Choose the right graduate student loan
If you're considering a graduate student loan to help cover the cost of your next degree, it's important to understand what types of loans to consider, how to apply, and how much aid you can qualify for.
Which student loans are available for graduate students
There are two types of graduate student loans: federal and private. Federal loans are funded by the federal government, and you apply for Federal Direct Loans and Direct Graduate PLUS Loans by filling out a FAFSA. Private student loans are offered by banks and credit unions, and you apply directly from the lender. We offer private student loans.
Depending on the professional field that you're planning to enter, you may have different needs from a graduate student loan. For instance, medical and dental degrees often require residencies, so it can be helpful to have a deferment period. That is why we offer graduate student loans designed with features for specific degree types: medical school, dental school, MBA, and health professions graduate school. We also have a Smart Option Student Loan for Graduate Students, which is designed for humanities, sciences, and other degrees.
Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans for graduate students.
How to apply for a private graduate student loan
It's easy to apply for a graduate student loan. Use the “Apply for a loan” button on this page, and you'll be asked a few questions to determine which loan is appropriate for you. Then, you'll fill out some basic information. It only takes about 15 minutes to apply for your graduate student loan and get a credit result.
How much can you borrow as a graduate student
The amount that you can borrow for graduate school generally depends on the loan; most of our graduate student loans let you borrow from $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified Cost of Attendance (COA).
The COA, generally listed in your financial aid award letter, is an estimate of what you'll pay for the following costs: tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses.
Graduate student loan credit information
Private graduate student loans are credit-based. The lender wants to know how creditworthy, or how responsible you are with credit, before approving your student loan application. That means they'll view your history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. If you believe your credit history isn't strong, consider adding a cosigner. Their good credit may help you get approved for your loan.
Benefits and rewards of applying for a graduate student loan
The greatest benefit to taking out a graduate student loan is the ability to pay for the graduate education that's important to you. Most grad students see the expense of getting a degree as an investment in their future. Many believe that it can help them enter or advance in their chosen career field, and potentially reward them with higher earnings.
77% of graduate students borrow federal and/or private loans to help pay for school expenses
See How America Pays for Graduate School