A federal student loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Includes Direct Unsubsidized Loans (made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program) and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans (made through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program*).

An unsubsidized loan will accrue interest while the student is attending school. Interest while the student is enrolled in higher education can be deferred, but that interest is added to the original loan amount after graduating.

Because eligibility largely is determined by dependency status and ability to pay for school, independent students who don’t have parents that can help pay will receive more benefits from subsidized loans.


* The FFEL Program ended June 30, 2010, and no new loans have been made under the FFEL Program since that date.