Graduate School Financial Aid – Do You Know What Your Options Are

While graduate students can take advantage of various Federal and private loan programs, they can also choose financial aid options that aren’t available to undergraduates. Graduate school is expensive, and students look for way to meet the expense and keep the costs low. Students should research their financial options before applying to graduate school. Sensible planning and research could result in paying a small tuition.

Federal and Private Loans

Approximately 54% of graduate students pay their tuition with student loans. The qualifying requirements for a student loan are minimum, and many lenders offer loans to students with bad credit. There are two types of student loans: Federal and Private. Federal loans are the most popular because they are non-credit based and include very low interest rates. Federal Loans available to graduate students include the Perkins Loan, Direct Loans, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Federal PLUS Loan.

The Federal government does not finance or insure private student loans. Instead, banks, credit unions, and other private lenders finance these loans. Thus, your credit score has a huge impact on the loan’s interest rate. However, if approved for a private loan, you’ll receive fast processing and have funds for additional education-related expenses.

Graduate School Fellowships

Fellowships are like scholarships and grants, but meant for graduate students. Graduate students with a fellowship receive a monetary award that pays for tuition, books, and other expenses. Fellowship requirements vary. In most cases, graduate students must simply maintain a high GPA. Many colleges and universities offer fellowships. In addition, private organizations award graduate school fellowships.

Financial Aid for On-the-Job Training

If you need money to pay for graduate school, consider working as an assistant. Graduate students can work for a college or university department and receive tuition assistance, expense stipend, or housing benefits. The standard work requirement is 15-20 hours per week, and students can work for a single semester or an entire year. Different opportunities include Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Resident Assistants.

Financing College With School Loans – Uncle Sam Is Best

Anyone who wants an even remotely secure financial future cannot do without a college diploma. Yet the cost of getting that college diploma can in itself be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a secure financial future. Even public colleges and universities are rapidly pricing themselves beyond the means of many middle-income families, but for them, a well-though out school loan may be the solution. Properly planned, a school loan need not saddle a student with crippling debt upon graduation.

School loans can be categorized as need-based and non-need based. Need-based loans are for families for whom the cost of higher education will truly present a hardship; they are specifically earmarked to defray some of those costs.

A non-need loan will cove some shortfalls in the education find when a family which can normally pay for college runs into temporary difficulty.

Stafford Loans

One of the beat school loan programs on both the graduate and undergraduate levels is the Stafford loan program. Providing unsecured government guaranteed school loans, the Stafford program offers a rate of interest which accumulates at a slower pace as long as the student is enrolled in school. The long-term interest rate will is also fixed for the life of the loan, and the Stafford school loan has a six-month post graduate grace period during which the graduate doe not have to make monthly payments.

PLUS Loans

The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or Federal PLUS Program, resembles the Stafford loan program but is offers non-need based school loans and will let parents borrow the entire amount of their child’s education costs beyond any other forms of financial aid. These loans have a term of up to ten years, but can be prepaid at any time without penalty. The parents can even start making payments while their child remains in school.

Both Stafford and Plus school loans, however, may still not be enough to cover the full cost of college today. So any difference can be made up with alternative school loans, which are private loans available from many different lenders. As student loans, they carry low interest rates, no application fees, payment grace periods, and a variety of repayment plans. In that they are very similar to the government school loans.

The Home Equity School Loan Option

Parents who have exhausted their school loan options can also consider a home equity loan to fund their child’s schooling. A home equity loan, however, will not offer the flexible repayment options of a government school loan, and the repayments will have to be made on time or the parents risk foreclosure. A home equity loan should be used to finance college only as a last resort.

Graduate School Loans – Pros and Cons of Student Loan Finance Options

Choosing the right student loan option for graduate school can be hard. There are many options available; and while some loans offer enormous benefits, they may come with a few drawbacks. Prior to applying for a graduate student loan or accepting a loan, you should research different options and ascertain the good and the bad.

Pros and Cons of Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans such as the Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, and Direct Loan are widely used by graduate students. These loans are ideal because there is no credit check. The Federal government guarantees the funds, and students with no credit history or bad credit can qualify for these loans. Additionally, Federal loans offer rates lower than most private lenders and flexible repayment options keeps debt payments affordable.

The downside to Federal student loans is that loan amounts are small and rarely cover the full cost of tuition. Students who need additional money have to pay the excess with credit cards or obtain a private student loan from a bank or credit union. Moreover, Federal loans cannot be used for other expenses. The school receives the distributed funds, and money is limited to tuition, books, and housing.

