Subsidized Vs Unsubsidized Student Loans: Which One Should You Go For?

Student loans can be a major burden on those who don’t know how to manage them. There are many different types of loans and some come with more favorable conditions than others.

Here, we’ll take a look at two of the most common types: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are those where your interest is paid for by the government during the time you’re in school.

Unsubsidized loans are not subsidized by the government so you have to pay for your own interest while in school or after graduation. Some people also confuse subsidized and unsubsidized student loans with Perkins Loans, but these are not quite the same thing.

This article will cover everything you need to know about subsidized vs unsubsidized.

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What Are Subsidized Loans?

A major advantage of federal student loans is that they’re tax-exempt. It doesn’t matter what income level you have. That means that if you are self-employed, and you make $15,000 a year, then you won’t pay any taxes on that income.

You can use that money for higher education. 

What makes these loans more appealing is that you don’t have to pay interest on them during your studies.

You’re only required to make the minimum payments on your student loans. There are also income-based repayment options available for people who earn too much to qualify for interest-free loans. 

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What Are Unsubsidized Loans?

Unsubsidized loans are basically loans that you take out for your own education. You can use unsubsidized loans for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

For example, you can go to school and receive loans from private lenders for your undergraduate studies, but then you’ll need to start making payments to the government once you get into graduate school.

This is where the term “subsidized” comes into play. The government subsidizes the interest rate for some unsubsidized student loans.

This means that your loans will still have interest, but they will be more affordable. The size of your loans will still increase, but you’ll be able to afford those payments.

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Subsidized Vs Unsubsidized Student Loans

When it comes to whether a student loan is subsidized or unsubsidized, the question gets quite complex, but it’s actually pretty simple.

The basic difference between the two is that with a subsidized loan, you have to pay interest. With an unsubsidized loan, you don’t.

Here’s a simple example: let’s say that you go to college on a subsidized loan. After graduation, you work for three years and decide to go to grad school at the University of Arizona.

Your subsidized loan still has three years left on it, so you’ll pay interest until it expires. After three years, the university will loan you the money you need for school and you’ll pay them back at a lower interest rate for a few years.

When your subsidized loan is finished, you’ll be able to pay your regular student loan.

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What Are Subsidized And Unsubsidized Student Loans?

As the name suggests, a student loan is a loan that is subsidized by the government. These are loans for individuals who are from low to middle-income families and are interested in a degree in a qualifying field.

Student loans are typically unsubsidized but can have a small interest rate applied while in school or during the first years of repayment. This is because you’re helping to lower the overall cost of an education.  

Subsidized loans are generally better than unsubsidized loans because you’re paying less in interest during your schooling years.

To be eligible for a subsidized loan, you must be enrolled in a qualifying educational institution. Most people with student loans have unsubsidized loans so this is what you need to know before you apply for your own.

The Pros And Cons Of Each 

The two types of student loans are comparable in some ways. For instance, both subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available for those who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

However, these aren’t the only two options. For instance, there are different types of federal student loans that will cover your tuition and your living expenses in a particular institution.

For those who need a flexible financial plan, such as those who want to go back to school, there are private student loans that can be especially helpful.  

As you might expect, there are advantages and disadvantages to each of the different student loan options. Below, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each of the types.

Understanding Interest Rates For Subsidized And Unsubsidized Student Loans

Before we get into which loans are best for you, it’s important to understand how the interest rates work on each. When you first apply for subsidized loans, the interest rate you’ll end up paying is typically less than 5%.

However, there are special requirements that determine the interest rate you end up paying. If you go to a school with a loan repayment period of over four years, the interest rate they will charge you depends on your credit score.

The higher the credit score, the higher the interest rate you will pay.

Once you’re in school for 12 or more years, they will cap your interest rate at 6%. You may pay higher interest on your unsubsidized loans if you miss payments.

How To Apply For Subsidized And Unsubsidized Student Loans?

The federal government offers a subsidized loan to those who qualify. Those who have a family income of less than $80,000 and who have taken out a substantial amount of student loans for their education are usually eligible for a subsidized loan.

