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Unsubsidised Loan

An unsubsidised loan is a type of student loan that is not based on financial need. Unlike subsidised loans, the borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues on the loan from the time it is disbursed, and there are no interest subsidies during specific periods. 

Unsubsidised Loans Decoded


Unsubsidised loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Unlike subsidised loans, eligibility is not determined by financial need.

Interest Accrual

One key characteristic of unsubsidised loans is that interest begins to accrue from the date of disbursement. The borrower is responsible for paying the interest, and it may be capitalised (added to the loan principal) if not paid during certain periods.

Loan Limits

The maximum loan amount for unsubsidised loans depends on the student’s academic level (undergraduate or graduate) and dependency status. While the loan limits are higher than subsidised loans, there are still annual and aggregate limits.

Combined subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans

Students may receive both subsidised and unsubsidised loans for the same enrollment period. The combined amount cannot exceed the overall annual or aggregate limits.

Graduate and Professional Students

Graduate and professional students are only eligible for unsubsidised loans. They are not eligible for subsidised loans.

Interest Rates

The interest rates for unsubsidised loans are set by the government and may vary based on the academic year. These rates are typically higher than those for subsidised loans.


Repayment for unsubsidised loans begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below halftime enrollment. During this post enrollment grace period, interest continues to accrue.

Deferment and Forbearance

Borrowers may request deferment or forbearance to temporarily postpone loan payments due to financial hardship or other qualifying circumstances. However, interest continues to accrue during these periods.

Loan Servicers

Unsubsidised loans are serviced by designated loan servicers, who handle billing, repayment plans, and other aspects of loan management on behalf of the government.

Loan Fees

Unsubsidised loans may have loan fees, which are a percentage of the loan amount deducted proportionately from each disbursement. These fees help offset the cost of administering the loan program.

Flexible Repayment Plans

Borrowers of unsubsidised loans may choose from various federal student loan repayment plans, including income-driven repayment options that adjust monthly payments based on income and family size.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Unsubsidised loans may be eligible for certain loan forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which forgives the remaining balance after 120 qualifying monthly payments while working for a qualifying employer.

The Bottom Line is…

Understanding the technical details of unsubsidised loans is essential for borrowers to make informed decisions about their student loan financing. Managing interest accrual, exploring repayment options, and staying informed about loan terms contribute to responsible borrowing and successful loan repayment.

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Unsubsidised Loan