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Student Aid FAQ

How to Pay for Grad School
Answered by Anita Thomas on 01/03/2020

To qualify for federal, state, and college financial aid for graduate school, you have to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is required to receive federal and state grants and scholarships, as well as federal student loans, including Perkins Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Grad PLUS Loans.

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What is the average amount of a student loan?
The average federal loan debt outstanding is $28,973 per borrower, as of June 30, 2015.

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Are there subsidized loans for graduate students?
The subsidized Federal Stafford Loan is no longer available to graduate and professional school students. As of July 1, 2012, graduate students and professional school students are eligible only for the unsubsidized Federal Stafford loan. Undergraduate students remain eligible for new subsidized Federal Stafford loans.

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What are the credit requirements for Grad PLUS loans?

The borrower of a Grad PLUS Loan must not have an adverse credit history. An adverse credit history is defined as being 90 or more days delinquent on any debt, or having a credit report that shows default, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a federal student loan debt during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.


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Are there any repayment discounts for private consolidation loans?
Some lenders provide auto-debit discounts for making automatic monthly payments by direct debit from a bank account. Typical discounts include an interest rate reduction of 0.25% or 0.50%.

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What's the difference between scholarships and grants?
Both scholarships and grants are forms of gift aid, which is money for college that does not need to be earned or repaid. Although people often use the terms scholarships and grants as synonyms or interchangeably, there are important differences.

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Are there really scholarships for twins?
Yes, there are several scholarships available for twins and other multiples, especially identical twins and triplets.

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Are there scholarships for students with red hair?
There is one scholarship for students with natural red hair color, ScholarshipRed. ScholarshipRed offers one $500 scholarship for redheads each year. The scholarship is open to high school juniors and seniors who have natural red hair color, reside in the U.S. and have a high school GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

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How long is the repayment term for private consolidation loans?
The length of the repayment term varies by lender, typically 15, 20 or 25 years. Lenders offering fixed interest rates may have shorter repayment terms. The repayment term may depend on the amount borrowed.

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How to Apply for a Direct Stafford Student Loan?

You need to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before you can take out federal student loans, including Direct Loans (sometimes called Stafford Loans) and Perkins Loans.

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