Student Loans - Graduate and Undergraduate Financial Aid

By William Blake

Whether you are in your first 4 years of college or are attending graduate school you are paying several times more for your college education than your parents and grandparents paid. This increase makes it difficult for students. But there are programs out there that give much needed assistance.

Undergraduates typically rely on a complex mix of scholarships, grants and loans. Those loans are sometimes taken out by undergraduates alone, others by their parents alone, sometimes a mixture of the two as when the parent becomes a co-borrower or co-signer.

The most common programs for students remain the unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford Loans. Subsidized loans are the most desirable, since the government pays the interest while the student is in school. But they are need-based. Unsubsidized loans are not need-based, making them available to a much wider group of students.

Here are some websites you can visit to see what you might qualify for: and

Graduate students have to work a bit harder for financial aid. Graduate school is more expensive and less scholarship opportunities are available. Typically a graduate student has to work as a research assistant or other employment related to their major to pay their tuition.

In recent times the PLUS loan program has been extended to graduate students. In the past this program was restricted to parents of undergraduate students. Now it has been expanded to include graduate students and rather than making the loan to parents the money is loaned directly to the student.

The Pluses of a PLUS loan

Graduate students have one advantage that many people do not have. Most of them have not yet had the opportunity to get into a lot of debt and have credit problems. Since PLUS loan approval is based on your credit scores many graduate students are able to qualify.

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