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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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How do I find a creditworthy cosigner for my private student loan?
Most private student loans require a creditworthy cosigner. Borrowers may need a cosigner if they have bad credit or if they have a thin or non-existent credit history. Even when the borrower has very good credit, adding a cosigner can lead to a lower interest rate and higher loan limits. More than 90% of private student loans for undergraduate students and more than 75% of private student loans for graduate and professional school students are made with creditworthy cosigners.

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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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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 long does it take to repay a student loan?
The standard repayment term on a federal student loan is 10 years. The repayment term on private student loans vary from 5 years to 15 years.

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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 should I do if my parents refuse to file the FAFSA?
Parents are sometimes unwilling to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or other financial aid forms. But, parental information is required on the FAFSA of a dependent student, so a dependent student will not be able to qualify for need-based federal student aid without his or her parent’s help. There are many reasons why a parent may be unwilling to complete the FAFSA.

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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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How can I lower my student loan payments?
Student loan payments can be a source of financial stress for many borrowers who are struggling to repay their loans. Every dollar of loan payments is a dollar less that is available for other priorities. So, borrowers sometimes seek to lower their monthly student loan payments.

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