Aggregate Loan Limits: Federal and Private Student Loans

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There is a life-time cap for student loan eligibility. It is referred to as the “Aggregate Limit”.This is the point where a student is no longer eligible to receive any more loan funding. They are maxed out. It’s basically the same as having a max limit on a credit card. Lenders simply establish a maximum amount and will not lend any further than that.


The Federal Direct Loans Program limits

As indicated above, aggregate limit can be affected by Parent PLUS loan denials. If the Parent is credit denied for a Parent PLUS loan, the student becomes eligible for an additional $4,000 in unsubsidized Stafford loans as a Freshman or Sophomore, or if they are Junior or Senior status they are eligible for an additional $5,000 in unsubsidized Stafford loans. Because of this additional feature to the Federal loan program, aggregate limits had to be adjusted.


What about private student loans?

Private loans have program guidelines including aggregate loan limits.

A private lender will have a maximum lifetime loan limit that can be provided to a student from their specific private loan program, but will also have a separate aggregate limit to account for all other federal and private student loans that may have been applied for as well. A student may borrow from several different lenders, but eventually they will reach a maximum aggregate limit of all loans combined, and would no longer be eligible for additional private loans based on company policy. This policy will vary from different private lenders.


Avoid over borrowing: Just because you have a maximum aggregate limit does not mean you should borrow up to that amount in loans. These limits are put in place to stop borrowers from continually borrowing. At some point, a student needs to just start paying the debt back. Borrowers should focus on using as little loans as possible while attending school, and begin aggressively repaying loans even while still attending.


That being said, areas like the medical field may require extensive training and years of schooling. For that reason, they are eligible for additional federal loans above and beyond other graduate degree programs. Their aggregate limit has been extended.