The difference between cost of college attendance and a student's (and the student's parents') ability to pay that cost:
Student's Cost of Attendance Budget
- Family Contribution
= Unmet Need
With this loan, the government does not pay the interest while the student is enrolled. So the student has the option to either pay the accruing interest monthly or allow the interest to capitalize (to be added to the principal). Either way, required payments do not begin until 6 months after graduation or 6 months after the student drops below half-time enrollment. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are not based on financial need and therefore may be used to finance the family contribution.