Paying for the MAT

A Guide for Graduate Students

Applying as a Graduate Student

  • Graduate and professional degree students are considered independent students and are not required to supply parent information on the FAFSA.

  • Completing the FAFSA online is easy and free. Recent statistics show that it takes an average of 17 minutes for independent students to complete it. You can complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.

  • Federal student loans offer several repayment plans, including an option to tie your monthly payment to your income. Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans at StudentAid.gov/federal-vs-private.


  • StudentAid.gov : Find detailed information about federal student aid and the FAFSA application process. The site includes helpful publications and tools for managing Direct Loans

Types of Financial Aid Available to Grad Students

Graduate and professional degree students may be eligible to receive aid from the following federal student aid programs:


The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program—This is the largest federal student loan program. Under this program, ED is your lender rather than a bank or other financial institution. There are two types of Direct Loans that graduate and professional degree students may receive:


  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans—Eligible students may borrow up to $20,500 per school year. Graduate and professional students enrolled in certain health profession programs may receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan amounts each academic year. Contact your school’s financial aid office for details.
  • Direct PLUS Loans—Eligible graduate and professional degree students who need to borrow more than the maximum unsubsidized loan amounts to meet their education costs may apply for a PLUS loan. A credit check will be performed during the application process.


Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program—This is a school-based loan program for eligible students with exceptional financial need. You may qualify for a Perkins Loan of up to $8,000 each year depending on your financial need, the amount of other aid you receive, and the availability of funds at your school.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant—The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. The TEACH Grant is different from other federal student grants in that it requires you to take certain kinds of classes to get the grant, and then to do a certain kind of job to keep the grant from turning into a loan.

Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program—The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. This program allows you to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.

Federal Pell Grant—A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. You may be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program. Amounts can change yearly.

Graduate PLUS Loans

Graduate PLUS Loans are available to graduate and professional degree students. Financial need is not a requirement.

  • PLUS Loans are unsubsidized: the borrower is responsible for interest that accrues during the life of the loan. Borrowers can request a loan for up to the full cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.


TIP: Graduate and professional students that borrow a PLUS Loan receive an automatic deferment while in school.

Other Types of Financial Aid

Aid From Other Federal Agencies

To find out about funding from agencies other than ED, visit StudentAid.gov/types.


State Aid

Many states offer assistance for graduate or professional school. Find state grant agency contact information at www.ed.gov/sgt.


School Aid

Statistics show that schools may provide nearly as much student aid as the federal government does. To find out what aid your school offers, contact the financial aid office as well as a faculty member in your area of study.