Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford loans are made through the William D. Ford federal direct-loan program and comprise direct-subsidized and direct-unsubsidized loans.

Federal direct-subsidized student loans are need-based. The federal government pays the interest that accrues on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half time and during the six-month grace period. Only undergraduate students are eligible for subsidized loans per federal regulations. While interest does not accrue initially, if the student was a first-time borrower as defined by the Department of Education on July 1, 2013, or thereafter, and attends school for longer than 150 percent of the length of the published program, interest will begin to accrue at that time. 

Federal direct unsubsidized student loans are not need-based. All students who meet general eligibility requirements may qualify. The student is responsible for all interest that accrues while he or she is enrolled at least half time. Interest begins to accumulate from the date of the first loan disbursement and is billed quarterly. Students may choose to pay the interest that accumulates or have it capitalized. Paying the interest as it accumulates will reduce the amount of interest that must be repaid.


Students must be enrolled in a degree program at least half time to be eligible for student loans. Application for student loans are made by filling out and submitting the FAFSA. Basic eligibility requirements must be met, as determined by the federal government. A 1.059 percent origination fee is deducted from the loan before it is disbursed and paid to the U.S. Department of Education for loans that are first disbursed between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020. As a result, while the borrower repays 100 percent of what he or she borrows, plus interest, only 98.941 percent will be received, which can be applied toward the tuition bill.  If a student has paid his or her bill in full before the loan disbursement is processed, the loan money will be given as a refund and can be used for other educational expenses, such as books, supplies, travel, or living expenses. 

A 1.057 percent origination fee for all Stafford loans and a 4.228 percent origination fee for all PLUS loans is paid to the U.S. Department of Education for loans first disbursed between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021.

Direct loan servicing provides online access using the FSA ID to access information on existing direct loan(s), including account information, loan balance, change of address capability and account management. Direct-loan forms, including the entrance-loan counseling form and loan agreement form (MPN), are available here as well.

Loan borrowers should be aware that federal loan(s) will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system. Note that the length of the program the student is engaged in will be reported in months, since we have a nontraditional student population, in which students are not limited to a full-time fall/full-time spring enrollment pattern.

To apply for federal direct loans, complete the FAFSA, the entrance-loan counseling form and the Federal Loan Agreement for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN). The FAFSA needs to be renewed annually.

Effective July 1, 2013, subsidized loan eligibility for new borrowers is limited to the equivalent of six years for students in a bachelor’s program and the equivalent of three years for students in an associate program.

Note: If you received a Direct Subsidized Loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period.  If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

Learn more about the federal direct loan program:

Contact Us


Fax: 518-580-4863

Mailing Address: 
Empire State College
Financial Aid
111 West Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Questions? Contact the Student Information Center at 518-587-2100 or 800-847-3000.


Code: 010286
Name: SUC Empire State College

TAP Codes

Undergraduate Associate: 0916

Undergraduate Bachelor's: 0913

Graduate: 5680 (for graduate students applying for Veteran Tuition Awards)


If you are attending the fall 2020 term, the deadline to have all financial aid applications, additional financial aid requirements/documents and appeals submitted and any student loans accepted is July 31, 2020 in order ensure the processing of your aid eligibility by the fall payment deadline.

For students planning to enroll beginning in summer 2020, fall 2020 or spring 2021, the 2020-2021 FAFSA application is now available to complete.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files on this site. If Acrobat Reader is not installed on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe's site. If you are still unable to view the file, please contact us at financialaid@esc.edu or call 800-847-3000.