PLUS Loans Advantages and Disadvantages

The Federal government finances PLUS Loans, however, the requirements are somewhat different. While graduate students apply for other Federal loans, parents apply for the PLUS Loans and use the funds to pay for their child’s education expenses. The advantage of PLUS Loans is that parents can borrow the entire cost of tuition. Like other Federal loan programs, borrowers receive a low interest rate and the loan offers several repayment options. Unfortunately, parents are responsible for repaying a PLUS Loan, and a credit check is required.

Private Student Loan Options

Private student loans fill in the gap by paying college expenses not covered by Federal loan programs. Many graduate students like private loans because the processing time is relatively quick and funds are distributed within three to five days. Plus, the money received from a private student loan can pay for a variety of other expenses such as computer, school supplies, transportation, etc. The major drawback to private student loans is the high interest rates and credit check. Private student loans are essentially personal loans. To qualify for a low rate, students must have satisfactory credit or a co-borrower.

How Do You Get Graduate School Student Loans

Are you considering to attend graduate school but don’t have the financial capacity? If one wants to pursue school, you would need to have enough financing that would cover everything from tuition fee to material that would be use. If you need financing then you are part of graduate school student loans market. There are ways for you to avail this kind of loan with really the stress.

The first step is to fill up necessary paperwork. If you are searching through the internet or traditional source for a loan, there is an application form to be filled up. You would need to submit it by deadline. Once you got a financial aid statement, you will take this to your preferred lending institution and fill out the necessary documents. You will need to agree with the terms and receive the loan.

The next thing is to contact the local bank. This is the next step if you opt for traditional borrowing route. The current bank may have graduate school student loans that you can choose from. To find out if they have one, contact them directly or inquire in private. If they offer graduate school student loans, compare different rates, annual limits, repayment terms and disbursement methods. Aside from local banks, there are financial institutions that you can find online. Many of the services are offered even to students outside of the local area. To chose from graduate school student loans, there are comparison websites that you can use. Input the data in the calculator to find the best deal for you.

There are peer to peer lending companies that you can check out. They offer direct loans to anyone who wants to pursue college and even grad school studies. The thing with this institution is their strict requirements. It would be hard to be eligible. Examples of requirement include 18 years of residence in the state, valid social security, credit score of over 600 and above and at least 3 credit lines with 2 being active.

Ask you friends and family for support. Everybody is looking for ways to make better investment in the future. If you offer to pay someone higher than normal interest rate, they might accept it. Just see to it that you put everything in writing. Clear the terms and agreement. Stay committed to pay back. Obtaining a school loan is not easy. Just follow these steps to finance your education.

Financing Law School

A legal education is one of the largest investments you will ever make in your life. As such, you must fully understand how much an education costs and how your lifestyle will be affected, and be sure to have significant reasons for making such an investment.

Law School Is Expensive

With tuition and living expenses approaching $50,000 a year, you must consider how this debt will impact a large part of your life. Paying off $150,000 takes a long time and with the legal market being in its current state of suffering, the odds of paying off student debt are quickly diminished. That is not to say it is impossible, but the debt is a real hardship associated with obtaining a legal education.

In addition to tuition, most students have to take out Federal Loans (Stafford Loans and Grad Plus Loans) to pay for housing, food, insurance, gas, and just about everything else necessary for sustaining life. Keep in mind, everything you spend money on is being financed, and you will be paying interest on it. Thus, remember the adage “if you live like a lawyer in law school, you will live like a law student when you’re a lawyer.” Use a “law school calculator” to help determine the minimum amount of money you can live on for the next three years. Lastly, budget your time and money, and strictly follow your budget. Living meagerly for three years will certainly reduce the burdens of the debt upon graduation.

Employment

In addition to a financial investment, you are making a huge time investment. Keeping employment during the first two years of school is discouraged. Your time will be consumed by law school, and the last thing you will want to do is dedicate the rest of your time to work, and have no free time. The American Bar Association even places limits on the number of hours a full time 1L may work.

Working as a law student can really take it out of you…
Many students find paid summer employment. However, most students end up working at law firms and organizations for free during the summer. Even then, the money is nominal compared to the accruing debt.

On the other hand, many students continue to work with their summer employer throughout their 3L year. During 3L year, time is “freer,” and balancing work with school is a possibility. Working for an employer during the school year is not about the money; it is about establishing a good relationship and receiving a job offer upon graduation.

Law School Scholarships

If your GPA and LSAT are very high, schools may offer you a scholarship to offset some of the costs. These scholarships can be somewhat misleading, so research the details and requirements associated with a scholarship offer. Many law school scholarships require a consistent law school GPA above a certain number. This is much harder to achieve than it sounds. Law schools use a curved grading system, so that only a small percentage of students can obtain a high GPA (usually set around the GPA required for scholarship). For example, school X may require a 3.2 GPA to keep a scholarship, but the curve allows for only the top 20% of students to have a 3.2 or above. As a result, many students lose their scholarship after the first semester or first year.