Student Loans

Student loans fall into two general categories.

Subsidized Loans

Subsidized loans (also referred to as need-based loans) are interest-deferred during in-school periods. This means interest is neither charged to the student nor added to the amount borrowed while the student is enrolled. Interest begins to accrue on subsidized loans after enrollment ceases. Not all students will qualify for subsidized loans—a financial aid counselor must determine your eligibility for these need-based loans.

2023–24 Academic Year
Two subsidized loans are available to Princeton students

Subsidized Loan Descriptions
Loan Type Interest Rate Fees Annual Limit Repayment Period

Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan

5.5% fixed – charged after enrollment ceases 1.057%

Fr –  $3,500
So $4,500
Jr    $5,500
Sr   $5,500

Begins 6 months after borrower leaves school – maximum 10-year repayment term

Princeton Subsidized Loan

5% fixed – charged during repayment None Determined by Financial Aid Office

Begins 9 months after borrower leaves school – maximum 10-year repayment term

Unsubsidized Loans

Unsubsidized loans are used to replace the expected family contribution and finance a portion of the family’s payment to Princeton. There is no interest deferment on unsubsidized loans—interest must either be paid while the student is enrolled or be added to the loan principal.

2023–24 Academic Year
Two unsubsidized loans are available to Princeton students

Unubsidized Loan Descriptions
Loan Type Interest Rate Fees Annual Limit* Repayment Period

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan

5.5% fixed – accrues during enrollment 1.057%

Fr –  $5,500
So – $6,500
Jr    $7,500
Sr   $7,500

Begins 6 months after borrower leaves school– maximum 10-year repayment term

Alternative Loans

Typically variable – tied to a market index (Prime, Libor, etc.) plus up to 10 points. Typical range is 4% to 15%.

May range from 0 to 11% of the loan principal

Cost of attendance minus student aid

Typically begins 6 months after borrower leaves school – typical maximum 10-year repayment term

*Includes subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct loans.

To request a subsidized or unsubsidized federal loan, you must submit a valid 2023–24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and you must be meeting Undergraduate Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (UFA SAP).

If you have not submitted the FAFSA, complete one at You will also need to fill out a Federal Loan Request Form available in the Form Library for the academic year (The form will be available in July).

Note: After submitting the Federal Loan Request Form, the Financial Aid Office must confirm the information on your FAFSA is accurate before federal loan(s) can be processed. If we are unable to confirm and process federal loan eligibility before the end of the academic year, federal loan(s) cannot be awarded.

2023–24 Deadlines to confirm and process federal loan eligibility:
Fall deadline (for fall-only loans): 12/22/2023
Spring deadline (for spring-only and full-year loans): 05/16/2024

Advice Regarding Alternative Loans
Alternative loans are available from a variety of lenders outside the University. These loans are credit-based and should be viewed as a last resort after other borrowing options have been considered. Although terms and rates vary among private lenders, in many cases a Federal Direct Student Loan may provide the student with more beneficial terms and conditions than an alternative loan. The financial aid office does not recommend specific lenders, as described in our code of conduct.

Princeton's Federal Cohort Default Rate

The following table shows Princeton’s Cohort Default Rates for federal loans on a three-year period. Data includes the percentage of borrowers who entered repayment on Direct Loan Program loans during a federal fiscal year (October 1–September 30) and default before the end of the second following fiscal year.





Enrollment Figures 8,532 8,720 8,593
Number of Borrowers in Repayment 108 114 127
Percentage Calculation 1.27% 1.31% 1.48%
Number of Borrowers in Default 0 0 1
Default Rate 0.0% 0.0% 0.7%
National Default Percentage 0.0% 2.3% 7.3%

Rates can also be found at NSLDS Official Cohort Default Rate Search for Schools. Use OPEID 002627 for Princeton University.

Please contact the Financial Aid Office prior to applying for a student loan.