Federal subsidized Stafford loans. During this past school year, undergraduates who qualified based on a test of financial need were able to take out a maximum of $3,500 to $5,500, depending on their year in college. The loans carry a fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent.
(By contrast, all students are eligible for regular Stafford loans, up to $31,000 total during college and graduate school. These bear a fixed rate of 6.8 percent. Many students take out both types of loans.)