Graduate Stafford Loans
In the fall of 2012, nearly 1.74 million people were enrolled in graduate programs in the United States, according to a report produced by the Council of Graduate Schools. These students are taking advantage of the opportunity to tap into in-depth knowledge about a specific field or industry, and it’s likely that their dedication will be rewarded with higher salaries and more interesting jobs, when it’s time to enter the job market.
However, since graduate programs do offer a specialized form of knowledge, and the teachers that administer these programs can demand a higher salary as a result, these programs often come with a high price tag. Graduate Stafford Loans (also known as Direct Loans) can help students to cover those fees.
Undergraduate students have two forms of Direct Loans to choose from. One type of loan is particularly attractive to students, as it comes with automatic interest payments. As long as students stay enrolled in school and progress nicely toward graduation, they’re not expected to cover the interest charges for the loan. It’s a great way for students to save money, but unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education reports that these subsidized loans aren’t available to graduate students. Instead, students pursuing advanced degrees can only apply for unsubsidized loans, and as a result, they will be required to pay interest-related fees.
Interest charges begin to accrue as soon as the first bit of money is disbursed, and some students choose to defer those interest payments while they’re in school. Doing so can reduce their day-to-day cost-of-living charges, but there could be some surprises in store, as the deferred payments are tacked onto the principal amount of the loan. This could mean that students pay interest payments on the interest payments they defer, and that might make the loan a little more expensive.
As a result, many students choose to make interest-only payments while they’re in graduate school. The bills might be small, but they can keep students from paying much more throughout the life of the loan.
- Their monthly take-home pay
- The amount of money they have in savings
- The amount of money they owe due to credit cards or cars
- The value of the homes and other assets they owe
Students who wish to apply for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan must provide this same type of information, but it typically isn’t used against the student. In other words, those students with heavy debts and low assets aren’t banned from participating in the Direct Loan process. They’ll get the loans, if they apply.
The first step involves filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When this application is complete, students are notified whether or not they’ve been approved for the loan products that could help them to pay for school.
If you’d like to know more about how to pay for your graduate school education, we’d like to help. We have a list of scholarships that might help you to reduce your tuition costs, and we have a list of private loans that could help you to pull together funding, should public sources fail you. Please start browsing to find out more.