help with educational costs. For undergraduates, the average amount borrowed by students was $26,343. The undergraduate median amount borrowed by students was $21,759.

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

This federally funded loan program is available to full- and part-time undergraduate students. The Federal Direct Stafford Loan program enables students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education, and repay to an approved Federal Student Aid Loan Servicer. MassArt's Office of Student Financial Assistance originates and processes the loan.

Repayment begins six months after the student graduates, withdraws from the college, or drops to less than half-time enrollment. In order to receive a Stafford Loan, a student must be enrolled for at least six credits per semester and must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

Application Process

In order to apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, students must file the annual FAFSA. Once the Office of Student Financial Assistance determines your eligibility for financial aid, then the Stafford Loan(s) for which you are eligible will be offered to you on your financial assistance letter.

Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized

The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is provided based on financial need. The federal government pays the interest on a subsidized loan while the student is enrolled in school for at least six credits per semester, and during authorized deferment periods. The current interest rate for undergraduate Subsidized Stafford Loans for the 2018-2019 school year is fixed at 5.05 percent. Rates vary from year to year.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is provided regardless of financial need. The student is responsible for the interest that accrues during all periods. During this time, students may either pay the accumulating interest or capitalize the interest. Capitalization means the unpaid interest will be added to the principal balance of the loan at the beginning of the repayment period. The current interest rate for undergraduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loans for the 2017-2018 school year is fixed at 4.45 percent. Rates vary from year to year.

For 2017-18, Federal Direct Stafford Loans have a 1.069 percent origination fee if disbursed on or after 10/1/16. For loans disbursed on or after 10/1/17, the origination fee is 1.066 percent. The origination fee is subtracted from the loan before disbursement.

Stafford Loan Instructions for New Borrowers >>

Undergraduate Federal Stafford Loan Limits

The aggregate Stafford Loan limit for a dependent student is $31,000 ($23,000 of which may be subsidized). The aggregate Stafford Loan limit for an independent student is $57,500 ($23,000 of which may be subsidized).

Grade Level
(Number of credits completed)
Dependent Student
Combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Independent Student
Combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized
First Year/Freshman
(0-29 credits completed)
$5,500
(no more than $3,500 may be subsidized)
 $9,500
(no more than $3,500 may be subsidized)
Second Year/Sophomore
(30-59 credits completed)
$6,500
(no more than $4,500 may be subsidized)
$10,500
(no more than $4,500 may be subsidized)
Third Year/Junior
(60-89 credits completed)
$7,500
(no more than $5,500 may be subsidized)
$12,500
(no more than $5,500 may be subsidized)
Fourth Year/Senior & beyond
(90 or more credits)
$7,500
(no more than $5,500 may be subsidized)
$12,500
(no more than $5,500 may be subsidized)

Massachusetts No Interest Loan (NIL)

This is a student loan offered to needy Massachusetts residents by MassArt's Office of Student Financial Assistance on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This loan requires repayment six months after the borrower graduates, withdraws, or drops to less than half-time, and there is absolutely no interest charged. Students awarded this loan must come to the Office of Student Financial Assistance to complete the necessary paperwork in September.

Alternative Loans (Private Loans)

If the aid a student has accepted does not cover the total cost of his/her education, then applying for a private student loan may help to fill the additional need.

Students' maximum eligibility for alternative loans is their costs of attendance less any other aid they have received. While the Office of Student Financial Assistance will process any private loan application, please visit our alternative loan programs page for suggestions.