July 15, 2021

What Is the Maximum Student Loan Amount for a Lifetime?


Any student loan provider limits the amount of student loans you can borrow to help fund your education. You may already know that there are annual limits to the student loans you can borrow in a year. Relatedly, lifetime student loans are the max student loan amounts you can borrow from a student loan provider.

Whether you are getting a federal or private student loan, it pays to know how much you can borrow, so you can reassess all your financial options. Knowing the lifetime limit amount helps you keep your budget in check to avoid hitting the max student loan amount before you can begin repaying. Here are the different student loan limits for federal and private student loans.

Federal Student Loan Limit

The amount you can borrow from federal student loans depends on whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, a dependent or independent student, and if you are borrowing an unsubsidized or subsidized student loan.

Undergraduate students should pay more attention to their annual limit because it is unlikely to face lifetime limits. Graduate students are more likely to meet federal student loan lifetime limits. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education considers all graduate students and professional students as independent students.

Independent students financially provide for themselves, which explains why they can usually borrow more than dependent students. Dependent students usually get financial help from their parents or legal guardians. Undergraduate students must confirm their independent student status before borrowing up to the limits for independent students.

Private Student Loan Limit

Private student loan lifetime limits vary between lenders. You can get private student loans from banks or credit unions, which have their own sets of terms and conditions for the amount you can borrow in your lifetime. Most private student loan providers set their limits at the cost of attendance in your school.

The total cost of attendance in your school factors your tuition fees, school supplies, and transportation, and anything else your private student lender may decide that counts. Your status as a graduate student may also give you access to higher lifetime limits if a private student loan lender values certain studies or degrees.

Be sure to compare all the limits of the private student loan lenders of your choice before settling for one provider. You want to make sure you have enough funding to get you through school without exceeding the amount you can realistically repay.

Conclusion: What Is the Maximum Student Loan Amount for a Lifetime?

Federal student loans have lifetime limits of up to $138,500 in unsubsidized loans for graduate students and professional students. Students can subsidize up to $65,500 of that amount. At the same time, dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to $31,000 in their lifetime, while independent undergraduate students can borrow up to $57,000. Undergraduates of either dependency status can subsidize up to $23,000 of their federal student loans.

Meanwhile, private student loan lifetime limits depend on the lender you choose. Usually, the maximum amount you can borrow from a private lender stays within the cost of attendance of your school.

Knowing the maximum amount of student loans that you can borrow from any lender helps you assess how to fund your education. If the maximum amount you can borrow from federal student loans is not enough, you may consider getting other loans from different lenders. Be sure to know how much you can borrow to gauge how to repay the money you borrow.

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