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Graduate Student Alternative Loan Options

What sources of financial aid are available to cover my graduate school expenses?

Graduate students eligible to file a FAFSA are awarded $20,500 of federal Direct Unsubsidized loan per year, provided they are enrolled at least half-time and within their lifetime aggregate loan limit of $138,500. Students are encouraged to apply for and accept Direct Unsubsidized Loan options before resorting to federal Grad PLUS or private loans. 

What is a Grad PLUS Loan?

The federal Grad PLUS Loan is the loan that most FSU graduate students apply for to cover the cost of attendance not met by their unsubsidized loan offer. The Grad PLUS loan is very easy to qualify for and typically does not require a cosigner. The Grad PLUS Loan interest rate for 2023-24 is 8.05% fixed. The loan does carry a 4.228% loan processing fee. You may apply for the Grad PLUS Loan at Log in using your FSA ID then select the "In school" option, then Apply for a PLUS Loan for Graduate school. Summer Grad PLUS Loan applications will be available on April 1, 2024. 

What are private education loans? 

Private educational loans are available from private lenders for graduate students whose cost of attendance has not been met with other financial aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is not required to apply for a private loan, however students are encouraged to file the FAFSA to exhaust federal aid options before applying for private loans. Private loans are not federal student aid.

How do I choose a private lender?

Ferris State University does not endorse or recommend any lender. Terms and conditions vary widely from lender to lender and different loan features are important to different borrowers. It is very important that each borrower research and compare multiple lenders in order to find the best loan product for them. 

To help you begin your research, we are providing you with a link to the ElmSelect listing of private graduate loans that that can assist you in your search for a lender. These tools are provided as a starting point for your research, not as a recommendation or endorsement. The tools below are not an all-inclusive list of lenders or loan products that are available. Ferris State University will process an alternative loan from any lender that you choose. If you have questions regarding private loans, please contact our office.