Student Loan Interest Rates Going Up, But Pell Grant Limits Also Increasing

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There is mixed news for college students using federal financial aid this year: Pell Grant maximums will increase slightly while student loan interest rates will jump by nearly 1%, the largest increase in recent years.

Pell Grants

The maximum amount for Federal Pell Grants issued between July 1, 2021, and June 1, 2022, will rise to $6,495, an increase of $150 from the 2020-2021 rate. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students and are based on financial need.

Children of veterans who died as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11 may be eligible for the Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant. It is similar to a Pell Grant, but unlike a Pell Grant is not limited by family income.

Federal grants are free money for school. After your school bills are paid, any remaining balance goes to you. You can normally receive only one federal education grant per school year, but there are some special programs available for low-income families that will allow you to get more than one grant at a time. Learn more about Federal Student Aid.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loan interest rates are also changing on July 1, 2021. The interest rate for new undergraduate loans issued on or after July 1 will go up from 2.75% to 3.73%. That's nearly a 1% interest rate jump.

The interest rates for graduate loans will also jump from 4.3% to 5.28%, and PLUS loans (which are usually issued to the parents of a student or to graduate or professional students) will jump from 5.3% to 6.28%.

These interest rates are only for student loans issued on or after July 1, 2021. Loans that were issued prior to that date will keep their current interest rate no matter how much is still owed.

Make Your Military Service Count

Of course, veterans and their dependents may also be eligible for the GI Bill or state education benefits, which are unmatched in the civilian world.

Find More Military-Friendly Scholarships 

Find more cash for school or get the lowdown on scholarships and education help available for your family. FastWeb can help. Visit to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

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