So you’ve been working for a few years and are thinking about going to back to school to get a graduate degree. Only one problem…you haven’t saved up enough money to pay for it in full. Unless your employer is going to cover the costs, you’ll most likely have to look into the financial aid options available to graduate students.
The best thing about applying for financial aid as a graduate student is that you can claim yourself as an independent on financial aid applications. This is extremely important, as you do not have to include your parent’s financial information. In most cases, the income that you are earning as a young professional will qualify you for some form of financial aid. Loans are most common, but grants and scholarships may be an option as well.
How To Apply:
- Step 1: FAFSA Submission – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed to be eligible for all forms of federal financial aid.
- Step 2: Non-federal Applications Submission – You often must submit a Financial Aid Supplement or other application to be eligible for non-federal financial aid. Private schools and many of the nation’s most competitive schools will require students to submit a CSS Profile.
- Step 3: Apply For Additional Aid – When the federal, state, and institutional financial aid is not enough to cover the total cost of attending college, you will need to apply for Alternative Student Loans.
- Step 4: Verify Financial Information – If you are selected to submit your financial information for verication, you must fax or mail these to your schools of interest.
- Step 5: Sign Master Promissory Notes (MPN) – Lastly, swear to your lenders that you will pay them back.
And there you have it…a rough overview of the process for getting financial aid for graduate school. If you need any help with the process, you may want to consider hiring a Financial Aid Consultant.