Graduate Student Information
As a graduate student seeking financial aid, you may face situations unique from those undergraduate and applied technology students encounter.
Examples of those unique situations include:
- Federal PLUS Loans available for graduate students
- Different credit requirements for student loan eligibility
- Different Student Loan limits
- Maximum credit standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress eligibility
- An enrollment status of "conditionally admitted"
PLUS loans are available to graduate students who still have an unmet Cost of Attendance after borrowing $20,500 through the Federal Direct Loan program and other sources of aid. The PLUS loans are a better financial option than an alternative student loan from a private lender. Credit Requirements for Graduate Students Seeking Loans
- The differences between the Federal PLUS loan for graduate students and other federal loan programs include:
- A credit check is required to be approved for a PLUS loan. Applicants with an adverse credit history may still qualify with an eligible co-signer.
- Borrowers must request an in school deferment if enrolled at least half-time. If granted, payments on the principle will be deferred, but student should be paying the interest while enrolled.
- See interest rate at http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/plus
- A separate PLUS Master Promissory Note must be completed and signed
- A loan counseling session is required for each PLUS loan requested
- The Graduate PLUS Loan application form must be completed and submitted to the ISU Financial Aid Office. Submit the appropriate year.
To receive graduate level loans, a graduate student must:
- Be enrolled at least five (5) graduate level credits (combination of graduate and undergraduate level credits are considered on a case by case basis)
- Be accepted into a specific graduate program
- Meet all other aid eligibility requirements
Graduate students will initially be awarded graduate level loans with the assumption that the above enrollment requirements will be met. If you do not meet the qualifications outlined above, you will see a hold on the BengalWeb Finances tab about a month before aid disbursement for the upcoming term.
To defer payments on existing student loans, graduate student must be enrolled in 5 or more graduate level credits. If a student drops below the 5 credit graduate level requirement an Exit Interview must be completed at http://www.nslds.ed.gov
Two Loan Disbursements Are Required for All Federal Loans and a 30-Day Delay on First Disbursements for First-time, First-year Borrowers
Federal regulations require that all Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized and PLUS) must be disbursed in two disbursements based on your enrollment period. The first disbursement for first-time, first-year borrowers will be 30 days after the beginning of the first semester enrolled at least half-time. For additional information see "Loan Disbursement Changes".
Changes to Direct PLUS Loan Programs - Effective March 29th, 2015
There are a few changes coming to the Federal Direct PLUS loan programs (Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS) effective March 29, 2015. We wanted to make you aware of these changes as they may impact you or your parent if you choose to participate in one of the PLUS loan programs. See Changes to Direct PLUS Loan Programs - Effective March 29th, 2015
Below is the maximum annual amount you can receive each financial aid year (fall, spring & summer) at the graduate level. The amount you are awarded may not exceed your "Cost of Attendance" which is an estimated budget established each year.
Annual Graduate Loan Limits
Unsubsidized Total - $20,500
If there is still unmet Cost of attendance the student may qualify for a Graduate PLUS Loan.
The combined undergraduate and graduate total debt you can have in outstanding federal loans is $138,500. Graduate PLUS Loans are separate and can go over the maximum aggregate of $138,500.
Your financial aid eligibility will be limited to a maximum number of credit hours that you have attempted at ISU and any other institution you have attended. The limit on credit hours is based on your stated degree or certificate objective. The maximum attempted credits allowed for degree or certificate completion will be no more than 150% of the credits needed to complete that type of degree. When the maximum number of credit hours is reached, you will be denied financial aid. You may have the option to appeal for further financial aid. Refer to the following list for specific credit maximums.
Maximum credits for Satisfactory Academic Progress Eligibility
- Pharm D - 270
- Physician Assistant - 100
- Master's Degree - 85
- Doctoral Degree - 140
- Ed Specialist (Ed. S) - 50
An admission status of "conditionally admitted " is a non-eligible status for receiving federal financial aid.
When your admission status is "conditionally admitted" you will have an "Award Status" notification on your BengalWeb ("Finances tab").
"Conditionally admitted" status as a graduate may mean one of several possible situations including:
- You have not yet been admitted into a specific master's program
- You may have further documents to submit to complete your application to a specific program
- The academic department is in the process of reviewing your application
- Your academic department has not forwarded the necessary notifications to the Graduate Admissions Office
Follow up with the office of the academic program you are pursuing and with the Graduate Admissions Office (282-2150) to change your status. Once your status with the Office of the Registrar (282-2661) shows you are admitted into a specific program, you should see the "Award Status" notification disappear from BengalWeb within one week. Awarding of your aid will follow as long as all other documents are completed and you meet all other aid eligibility requirements.
Students must complete Exit Counseling when dropping below 5 graduate credits or upon graduation.