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Government Loans For Grad School

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Awards For International Students

How Do Student Loans Work For Grad School? | Student Loan Planner

In addition to any internal departmental funding that may be available to international students in the funded cohort, there are a number of other funding sources listed on the SGS website. International students are also encouraged to investigate and apply for all possible funding opportunities provided by their home country. For more information on these awards and other funding opportunities, visit the International Awards section of the SGS website.

Drawbacks Of Federal Student Loans

  • You may be limited in the amount you can borrow. If youre seeking only Direct Subsidized Loans, there are strict limits, and you may not be able to borrow enough to fund your education.
  • You have to pay origination fees. Many private lenders offer private loans that dont have this up-front fee to pay.
  • You have no choice in loan servicers. Youll be assigned a servicer by the Department of Education. With private loans, on the other hand, you can shop around and find a lender that has a good track record of providing top-notch customer service.

Unlimited Government Loans For Grad Students Fuel Skyrocketing Debt Burden

Graduates of top-tier master’s programs are increasingly unable to make enough in their early careers to put a dent in their insurmountable student loans, a Wall Street Journal analysis reveals, thanks in part to a federal Grad Plus loan program with “no fixed limit on how much grad students can borrow.”

Grad Plus, which students might use to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses is the fastest-growing federal student loan program, reports the Journal, with recent interest rates as high as 7.9 percent. “No-limit loans” produce graduate program cash cows, and prestigious schools benefitting from the increased interest and “free-flowing” money can raise tuition unchecked, the Journal writes.

The most extreme example is Columbia University, where recent MFA film alumni were saddled with “the highest debt compared with earnings among graduates of any major university master’s program in the U.S,” writes the Journal. Recent program alumni with federal loans had a median debt of $181,000, but half were making less than $30,000 a year two years after graduating.

Similarly, but not quite as a drastic, a master’s in publishing at New York University costs a median $116,000 in loans for a median early-career income of $42,000. University of Southern California’s marriage and family counseling master’s graduates “borrowed a median $124,000 and half earned $50,000 or less over the same period,” the Journal reports.

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Teaching And Research Assistantships

Some graduate units offer teaching and/or research assistantship opportunities as a component or outside a student funding package. Teaching assistants may be assigned teaching tasks such as conducting tutorials, grading undergraduate essays and exams, and acting as a resource for undergraduate students. Research assistants normally work with a faculty member, assisting with research projects.

For more information, write to the chair of your graduate unit, giving full particulars of your academic training and experience.

Federal Graduate Student Loans

Graduate Student Loan Icons Stock Vector

To become eligible for federal loans, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid . The FAFSA is required to gain access to loans from the Department of Education, as well as to obtain many types of grants and scholarships provided by the government or your school.

Grad students have a choice of two different types of federal student loans to help cover graduate school costs. These are:

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Refinance Undergraduate Student Loans

Something to consider when exploring student loans for graduate school is refinancing your undergraduate student loans in order to lower your monthly payments. If you are someone who is working while going to grad school, and you were planning to make monthly payments on your undergraduate loans anyway, this could help simplify your life. It would allow you to take advantage of todays lower rates, while reducing your monthly payments. Current private student loan refinancing rates are as low as . Plus, you can always refinance any new student loans you obtain in grad school with a previously refinanced loan, if that is an option you want to explore.

You also have the option of combining private student loans and federal student loans together. However, its worth noting that when refinancing federal student loans with a private student loan lender you will lose federal loan benefits, including access to income-based repayment, public service loan forgiveness, and generous deferment and forbearance periods offered by the Direct Loans program.

Deferring Your Existing Us Government Loan

The Financial Aid and Awards Office of the University of Manitoba confirms students enrolment status to the National Student Loans Data System for all of the students who are currently on student aid and students who have received loans in previous years while attended another school. The enrolment reporting is completed during the first 15 days of each month. Enrolment reporting is completed based on this course-load requirement criteria: Use 12 credit hours as full-time requirement per term Use 9 credit hours as ¾ time requirement per term Use 6-8 credit hours as ½ time requirement per term Less than 6 credit hours are considered less than half-time status Graduate students are usually registered with full-time status . Number of credit hours are irrelevant to indicate their student status.

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Private Loans May Be More Customized

How much can you borrow from a private lender when youre a graduate student? It depends on the lender and your field of study. You can generally borrow more if youre studying for a profession that tends to have higher earnings. Future doctors, lawyers, and chief financial officers get to borrow more than future librarians.

