Financial Aid Resources for Graduate Study
U.S. Department of Education Resources
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Students may also obtain information regarding their loans through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, including deferment forms and payment information.
Also check out information about the federal student aid programs.
Additional Loan Resources
Effective July 1, 2006 a graduate or professional student may be eligible to borrow a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan allows you, not your parents, to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid you receive. It has a fixed interest rate of 8.5%, and no aggregate limits. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify. Credit checks are also required to determine eligibility, but the credit criteria are much less stringent than for most private alternative loans. If you don’t meet the credit criteria you may still obtain the loan with an “endorser” who does meet the credit requirements. PLUS applicants cannot have adverse credit based on a review of at least one credit report from a national credit reporting agency. Adverse credit is defined as:
- No Federal Student Aid loans in default or delinquent status
- No accounts that are 90 days or more past due
- No evidence of default, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or judgments in the last five years
- No accounts in collection
- No accounts that were "write-offs" or never able to collect upon
A lack of credit history or insufficient credit history is not considered adverse credit. Credit-worthiness is not based on a FICO score, debt to income ratio, or annual salary.
You must complete a FAFSA and have applied for your annual loan maximum eligibility under the Stafford program first. You will also have to complete a Direct Loan PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) and PLUS Application for this loan.
If you decide to apply for the GRAD PLUS loan, you will need to log into http://www.studentloans.gov.
Students who need additional funds beyond the financial aid package offered have the option to borrow funds through a private lender. These loans are credit-based, so applicants may need a cosigner. International students may utilize private lenders if they have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.
The following websites are available for researching other sources of financial aid. Please be sure to pay close attention to the stated application deadlines.
- Sallie Mae
- College Board Scholarship Search
- Fast Aid
- Fellowship Resources Compiled by the Soros Fellowship
- National Association of Fellowship Advisors
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- School Grants, College Scholarships, Financial Aid, and More
Additional Sources of Financial Aid for International Students
The following information is designed to help international students in the search for additional sources of financial aid.
Institute of International Education (IIE)
The IIE is a nonprofit organization that promotes international education. They provide information about the Fulbright Program on their website: www.iie.org. Number and amount of grants differs from country to country.
They also publish several useful guides, including Funding for US Study: A guide for Foreign Nationals, English Language Orientation Programs (a guide to ESL programs in the US), and Academic Year Abroad. Books can be ordered through email at email@example.com.
You may also write to:
Institute of International Education (IIE)
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580
Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (IFP)
The Foundation sponsors three minority graduate fellowship programs--predoctoral, doctoral, and postdoctoral--through the National Research Council.
For information write or call:
National Research Council
2101 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20418
The IFP provides support for up to three years of formal graduate-level study. Fellows will be selected from countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia where the foundation maintains active overseas programs. U.S. nationals are not eligible, although fellows may study in the United States. IFP Fellows must be nationals of eligible countries.
Please refer to the following website for more detailed information concerning the application process, eligible candidates, and IFP requirements: www.fordfound.org.
International students may find the information on the websites below helpful in researching funding sources: