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Stafford Loans

The federal government operates three main student loan programs for postsecondary education: (1) Stafford loans, (2) PLUS loans, and (3) Perkins loans. Stafford loans, named after former Republican senator Robert T. Stafford of Vermont, are the federal government’s largest loan program, accounting for approximately 80% of annual student loan volume. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to take out these loans, up to a maximum limit set by Congress. Stafford loans are financed via two different mechanisms: (1) direct loans (DLs) or (2) guaranteed student loans (GSLs). DLs are those that the U.S. Department of Education issues directly to students. GSLs are issued through third-party lenders (e.g., banks, credit unions, etc.) and are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government. ...

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