Private lenders even offer products that are specific to your field of study, and this is one way in which they might be more attractive than federal student loans. You may need to complete internship hours, pass licensing exams, or earn industry certifications after you graduate. Some private graduate student loans include provisions that help cover your living expenses while you complete these requirements.

What To Do About Financial Aid After You Enroll

University Student Loans 101 | Grad School Federal Loans FAQs and Advice

Once youre in graduate school, youll need to report any changes in your situation to the financial aid office as soon as they happen. This may include receiving outside awards or experiencing unforeseen economic hardship since applying for aid. Reporting changes immediately will allow the financial aid office to adjust your award package as necessary.

When reporting outside aid, keep in mind that it will not be added on top of your financial aid package, but will be re-calculated into your EFC. In general, if you demonstrate need, the financial aid office will try to eliminate loans that are unsubsidized and/or have higher interest rates.

Your financial aid award will depend on many factors, some of which you can change, and others you cannot. And while the process may be frustrating at times, remember that the financial aid staff are people too! Their job is to help youand you can make it easier on them by applying early, applying for outside aid, and being professional, friendly, and appreciative in your interactions with the team.

If youre still uncertain as to whether you can handle the expenses, even with financial aid, be sure to check out our post, The Cost of Graduate School | Are you Financially Ready?

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Federal Vs Private Loans For Graduate Students

While there are several ways to borrow money, the two general types of loans specifically designed for graduate students are federal loans and private loans. Well cover the differences between them, but there are some shared features:

  • You have to pay them back with interest. Interest begins to accrue from the day that your graduate student loan is disbursed to your school. Learn more about .
  • Theres a grace period. Youll generally have six or more months after leaving graduate school before you begin making principal and interest payments on federal student loans. Loans specifically for professional programs like law, medical, and dental degrees may have a longer grace period.
  • Theyre disbursed directly to your graduate school. Unlike personal loans or loans for some career-related activities , the graduate student loan money goes to the schools financial aid office, not to you.

Private Loans For Graduate School

In some cases, you wont qualify for enough in federal graduate student loans to cover your educational expenses, the length of your school attendance, or your living expenses while attending school. If this is the case, you may need to apply for a private student loan.

You may also prefer private student loan terms when compared to federal student loan terms if you have excellent credit and feel confident in your ability to repay the loan. Private loans are offered through private lenders, such as financial institutions.

Each lender enforces its own eligibility requirements, which are usually related to credit history, current debt, and income. The loan terms offered differ by lender but are usually determined by your credit score, borrowing history, and educational expenses.

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Filing Your Free Application For Federal Student Aid

The first step toward obtaining financial aid is to file your FAFSA. Complete it online and submit it to all of the universities you applied to, and once accepted, each will use your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Be sure to take a look at our article Grad School Financial Aid 101 for more information about the FAFSA.

Best Graduate Student Loan Options Of January 2022

Student Loan Forgiveness

Graduate students should max out federal unsubsidized loans before turning to federal PLUS or private loans to cover their remaining costs.

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The federal government and private lenders offer graduate student loans. Max out federal unsubsidized loans likely the cheapest option before covering remaining costs with federal grad PLUS loans or private student loans.

Grad PLUS loans don’t require credit and come with multiple repayment options, which will likely make them best for most borrowers. But you may pay less with a private graduate school loan if you or a co-signer has excellent credit.

Here are our picks for the best loans for graduate school, as well as information on how to choose between them and manage debt while you’re in school.

The federal government and private lenders offer graduate student loans. Max out federal unsubsidized loans likely the cheapest option before covering remaining costs with federal grad PLUS loans or private student loans.

Here are our picks for the best loans for graduate school, as well as information on how to choose between them and manage debt while you’re in school.

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Without Subsidized Loans For Graduate School How Can You Save On Interest

Borrowing a subsidized loan for graduate school is no longer a possible strategy. However, a federal student loan subsidy isnt the only way to pay less interest on educational debt. Here are a few ways you can lower your costs when borrowing for an advanced degree:

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

Fixed APR

Variable APR

View details

Best for graduate students who’ll need extra time before starting repayment.


  • You can see if youll qualify and what rate youll get without a hard credit check.

  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.

  • Nine-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.


  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.


  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.

