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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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Do I have to fill out the FAFSA every year?
Answered by Edvisors Network on 11/01/2015
Yes, most academic financial aid offices require that you re-apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA application every year you're enrolled in school. One important reason you should fill out your FAFSA every year: your eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year. Factors that can affect your financial aid eligibility can include changes in your family's economic status as well as the number of family members enrolled in college at the same time as you.

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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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Does a private consolidation loan save the borrower money?
It depends. A private consolidation loan may reduce the monthly payment by increasing the term of the loan. But, while this may make the monthly payment more affordable, it does not save the borrower money. Increasing the term of the loan often leads to more interest being charged over the life of the loan.

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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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What's the difference between a FAFSA and a Renewal FAFSA?
The Renewal FAFSA is available to students who filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the previous award year. It uses demographic data from the previous year’s FAFSA to pre-fill this year’s FAFSA. This can significantly reduce the time it will take to complete the FAFSA.

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When do I have to start repaying my student loans?
Most student loans enter repayment within 6 months of the borrower graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment.

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Are there any penalties for prepayment of private consolidation loans?
As with all federal and private student loans, there are no prepayment penalties for making extra payments or paying off the balance early.

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Does the private consolidation loan have to be approved by the school?
Private consolidation loans are generally not school-certified since they are refinancing existing private student loan debt after the student has graduated.

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Is a cosigner required to obtain a private consolidation loan?
Private consolidation loans are similar in many ways to private student loans. If the primary borrower does not satisfy credit criteria, a cosigner may be required. Recent college graduates may not have long enough of a credit history to qualify without a cosigner. Even if the borrower can qualify for a private consolidation loan without a cosigner, adding a cosigner may yield a lower interest rate.

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