Financial Aid

Federal Loan Maximums

Loans are a common way for students to finance their education. Undergraduate Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan maximums adjust as a student progresses toward their degree and are different depending on the student's dependency status. 


Subsidized v. Unsubsidized

Eligibility is split between two versions of the same student loan. The title denotes if the government is subsidizing (paying) the interest on students' behalf while they are enrolled.

Unsubsidized loans are therefore interest-bearing while the student is enrolled. The student can elect to make interest-only payments while in school or allow the interest to capitalize onto the principal (resulting in being charged interest-on-interest when in repayment). Arrangements for paying interest only while enrolled can be made with your loan servicer.


Annual Loan Amounts

The chart below illustrates current maximum annual eligibility that is based on the student's current class level. Figures are maximum award amounts, and fees are taken out prior to disbursement on loan amount borrowed.

Maximum awards may also be limited by the budgeted cost of education and other aid awarded the student.

Dependent student annual loan limits.

Dependent Students
(except in cases of Parent PLUS denial)

Base Award1

Additional
Unsub
Eligibility

 Current
Combined Maximum

Freshman (up to 30 semester hours)

$3,500

$2,000

$5,500

Sophomore (30-59 semester hours)2

$4,500

$2,000

$6,500

Junior or Senior (60+ semester hours)

$5,500

$2,000

$7,500

Independent student ( and dependent student with a Parent PLUS denial) annual loan limits.

Independent  Students
(& Dependent Students with a Parent PLUS denial)

Base Award1

Additional
Unsub Eligibility

Current
Combined Maximum

Freshman (up to 30 semester hours)

$3,500

$6,000

$9,500

Sophomore (30-59 semester hours)2

$4,500

$6,000

$10,500

Junior or Senior (60+ semester hours)

$5,500

$7,000

$12,500

Graduate Student (as classified by academic program as long as 72 semester hours as an undergraduate are completed)

$8,5003

$12,000

$20,5004

  1. Subsidized (interest-free for the student while in school) loan, unsubsidized (interest-bearing) loan, or a combination of both based on eligibility determined by financial need.
  2. Students in associate degree programs cannot be classified higher than sophomore.
  3. Beginning July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students will no longer be eligible for in-school subsidy; the maximum $20,500 in borrowing will be made available to students in unsubsidized (interest-bearing while in school) loans based on eligibility.
  4. Pharmacy students are eligible for an annual maximum of $33,000 if 9 months and $37,167 if 12 months.

Loan funding is also influenced by your attendance. Students who attend year-round (particularly co-op students) should be aware of limited summer options and the possible need to reserve some loan funds for summer.


Reviewing Eligibility & Increasing the Loan

Loan awards are made using the best information on file at the time of awarding to project your appropriate class level and loan amount.

Once you have accepted any portion of your loan, your financial aid award offered amount will then reflect your accepted amount. Students who decline a portion of their loan may later ask to have their loan increased/reinstated if they remain eligible for the loan.

Undergraduate students who review their financial aid award and find their Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan combined amount is less than the "Current Combined Maximum" on the chart or who change class level mid-year may be eligible for additional funding. An exception would be for students whose total aid package has reached the budgeted cost of education.

Students may be able to increase their loans within the above described limits if they did not accept their full annual amount or they increase class level mid-year.  Consult One Stop Student Services (onestop@uc.edu; 513-556-1000; campus locations) to have eligibility evaluated.

Loan increases, when a student is deemed eligible, will appear as part of the award package within 5 business days. Please do not make multiple requests within a week's timeframe.


Aggregate Loan Limits

In addition to the above annual limits, students are limited in what they can borrow over their educational lifetime. The following chart details the federal limits to Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans.

Maximum lifetime borrowing limit based on dependency or academic program.

 

Subsidized
Aggregate Limit

Unsubsidized1
Aggregate Limit

Combined
Aggregate Limit

Dependent Undergraduate Student

$23,000

$8,000

$31,000

Independent Undergraduate Student (or Dependent Students with a current Parent PLUS denial)

$23,000

$34,500

$57,500

Graduate Student

$65,500

$73,000

$138,5002

  1. Or the combined aggregate limit based on Subsidized eligibility determined by financial need.
  2. Pharmacy Pharm D aggregate limit is $224,000.

Eligibility in these loan programs is based on official university classification and ceases when limits are met even if a student has not completed their academic program. Of particular concern are students who attend part-time but take out their full, annual loan eligibility. They can more easily borrow their lifetime limit in loans prior to completing their degree.

Limits are also cumulative and do not begin anew with a new degree program.

Students can check on their borrowing history by reviewing information contained within their Student Aid Report sent to you when you complete the FAFSA each year or by viewing your loan account information at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) accessed via the Federal Student Aid website.

Consider utilizing only part of your loan eligibility. By not fully borrowing, you save on your college debt.

Students going part-time or on co-op should strongly consider reducing reliance on loans with lower tuition costs so as not to use up their maximum aggregate amounts as quickly. Just because it is offered, does not mean you need to borrow it.

As well, think about reserving untapped loans as a rainy day fund. As long as you are continually enrolled fall-spring, you can request an increase at any time during the academic year should a financial emergency arise.

Students planning to attend summer should be aware of year-round loan disbursement rules.