  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 10 or 15 years


Min. Credit Score

Fixed APR

Variable APR

View details

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Applying For A Direct Loan

  • E-sign a Master Promissory Note
  • Go to Minerva> Financial Aid/Awards tab > Financial Aid Menu > Apply for US Direct Loans to complete an application for Direct Loans. You will be required to:
  • Enter your Social Security Number
  • Enter the name and amount of any non-McGill financial aid you have been awarded
  • Choose the loan types for which you wish to apply
  • First-time student borrowers of Direct Loans must complete Entrance Counseling. If Entrance Counseling is not completed, loans are not disbursed.
  • Grants For Grad School

    How To Pay For Grad School | Student Loan Planner

    While scholarships are usually based on past achievements, grants are awarded based on your financial need. As a graduate student, you may be eligible for federal or state grants, and some nonprofit organizations issue grants as well. For example:

    • American Association of University Women: Through the Career Development Grant, women going to graduate school to advance their careers or change fields can get up to $12,000. To qualify, the applicant must be studying education, health, medical sciences or the social sciences.
    • TEACH Grant: With a federal TEACH Grant, you can get up to $4,000 per year to pay for your graduate degree. However, you must commit to teaching in a high-need subject for at least four years in an elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. Otherwise, your grant is converted into a student loan and must be repaid with interest.
    • California State University Grant Program: This program gives eligible graduate students that are California residents up to $7,176 to pay for their degrees. Awards are determined by financial need and the degree youre pursuing.

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    Best Practices In Paying For Graduate School

    As with any investment, its wise to think long-term. This includes an assessment of what youll put in vs. how it will pay off with what matters to you .

    Loans, fellowships, research grants, teaching assistant positions, and scholarships are all viable funding sources. And just like in undergrad, youll find there are many options for financing graduate school at your disposal.

    Which Graduate Student Loan Is Right For You

    The average student loan debt for graduate school alone is $71,000, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics. But some students take on much more for advanced degrees dentists average $292,169 in debt, for example.

    Federal loans are usually the best choice when paying for grad school because programs like income-driven plans can help keep payments manageable. However, if you have good credit and are entering a profession with strong earning potential, private loans may cost less in the long run.

    Many lenders offer student loans for graduate school. Some also have loan programs for specific professional degrees. Evaluate all your options to get the best deal possible.

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    Financial Aid For Graduate School: Who Qualifies And How To Apply

    Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list ofour partnersandhere’s how we make money.

    Options For Graduate School Programs

    Do These Four Things When Applying for Student Loans

    Solving debt in graduate education requires both broad solutions and those that are targeted to specific fields. Within just one college, graduate programs may include a one-year masters, a four-year medical degree, and doctoral programs that take nearly a decade to finish. And each may be run by its own unit within the college that handles admissions, pricing, and aid. The debt drivers and solutions thus may range widely across those programs.

    Below are a range of potential policies that create indirect or direct incentives to bring down the price of graduate programs, including some that tackle the underlying costs. But graduate education is also an area ripe for innovation. For one, the degrees can vary more widely than the traditional four-year bachelors degree or two-year associate degree. The professional nature of graduate education also makes it easier to find better ways to link programs to workforce and employer demands. Overall, this could mean breaking apart long-held views on the length of time required to earn some credentials or requiring more specific proof of the credentials value in the job market by looking at the earnings of completers.

    Judge programs on a debt-to-earnings rate

    Enacting a debt-to-earnings requirement for graduate programs must be done separate from efforts to restore the gainful employment regulation.

    Hold programs accountable for loan repayment and IDR usage

    Create dollar-based caps for graduate loans

    Ban balance billing

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    Financial Aid For Grad Students Vs Undergraduates

    Graduate school students, by and large, get the short end of the stick on financial aid when compared to what is available to undergraduates.

    For example, 9.2 million undergraduates received Pell Grants in 2014 to help pay expenses. Pell Grants are a federally-funded program that supplied $33.7 billion in free money to undergrads.

    Pell Grants arent available to graduate school students.

    Loans are available for grad students, but at higher interest rates than undergrads pay. The interest rate on Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate school students is 6.21 percent in the 2014-2015 school year, but only 4.66 percent for undergraduates.

    Subsidized Loans the ones the government pays the interest on while youre in school are not available to graduate students.

    Grants Fellowships And Scholarships

    Grants, fellowships, and scholarships are great options for funding graduate school because you don’t need to pay this money back .

    What do I need to know about these sources of funds? There are many types of grants, fellowships, and scholarships available to graduate students. The federal government and government agencies often sponsor grants and fellowships to encourage study in certain disciplines, such as in the health field. Other organizations and entities, such as educational institutions, also fund these types of aid.

    Don’t hold off on applying for grants, fellowships, and scholarships, even if you haven’t firmed up your graduate school plans yet. The application process can take several months to complete, and you want to give yourself enough time to prepare all of the requested documentation.

    Where can I find out more? The Web is a great resource for finding grants, fellowships, and scholarships:

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