Graduate students

"Graduate students" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

A student working on a master's degree or higher. A graduate student is a student who is enrolled in a Masters or PhD program. An independent student will be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program (beyond a bachelor’s degree) at the beginning of the 2010–11 academic year. Under the FWS Program, Graduate student can work part-time to earn money for your education by the hour or by salary, depending on the work you do.

Degree program during first term
Degree program the student is enrolled in during first term of the academic year. It could be:

Doctorate
One of several degrees granted by graduate schools.

Graduate Student Financial Aid
Financial aid is available for students who already hold a bachelor's degree. Students in any post bachelor's program must be enrolled in at least 6 hrs to be eligible for financial aid. Here are a few other helpful hints for students looking to receive financial aid.

Graduate students (Masters, Doctoral)

Undergraduate and graduate or professional degree students may receive Stafford Loans. Graduate and professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students may receive PLUS Loans.

All unsubsidized Stafford Loans (for both undergraduate and graduate students) have a fixed interest rate of 6.8% but subsidized Stafford Loans made to graduate students have a fixed interest rate of 6.8%. Parents of dependent students and students pursuing a graduate or professional degree can borrow from the PLUS Loan program.

Unlike parent PLUS applicants, graduate and professional degree student PLUS applicants must file a FAFSA. In addition, graduate and professional degree students must have their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Stafford Loan program determined by the school before they apply for a PLUS Loan. The maximum PLUS Loan amount that a parent or graduate and professional degree student can borrow is the student’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.

Graduate may be awarded up to $8,000 a year (maximum of $60,000, including undergraduate loans) as Federal Perkins Loans. Graduate or professional degree students enrolled FFEL PLUS Loans at least half-time. Borrower must not have negative credit history. Graduate and professional students enrolled in certain health profession programs may receive additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan amounts beyond those shown above.

Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional Degree Student Maximum Annual Loan Limits Chart (Aggregate Loan Limits) For Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans:

Year Dependent Undergraduate Student (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Undergraduate Student (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Graduate and Professional Degree Student
First Year $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $20,500—No more than $8,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Second Year $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Third and Beyond (each year) $7,500— No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Maximum Total Debt From Stafford Loans When You Graduate (aggregate loan limits) $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $138,500—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate debt limit includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

Special Note:
The amounts shown in the chart above are the maximum amounts that you may borrow for an academic year (annual loan limits) and in total (aggregate loan limits). These are combined annual and aggregate loan limits for Stafford Loans received under both the FFEL and Direct Loan programs. You might receive less than the maximum if you receive other financial aid that’s used to cover a portion of your cost of attendance. The maximum amount you may borrow will also be less in certain situations, such as if you are an undergraduate student enrolled in a program of study that is shorter than an academic year. Graduate and professional students enrolled in certain health profession programs may receive additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan amounts beyond those shown above. Your school can refuse to certify your loan or can certify a loan for an amount less than you would otherwise be eligible for if the school documents the reason for its action and explains the reason to you in writing. The school’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. The information was compiled in the summer of 2009. For changes to the federal student aid programs since then, visit http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/

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