Does your institution offer campus scholarships?
There are scholarships for every student, but they are offered by various departments on campus. When searching for institutional scholarships, double check to see if you will be eligible as a graduate student. Check out Emporia State University's listing of scholarships for a great example of scholarship listings.
Finally, be sure to check your institution's financial aid Web site for more details about new graduate school scholarships and application deadlines.
Can you explain the Maryland Higher Education Commission?
Because Towson University is located in Maryland, graduate students who are residents of Maryland have an advantage with Maryland's Higher Education Commission. These residential students can be awarded scholarships and graduate school grants based on need and merit and sometimes will have degree or major requirements. These awards are given by the state; it is then the institutions' job to verify that the student meets all of the requirements and post that money to the student's bill.
Check with the state where your school is located. There is a good chance that you can receive additional financial aid based on where you live and where you will be attending school.
Would you recommend that students defer undergraduate loans during graduate school?
Federal Loans are deferred automatically with the Direct Loan Program. Students need to be enrolled in courses to equal at least half-time status. Additionally, students must be taking courses in a degree-granting program at their institution. Check with your institution to make sure that you are fully admitted to a degree-granting program to be eligible for the Direct Loan Program.
Would you recommend graduate students to complete the FASFA form even if they have an assistantship that will pay tuition?
It is recommended to still complete the FASFA for books and living expenses. The results of the FAFSA will tell you what the government will provide for you as a student.
Can graduate students apply for the Stafford loan as they may have during their undergraduate work?
Direct Stafford Loans come through the results of a FASFA. Students won't have to seek out a loan (for example, through their bank); it's federally funded through the school. This simply means that the government will send the school the money to cover the student's bill, and then it will be the graduate student's responsibility to pay it back six months following completion of the degree or if the student stops going to school at least half time.