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Thinking of Borrowing? Know Your Loan Limits

It’s important to remember that regardless of the financial cost of your education, there are annual and aggregate Federal Direct Loan limits for undergraduate and graduate students.

Please refer to the following chart outlining the annual and aggregate Federal Direct Loan Limits:

Annual Loan Limits for Dependent Student
Grade Level by Credits
Combined Base Limit For Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans
Total 
Freshman (0-29)
$3,500
$2,000
$5,500
Sophomore (30-59)
$4,500
$2,000
$6,500
Junior/Senior (60+)
$5,500
$2,000
$7,500
Annual Loan Limits for Independent Students
Grade Level by Credits
Combined Base Limit For Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Additional Limit for Unsubsidized Loans
Total
Freshman (0-29)
$3,500
$6,000
$9,500
Sophomore (30-59)
$4,500
$6,000
$10,500
Junior/Senior (60+)
$5,500
$7,000
$12,500
Teacher Certification
$5,500
$7,000
$12,500
Annual Loan Limits for Graduate and Professional Students
Graduate 
N/A
N/A
$20,500 (Unsubsidized loan only)
 
 
Lifetime Maximum Loan Limits 
Dependent students:  Maximum SUB $23,000  $31,000 Total  
Independent Students:  Maximum SUB $23,000  $57,500 Total 
Graduate  Maximum SUB $65,500**  $138,500 Total 

  **As of July 1, 2012 graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans.

Note: If you indicated on your FAFSA that you will be a graduate student, you will need to submit the GRADMT form to the Office of Financial Aid so we may award your Federal Direct Loans according to the graduate level aggregate limits. This form may be downloaded and printed at our Forms page.

Don’t over-borrow

Over-borrowing or going into EXCESS of your aggregate loan limits will prevent you from receiving any Federal Student Aid! In order to regain financial aid eligibility, you must make satisfactory arrangements with your loan holder and turn in the appropriate documentation to our office. Acceptable documentation may include but is not limited to:

-Payment confirmation from your loan servicer that you have paid the excess amount
-Loan Summary Sheet from Direct Loans confirming you have consolidated all loans that were in excess

To review your loan amounts and determine your loan holder, you must log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by visiting www.nslds.ed.gov.

Transfer Student? Know your loan limits

As a transfer student, it is your responsibility to know your annual loan limits for Federal Direct Loans and have all pending disbursements cancelled at your previous school before transferring to MSU Denver. This ensures a more accurate award package.

Before accepting a Federal Direct Loan at MSU Denver, you must inform the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships of any disbursements you received at another school during the academic year. Failure to notify our office of any loans you received at another school during the year can result in your existing loans being reduced and billed in order to keep within the annual loan limits. This could result in a balance owed (by you) to MSU Denver.

To avoid being over-awarded at MSU Denver, please follow these simple steps:

  • Cancel any pending financial aid disbursements at your previous school before transferring
  • Download an Overlapping Loan Clearance Letter (OVERLP) on our Forms page and have it filled out by a financial aid administrator at your previous school.
  • If you are unable to get the OVERLP form filled out by your previous school, have your financial aid administrator email our office at finaid@msudenver.edu to confirm how much aid you received and that all pending disbursements are cancelled. 

Note: Your previous school may also contact us directly by looking up our contact info on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).