Lifetime Limits for Financial Aid

Stafford Loan Limits

The federal Stafford loan programs carry both annual and cumulative (lifetime) limits. Your SAR (Student Aid Report) lists your cumulative loans, but it is important that you also keep records of all your loan transactions. You can also look up your loan history online using NSLDS.

Annual Limits

Maximum Subsidized + Unsubsidized

Maximum
Subsidized

Dependent Freshman (completed 0-23 credits)

$5,500

$3,500

Dependent Sophomore (completed 24-53 credits)

$6,500

$4,500

Dependent Junior/Senior (completed 54+ credits)

$7,500

$5,500

Independent Freshman (completed 0-23 credits)

$9,500

$3,500

Independent Sophomore (completed 24-53 credits)

$10,500

$4,500

Independent Junior/Senior (completed 54+ credits)

$12,500

$5,500

Graduate/Professional (received BA degree working on Grad program)

$20,500

$0

Lifetime Limits

Maximum
Subsidized + Unsubsidized

Maximum
Subsidized **

Dependent Undergraduate

$31,000

$23,000

Independent Undergraduate

$57,500

$23,000

Graduate/Professional *

$138,500

$65,500

Medical

$224,000

$65,500

* The graduate debt limit includes loans received for undergraduate study.

** Graduate subsidized Stafford loans are no longer available as the federal government has ended the subsidized loan program for graduate students.

What happens if I reach my lifetime limit?

If you reach your lifetime loan limit, you cannot receive any more of that type of loan. If you exceed your limit, aid already disbursed will be billed back. You will have to find alternate ways to finance your education. Therefore it is to your advantage to borrow only what you need for educational expenses, and to keep track of your cumulative debt. Our counselors are happy to work with you to find ways to minimize your borrowing.

150% Subsidized Loan Limit

Below are the maximum lengths of time a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans for depending on their academic program. If a student reaches the 150% Subsidized Loan Limit, they are no longer eligible to borrow any additional Direct Subsidized loans. Also, if they continue attending, they will lose the interest subsidy on their previously borrowed loans beginning on the first day of continued enrollment.

Length of Degree Program

Maximum Eligibility Period

2 Years

3 Years

4 Years

6 Years

5 Years

7.5 Years

Lifetime Pell Grant Limits

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant.

You may view your percentage of Pell Grant used by logging into NSLDS.ed.gov. Your 'Lifetime Eligibility Used' percentage will be displayed in the 'Grants' section.

For more information on how lifetime eligibility is calculated, visit the Department of Education's Pell Lifetime Eligibility website.

Lifetime Maine Grant Limits

Students are able to receive the Maine State Grant Award for the equivalency of 5 years of full-time enrollment. The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) tracks students by assigning 2 points if paid as a full-time student and 1 point as a part-time student, the maximum amount of points a student can receive is 20 points.

Other programs may have lifetime limits - please see all programs you are eligible for to make sure you are within your eligibility limits.