Frequently asked questions about financial aid for graduate studies

Questions about financial aid for graduate studies

Below are some frequently asked questions from graduate students. Visit our financial aid for graduate studies page for more information.

Q: Am I too old to receive aid?
A: No. Although there are some forms of federal and state gift assistance that are available only to undergraduate students, most forms of financial aid are awarded based on financial need or merit (not age).

Q: I wasn't eligible for aid as an undergraduate student. Should I still apply for aid for graduate studies?
A: Undergraduate financial aid is typically based on the family's (including parents) financial circumstances, while most graduate aid is based on the student (and spouse/family) only. You may be eligible for financial aid as a graduate student, even if you weren't as an undergrad.

Q: I was required to include my parent's tax information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when I filed as an undergraduate student. Do I still need to include that information when I file as a graduate/professional student?
A: No, you don't need to include your parent's tax information on the FAFSA when filing as a graduate/professional student. Answer "yes" to the FAFSA item that asks if you are pursuing a Master's or Doctorate degree.  By answering "yes," you indicate you are an independent student for financial aid eligibility purposes. Tax rules are different, and this independent status relates directly only to your financial aid. Note: If you are a health profession student, your school may require you to provide your parent’s information even if you are a graduate student. Contact your school for specific information.

Q: What kind of financial aid is available for graduate students?
A: Financial aid for graduate and professional students may consist of a number of different options, including gift aid (in the form of scholarships and grants, fellowships, assistantships, and work-study) and student loans. Visit our financial aid for graduate studies page for more information.

Q: How many hours do I have to take to be considered a full-time student?
A: The number of hours considered for half- and full-time status varies depending on your program of study and/or school. Please speak with a financial aid representative at your school. 

Q: Do I need to continue paying student loans I borrowed in the past if I'm a graduate student?
A: If you have outstanding loans from your previous education, review the options available to you while pursuing a graduate degree. 

Q: Am I required to attend graduate school full time in order to be eligible for financial aid?
A: Many federal financial aid programs require full-time attendance; however, some only require half-time attendance.  Visit our financial aid for graduate studies page for more information, and talk to a financial aid professional at your school.