Interest rates are very affordable compared to other types of loans, such as private loans. You can make payments for 20 or 25 years without being charged a fee.

However, because you have to pay interest throughout your time in school or after graduation, you might take out a PLUS loan instead, which is usually available at a lower interest rate.

If you’re applying for a subsidized loan, you may have to provide documentation of your financial situation.

When Should You Get A Subsidized Loan?

The Federal Government sets the interest rate for subsidized loans for undergraduate students. Under the Education for All Hand-Me-Downs and Unsubsidized Loan Programs, the interest rate is fixed so you’ll be charged the same rate for both years. It usually stays in the range of 4.63 percent to 6.8 percent.

Students who do not receive financial aid, however, will often be charged interest on unsubsidized loans, although this rate varies depending on the repayment period.  When should you get an unsubsidized loan?  

The interest rate for unsubsidized loans is set by the private market, and it varies. The rates are often around 8.6 percent for undergraduate students and 9.2 percent for graduate students. However, some state-subsidized loans maybe even more.

Here are two main periods in which you can get a subsidized loan:

  • Early in your studies when you want to go to school in a less expensive school
  • Even before you’ve finished your degree

If you don’t choose one of these two options, you will have to pay for your interest yourself throughout your studies. By the time you finish your studies, you’ll be at the maximum monthly loan repayment.

You may want to think about a loan even before you finish your studies. If you’re sure you’ll want to do the whole thing and want to minimize the cost, then you should take the loan before you finish your studies.

It might be a better option to consolidate all your student loans into one because then you’ll be saving money from month to month.

When Should You Get An Unsubsidized Loan?

First of all, let’s start with the difference between an unsubsidized and a subsidized loan. An unsubsidized loan means you will be paying interest from the day you start repaying your loans to the day you graduate.

You can choose whether you want to pay in full or have them pay you an amount that’s based on the borrower’s income.  I

If you go this route, the interest on the loan will be high, and there will be a short term for interest to pay itself off. An unsubsidized loan isn’t ideal for anyone who needs to get out of debt as soon as possible.

Also, Unsubsidized student loans offer slightly higher interest rates than subsidized loans. However, you don’t have to pay any of the interest during school or while in school.

For the first six months or so of school, the interest will be lower than the interest on a loan with a subsidized interest rate. After that, the interest on the unsubsidized loan will be higher than the subsidized loan.

The interest on subsidized loans will then be adjusted annually until graduation. This is why unsubsidized loans are more favorable. They’re more affordable and you don’t have to worry about payments after graduation.

On the other hand, subsidized loans are quite affordable and you don’t need to worry about payments at all.

Subsidized And Unsubsidized Loan: Which Is The Best?

Is this as straightforward as it sounds? Let’s first take a look at the differences between these types of loans. If you’re reading this article, you probably already know how to handle a bank loan, a car loan, and other types of borrowing.

You don’t need to be any less familiar with student loans, but there is more to the story than the usual “borrower pays the loan amount for a fixed period of time.

” Subsidized loans have the U.S. government paying part of the interest you pay while you’re in school. This makes them sound like a godsend, but there are some major caveats to consider.

The main difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans is how long you have to pay back your debt.


It’s important to take note of the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans and understand the important differences between the two. In the end, the choice will depend on your financial situation and the kind of education you’re pursuing.

The good news is that all of these loans are a quick way to pay for your education. The bad news is that it takes time to pay off your student loan debt.

That being said, there’s no right or wrong answer for which loan is the best for you. It’s better to get the loan you qualify for, but don’t assume that because you qualify, it will be the best for you. It’s always better to go in with a plan of attack and do some research before signing any loan documents.

To sum it all up, a good estimate would be that if you work full-time and do the math, you’ll be saving over $300 every month. That’s not to mention the future student loan interest you’ll save by going this route.

There are many reasons to go for this route: It’s the best loan for someone in your position, and you have the lowest debt in your life when you leave.  

The Department of Education has a lot of information on student loans on its website. They have resources and helpful programs for those trying to find the best option for themselves.

Make sure to check out their website and resources, and then get out there and go forth to make the decision for yourself.  


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