As a graduate student, you may qualify for federal support in the form of loans. We strongly encourage every eligible graduate student to apply for federal financial aid, even if you don’t demonstrate an exceptional financial need. Applying for federal aid is one of the largest and most common ways for graduate students to finance advanced study, and a key part of making your program more affordable.
A major part of an affordable Stevens education.
Your eligibility is determined by the information you provide on your FAFSA, which you must file each academic year. We outline the basics for you here, but be sure to refer to the Federal Student Aid website for full information.
Am I Eligible for Federal Financial Aid?
Federal student aid requires you to meet certain eligibility criteria. For instance, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, at Stevens and taking at least 4.5 or more graduate credits (half-time status)
- Able to sign the FAFSA stating that you are not in default on a federal loan and do not owe a refund on a federal grant
*Certificate programs at Stevens Institute of Technology do not meet the U.S. Department of Education's eligibility requirements for federal student aid. Students enrolled in a certificate program only will not be eligible to receive Title IV funding.
How Do I Apply?
To apply for federal financial aid, you must complete and file your FAFSA no later than February 15 if you are an incoming student, and April 15 if you are a returning student.
Based on the results of your FAFSA, Stevens will send you a financial aid offer, which may include a combination of different types of federal aid. We will also give you instructions at that time telling you how to accept all or part of the aid package.
Note: in most cases, graduate students do not have to provide their parents’ financial information on the FAFSA.
What Federal Student Aid is Available to Graduate Students?
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program provides the majority of the federal student aid that graduate students receive. Under this program, your lender is the U.S. Department of Education and you repay your loan to them, plus interest, usually starting six months after graduation (or withdrawal from Stevens). There are two types of Direct Loans that can help you fund your graduate education at Stevens:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans do not require you to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students has a fixed interest rate (see below). The interest on the loan begins to accrue as soon as Stevens receives the first funds.
- Direct PLUS Loans* are available if you need to borrow more than what you receive in unsubsidized loans. These loans have higher interest rates and fees than unsubsidized loans and also require a credit check. If you have an adverse credit history, you will need to complete additional documentation and credit counseling before you can receive the loan.
*If you have an adverse credit history, you may still be able to receive a Direct PLUS loan if you obtain an endorser with good credit, or if you can provide information about extenuating circumstances related to your credit history. The U.S. Department of Education will notify you if you’re required to complete credit counseling in order to receive a Federal PLUS loan. PLUS Counseling can be completed voluntarily at any time. More information is available at www.studentloans.gov.
What Are the Interest Rates for Graduate Level Federal Loans?
The Direct Loan interest rates for loans first disbursed after July 1, 2022 are:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate Students 6.54%
- Direct PLUS Loans 7.54%
*All Federal Direct Loans are charged an origination fee. For loans first disbursed after October 1, 2020, the Direct Unsubsidized Loan origination fee is 1.057% and the PLUS Loan origination fee is 4.228%.
View the most current interest rates and fees for federal loans at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Important Information About Federal Loans
- Federal loans usually offer you a lower interest rate and have more repayment options than bank loans or other private loans.
- When you receive a federal loan for the first time, you must complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Promissory Note on studentloans.gov. If you are a current graduate student, and have borrowed previously as an undergraduate student, you will be required to complete a new Direct Loan Entrance Counseling if you wish to borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan.
- You must begin to repay your federal loan six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. You can choose from several different federal loan repayment and forgiveness programs.
- The maximum amount that you can borrow as a graduate student for the academic year is $20,500.
- The graduate student aggregate loan limit, which is the combination of all of your federal loans including what you may have received as an undergraduate, is $138,500. You may be asked to provide documentation on your aggregate loan amount to the Office of Financial Aid before we apply your graduate federal loan to your account.
- You may also wish to consolidate your federal loans. There are pros and cons to consolidation, so be sure to review all of the official information in order to decide what’s right for you. Learn more about consolidating your loans.
p: 1.800.4FED.AID (1.800.433.3243)
Stevens Institute of Technology college code: 002639