Student loans are not based just on the cost of tuition. The amount you can get for financial aid is based upon your cost of education, which is determined by your tuition, books, transportation, living expenses, child care, etc. All of those factors are accounted for when they determine financial need. For example, I go to a state university where tuition is only about $1800 per semester, but my cost of education is determined to be close to $20,000 a year. Subsidized loans are based upon that determination; unsubsidized loans are not, so you can still receive an unsubsidized loan even if you are ineligible for a subsidized one. The total allowed in loans per year, for the sum of both subsidized and unsubsidized, is determined by the government and is based upon your class rank. For a junior or senior, the maximum amount for federal student loans per year, no matter what school you go to and no matter what your cost of education, is $10,500. For sophmores or freshmen the allowable amount is less. The way those payments are dispersed slightly varies from school to school, but generally they are sent out at the beginning of each semester, so if you were approved for $10,500 you'd get $5250 each semester. You have to apply for financial aid to be eligible for federal student loans, or for Perkins loans (which are harder to get). If you haven't already applied for financial aid by filling out the FASFA, you may have difficulty because it's getting pretty late to be trying for aid for the fall semester. But...check with your school's financial aid department. They can help you with all that.