Funding for Graduate School
These days, the most rewarding job opportunities are available to those who have completed some studies at a graduate level. However, graduate school is much more expensive than undergraduate school and a lot of students may not be able to pursue a graduate program because of the high cost. What most students do not know is how to fund graduate school. There is a variety of loans, grants and scholarships that can provide you with funding for graduate school.
How to Find the Best Funding Option
To find the best funding option for graduate school, you should explore all of your choices including scholarships, grants, loans and even your personal assets and savings. When considering a loan, choose one that is most convenient for you to pay back and one that has a low rate of interest. Our Loan Comparison Tool will help you compare the different loan options you have, helping you choose the one that suits you best.
What are the different types of student loans for graduate or professional program students?
There are two main types of student loans for graduate students – federal loans and private loans. Federal loans are either federally funded or federally backed (or insured) student loans.
Federal Stafford Loans
- You must be enrolled at least half-time.
- Maximum award of $20,500 per graduate year that cannot exceed $138,500 when combined with undergraduate Stafford borrowing. (Higher limits are available for certain medical programs – ask your financial aid office for details).
- The interest rate is fixed at 6.21% for the 2014-15 academic year.
- Repayment normally starts six months after leaving school (or attending less than half-time).
Federal GradPLUS Loans
- A light credit check is required.
- You do not have to show financial need to qualify.
- You may borrow up to your total cost of attendance, minus any other aid you receive.
- The interest rate is fixed at 7.21% for the 2014-15 academic year.
- The loan is not subsidized (the government pays no interest).
- Repayment is deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time.
- Are borrowed through private entities, banks, credit unions or lending companies
- Interest rates can vary
- Can borrow up to the total cost of attendance, less other financial aid
- Interest can be capitalized (added to the loan principal) more often, increasing the amount of money you ultimately are charged for borrowing.
- Approval and terms for private loans are based on credit history. If your rating is bad or non-existent, you might need a cosigner to qualify. Poor or minimal credit may also result in a higher interest rate on your loan.
Are there any special loans for my graduate program?
Many lenders have loans for specific programs of study, such as MBA programs, Medical School, Dental School, Law School, and more. You can compare options for financing your preparation for the bar examination and for your medical residency expenses. Begin your search. Speak to the financial aid administrator at your school for more details.
Types of Student Loans
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