Student loans are financial aid that must be repaid. Most educational loans (with the exception of private/alternative loans) are part of the William D. Ford Direct Federal Loan program (DL).
The Federal Perkins Loan is a federally subsidized loan, which means the federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled in school at least half time. This loan offers a low fixed interest rate (5%) and does not have processing or origination fees. Perkins loans are awarded based on a student’s financial need.
The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is also a need-based loan. Because it is subsidized, the federal government pays the interest while you are enrolled in school at least half time.
As the name suggests, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not subsidized by the federal government. You are responsible for paying the interest while enrolled in school or you may defer interest payments until repayment begins.