There is a maximum amount you can get in student loans but is the maximum amount per loan institution or per student?

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  • That's a kind of tricky question. The answer is "some of each". If you're talking about the maximum amount you can get in a year, there is a maximum you can get per student that is modified by the school's cost of attendance. If the cost of attendance for the school is less than the maximum yearly loan amount, you will only be offered the amount of cost of attendance. If you're talking about lifetime maximums, then the limits are per student. The lifetime maximum for undergraduate students is $23,000. If you are in grad school, the lifetime maximum for the amount you can borrow in grad school is $65,000 (note that your undergraduate loans do not count toward this maximum). There is a national database that keeps track of all of your loans, regardless of what school you were attending when the loan was taken out, so they can keep track of your lifetime totals.
  • The tricky bit is that this is only the governmental student loans. If you can get private loans from other companies, they may or may not care about your lifetime maximums.The other thing I'm not sure about is whether you can hit your limit, pay it off, then borrow more later. That's a situation that hasn't come up in my personal experience, so I can't answer that one.
  • If you've hit your limit, made payments for years, then want to go back to school and borrow again later, all of those payments you made get subtracted from the limit and you're eligible to borrow again until you've hit the top, again.
  • I ran into this just recently and had to perform some research (mainly the department of education's financial aid adviser workbook). For an dependent (living with help of parents) undergraduate the limit is certainly $65,000. For an independent undergraduate, however, the limit is double ($46,000). There are annual limits that get progressively higher as you enter your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. year. For graduate school the total limit for non-medical students is approximately $138,000. A little less than half of it ($67,500) can be subsidized (the gov't pays your interest while you're in school). Medical students (I.e. doctors, etc.) can get loans up to around $200,000 (all inclusive of all 3 schools).
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