Staffords, PINs, and Selecting Colleges

In this edition...
  • Explanation of the Stafford Loans
  • Getting the All Powerful PIN
  • Tips on selecting colleges
Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans are the most common form of college financial aid. If you complete the FAFSA (acts as the Stafford Loan application), your student is virtually guaranteed to receive one of the two types of Stafford Loans. Dependent students can borrow the following under the Stafford program...
  • Freshmen: $5,500
  • Sophomores: $6,500
  • Juniors: $7,500
  • Seniors: $7,500
Independent students can borrow the following under the Stafford program...
  • Freshmen: $9,500
  • Sophomores: $10,500
  • Juniors: $11,500
  • Seniors: $11,500
Stafford loans are divided into two types: subsidized and unsubsidized. The Department of Education determines which of these loans you will receive based upon the information on your FAFSA.

Subsidized Staffords are no interest and no payments while your student is in college. Interest rates on subsidized Staffords are based upon the year the money is disbursed as follows:
  • July 1st 2008: 6.0%
  • July 1st 2009: 5.6%
  • July 1st 2010: 4.5%
  • July 1st 2011: 3.4%
Unsubsidized Staffords are no payments while your student is in college, but interest accumulates. The current interest rate for the unsubsidized Stafford is 6.8%.

Both Stafford loans require repayment 6 months after graduation, after leaving school, or after dropping below half-time student status.

The All-Powerful PIN

Filing your FAFSA online is the only way we at CFS would recommend it be done. In order to sign your FAFSA electronically, both the student and one of the parent's need to have a FAFSA PIN (personal identification number). Check out the video below for more information.



You can file for a FAFSA PIN at this website, The PIN Website.

College Selection Help

CFS always recommends applying to 6 to 10 colleges. Here is some more great advice on how to select colleges.