Loan Comparison Quick Reference

Use our loan comparison chart as a quick, convenient reference guide to the features, terms and repayment details for Federal Direct, PLUS, Perkins and private loans. 

For more information, like how to apply for a loan, contact your college's financial aid office.

Loan Comparison Chart
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Federal Direct PLUS Loan Federal
Direct Graduate/
Professional
PLUS Loan
Perkins
Loan
Private
Loan
No credit check No credit check Must be credit worthy Must be credit worthy No credit check Must be credit worthy
Borrower responsible for repayment, no cosigner needed Borrower responsible for repayment, no cosigner needed Borrower responsible for repayment, no student responsibility Borrower responsible for repayment, no cosigner needed Borrower responsible for repayment, no cosigner needed Borrower responsible for repayment; no cosigner needed if creditworthy. If cosigner needed, equal shared responsibility for repayment and debt
Loan limits Loan limits Loan limits Loan limits Loan limits Limits vary by lender
Death/disability benefit Death/disability benefit Death/disability benefit Death/disability benefit Death/disability benefit Death/disability benefit availability varies; contact lender
Deferment/ forbearance
eligibility
Deferment/ forbearance
eligibility
Deferment/ forbearance eligibility Deferment/ forbearance eligibility Deferment / forbearance
eligibility
Possible deferment/
forbearance eligibility
Can be consolidated with other federal loans Can be consolidated with other federal loans Can be consolidated with other federal loans Can be consolidated with other federal loans Can be
consolidated
with other 
federal loans
Consolidation
not applicable
Interest is not charged to your loan until 6 months from the time you leave school or drop below half time in school status, or during periods of deferment Interest is charged to your loan from the time the loan is disbursed to the school. You can make payments or capitalize interest until leaving school, subject to approval Interest is charged to your loan from the time the loan is disbursed to the school Interest is charged to your loan from the time the loan is disbursed to the school Interest is not charged to your
loan until 9 months from the time you leave school 
or drop below
half time in school status
Interest is charged to your loan from the time the loan is disbursed to you