Can I use federal loans from FAFSA® for trade school?

The short answer is yes — federal loans can be used to pay for vocational and trade schools.

Before applying for federal loans, it’s best to check with the school first to make sure they accept federal student aid programs as that will be the primary requirement to use federal loans to attend a trade school.

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is your first step in the financial aid journey for student grants, scholarships, and loans.

Here are the most common types of federal loans that students can get to pay for trade school:

Types of federal student loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers federal Stafford Loans. They come in two options; subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans.

  • Subsidized Loans: For undergraduate students with a financial need, subsidized loans are a great choice for financial aid. The Department of Education pays the interest on your loans as long as you’re enrolled in school at least half-time, for the first 6 months after you graduate, and during any deferment periods (this is a postponement of loan repayment).
  • Unsubsidized Loans: These loans are offered to both undergraduate and graduate students with no requirement for financial need. Interest will accrue that you are responsible for paying during your time in school. You can choose not to pay interest while you are attending. Iif you choose to do so, you should be aware that your loan is still subject to accrue interest.

If you would like to see the amounts you can borrow for loans, has a great table reflecting how much can be taken and what year you are enrolled.

Federal student loans also have a time limit, which is 150% of your program’s length.  So, if your program is 4-years long, the maximum amount of time you can receive loans for is 6-years.

Student loans also have locked in interest rates for life, which means you are guaranteed a low-interest rate with no surprises later. The current interest rates for undergraduate students are 2.75% and for graduate students is 4.30%.

While you are performing your search for trade schoolS, make sure you work with the financial aid offices and find out if they accept federal financial aid. That will be the first and most crucial step in making sure you can take advantage of federal loan programs after filing your FAFSA®.

If you have any questions or need help filing your FAFSA®, we’re here to help! You can reach us via email at, or you can text us at (347) 690-7886.