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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What types of federal financial aid are graduate students eligible to receive?

Eligible ASU graduate students can receive the Federal Direct Student Loan (unsubsidized only beginning July 1, 2012), the Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, and Federal Work-Study. Graduate students are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.

How do ASU graduate students apply for federal financial aid?

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year and listing ASU's school code of 001090. The FAFSA can be completed electronically at www.fafsa.gov.

When is the deadline for applying?

Students are encouraged to apply in January and February prior to the start of the fall semester in which they will be enrolled.

Do I need to include my parent's income on the FAFSA?

No, if you apply as a graduate student, you should only list your income. If you are married, you must also list your spouse's income.

What is considered full-time for a student in the fall and spring semesters? Half-time?

For financial aid purposes, ASU graduate students carrying 9 or more hours during each fall and spring semester are considered full-time; graduate students carrying 4.5 to 8 hours are considered half-time. Graduate students carrying less than 4.5 hours in the fall or spring semesters are considered less than half-time and are not eligible to receive a Federal Direct Loan or a Federal Perkins Loan.

What about in the summer semester?

In the summer semester, ASU graduate students carrying three hours in total throughout the different summer sessions are considered half-time. Graduate students only carrying less than 3 hours in the summer are considered less than half-time and are not eligible to receive a Federal Direct Student Loan. The Federal Perkins Loan is not available in the summer to any students.

I have not been officially admitted to my graduate program yet. Can I receive federal aid as a "special" or "conditional student?"

No, federal regulations prevent the financial aid office from giving federal aid to students who are not recognized by the university as working within a degree program. Once your special or conditional student status changes and you are officially admitted, your eligibility can then be determined for federal aid.

Are international students eligible for federal financial aid?

If you are in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa (pertaining to international organizations), you are not eligible for federal financial aid. Generally, if you are a U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551) or a conditional permanent resident with an I-551C you are eligible to receive federal aid.

Loan Questions

What is a Direct Unsubsidized Federal Student Loan?

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans accrue interest while the student is in school but the principal is deferred. Although the interest is accruing on the unsubsidized loan, students can defer any interest payments while they are enrolled at least half-time.

What are the loan limits in the Federal Direct Loan program for graduate students?

Graduate students, if otherwise eligible, may receive up to a maximum of $20,500 annually in the Federal Direct Loan Program. No student can receive federal financial aid beyond their estimated costs of attendance. If your annual estimated cost of attendance (as determined by the Financial Aid Office) is less than $20,500, you would only be eligible for the cost of attendance.

I reached the maximum total debt as an undergraduate student. Can I borrow more as a graduate student?

The maximum total debt for the Federal Direct Loan (both subsidized and unsubsidized) is $138,500. Only $65,500 of that amount can be in subsidized loans. This debt limit includes any loan amounts in these programs you received as an undergraduate.

What are Graduate PLUS Loans?

  • These loans are for Graduate and Professional students only.
  • Student must complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).
  • Student must have applied for maximum Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility before applying for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.
  • Student may be eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other aid.
  • Student must complete a credit check and not have adverse credit history.
  • Repayment begins within sixty days of final disbursement.
  • Deferment provisions available
  • 7.9% interest rate
Get more information on how to apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan >>

Are there other loan programs in addition to the Federal Direct Loan programs?

If you are not eligible for federal loans of any kind, or need additional loan funds, you may wish to apply for alternative student loans. There are several lenders who offer alternative loans. The following is just a partial list. This list does not intend to endorse any lender. You, as a consumer, are advised to investigate thoroughly your choices before selecting an alternative loan lender. There may be significant differences in costs, benefits and/or service between various lenders.

Learn more information regarding Alternative Loans >>

Should I consolidate my undergraduate loans? My graduate loans? What are the benefits?

Undergraduate and graduate Federal Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Loans can be consolidated together. The major benefits of loan consolidation are ease of repayment and a fixed interest rate.

Can I consolidate my Federal Perkins Loans with my Federal Stafford Loans?

Yes, you can. However, you will lose the Perkins Discharge and Cancellation provisions. If you feel you may benefit from any of those provisions, you may not want to include your Federal Perkins Loan obligations when you consolidate your Federal Stafford/Direct Loans.