How do I get financial aid for graduate school?
Question: I have to admit I was luck enough to have my parents pay for my entire undergraduate education. They are well off and I did not have to apply for financial aid or student loans.
I will be paying for my own graduate school and want to know how I go about applying for financial aid. Obviously I would prefer some assistance that I would not have to pay back, but would also take a low interest loan to supplement. I am 25, make $35,000 per year and do not live with my parents. Would I be likely to qualify for anything? How far in advance do I need to apply and do I need to know which school I going to for sure before I can? How do I get started? I would appreciate any advice. My parents did offer to pay for this, but I am looking to go an out of state school and would like to pay on my own and invest inmy own future. Thanks!
First, you need to fill out a FAFSA form. This is to apply for federal financial aid. This form is online, I think at fafsa.gov. This will provide you access to what is generally called "Title IV" or "government" loans. Everyone can get this. You also may need to fill out the financial aid forms associated with the prospective schools.
However, graduate school is much different from undergraduate. Graduate students may receive fellowships, which are basically free tuition plus a stipend combination usually with NO work requirement, OR assistantships, which typically waive tuition or reduce it dramatically and provide a wage in exchange for research or teaching assistantship duties. Having one of these makes one a "funded" student.
Choosing to attend a graduate program as an "unfunded" student may not be wise. Generally, most of the better schools fund the graduate students that they feel have "potential." The unfunded students are often not given comparable opportunities for professional development or networking. Basically, they pay the bills, but receive the shorter end of the stick. Now, if your goal of going to graduate school is basically to tack on an M.A. in a discipline related to your undergraduate degree in order to be more competitive for basic jobs, then you will probably be unfunded and only want the degree and not necessarily professional development in the particular subject area.
As far as applying in advance goes, most schools have their own calendars. You should research institutions and choose wisely. From the sound of things, you could use a mentor or counselor. Perhaps your undergraduate school has such services for alumni. I would check into that first. If not, perhaps you should make an appointment with the graduate school admissions office of your state's flagship school (University of STATE/State U, etc.) at their main campus and discuss your future goals and plans.
Also, please be advised that professional school (law, medicine, dentistry, etc.) is not handled the same
way as graduate school in terms of financial aid. Again, I would first figure out where I wanted to go, fill out the FAFSA form, fill out the schools' forms, and then go from there. Should you be planning professional school, the schools will steer you toward LawLoans, MedLoans. etc. as applicable.
Good Luck. you need to go to the school you will be attendings finacial aide office and they will direct you to loans. You will definately be eligible for something everyone is. As far as I know you can still fill out the FAFSA for graduate school. To receive any financial aid this must be filled out.
www.fafsa.ed.gov You can apply for federal aid here
But seeing how much you make you might be eligible for only federal loans with has a lower interest than private loans. But man, if you parents are willing (and can afford) to pay let them pay for at least some of it. If you can get out of school debt free it will start you off great when you graduate. You won't be eligible for any grants since you've already earned the first degree. You may be eligible for some interest-subsidized loans. You'll just have to apply using a FAFSA and see what comes from the college's financial aid office. At very least you should be able to get an unsusbsidized loan. The application can usually be processed fairly quickly but it's best to do it a few months in advance, and you can send your apllication to a few schools if you're not sure where you're going.
I know there's a pride element and a want to pay for it yourself, but why not accept some help from your parents? I actually paid for my grad school with loans, and I wish I didn't have to pay them back now. Hello, Pick a college, go to the college counselor and ask for financial aid counselor and ask him to go over the conditions of those grants and loans,Grants are free and loans you pay pack.
"Remember" when borrowing from a loan from the US department of Education", when a loan is in default they pose a high interest which will take longer to pay pack but you can pay your loan with other grants to pay back your guarranteed student loan if you can't pay it back. the payments can be as low as $25 a month..if you still cant pay back your loan become a professional student and the US Departement of Education will give you a longer grace period. Of course, you'll get a loan !
A good idea would be to try a local bank or credit union with your parents, and see if you can get a better interest rate if you have a co-signer.
And look for government grad. loans.
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