Perkins Student Loans
Perkins Loans are offered through the school you attend. These loans are available to both full-time and part-time graduate students and are repaid directly to the school. A Perkins Loan can cover up to $6,000 a year with an interest rate of 5 percent*. Recipients of Perkins Loans are selected based on financial need; if you received a Pell grant as an undergraduate student, you'll likely be offered a Perkins Loan.
Graduate Stafford Loans
You can qualify for a Stafford Loan for up to $18,500 a year without demonstrating financial need. If you have financial need, the government will pay the interest on up to $8,500 of the loan while you're in graduate school, during the six months after you leave school, and if you defer your loan. Interest rates on Stafford Loans are fixed at 6.8 percent*.
There are two types of Stafford Loans: a direct loan and a Federal Family Education Loan. Direct Stafford Loans are paid by the federal government and repaid directly to the government. If you receive a FFEL Loan, your loan money will come from a private institution, and you will repay your student loan to that same institution. You will, however, have the opportunity to select your lender.
PLUS Student Loans
If you need additional financial aid for graduate school, you may qualify for the new Graduate PLUS Loan. This new federal loan is only available to students who can pass a credit check. Direct PLUS Loans have a locked interest rate of 7.9 percent*, and FFEL PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 8.5 percent*.
To apply for any of these federal loans, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can now complete the application and manage your student financial aid online.
Other education loans are available from private financial institutions; however, they generally have a variable interest rate.*All interest rates listed are for student loans disbursed beginning July 1, 2006. Interest rates may change for loans disbursed during the 2007-2008 school year.