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150% Rule for Subsidized Loans

On July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Public Law 112-141) (PDF) was enacted and limits a first time borrower’s eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period not to exceed 150% of the length of the borrower’s educational program. In the summer of 2013 final regulations were completed.

First time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013 are subject to the provisions in this legislation. Generally speaking a first time borrower is one who did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or FFEL loan on July 1, 2013.

If you are a first time borrower, this legislation will affect you.

Stated in your entrance counseling information, the subsidized loan has slightly better terms than the unsubsidized loan. In the past the US Department of Education has paid the interest for a subsidized loan while the student was in school attending class at least half time. If you are a first time borrower or borrowed in the past and paid back your previous loans, and you are now borrowing again, you will be included in this legislation.

How will this affect my Subsidized loan(s)?

MAP-21 will limit the time period during which you can receive Direct Subsidized loans to 150% of the standard length of the program in which you are enrolled. For example, a Bachelor degree program (which is normally completed in 4 years attending full time) borrowers can only receive Subsidized loans for a maximum of 6 years. (150% of 4 years = 6 years). The period used will be reduced for less than full time study. Once you have received Direct Subsidized loans for your maximum eligibility period, you may continue to receive Direct Unsubsidized loans and your Subsidized loans may begin to accrue interest. This legislation was enacted to encourage students to obtain their degree within a reasonable timeframe.

I have Subsidized loans that I took out before this legislation went into effect, how will MAP-21 effect those loans?

MAP-21 legislation affects first time borrowers from July 1, 2013 forward. If you have Subsidized loans prior to July 1, 2013 you are not considered a first time borrower and MAP-21 legislation will not affect you. More information can be found in the PDF document at the top of the page.




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