Graduate Student Loans
Get a quick primer on paying for graduate school
Graduate school can be an expensive proposition, and yet it's often one of the best long-term investments one can make in their future earning potential. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Americans with graduate degrees earn about 15% more, on average, than their counterparts with bachelor's degrees. Those earning professional degrees, such as those in law or medicine, have an even greater differential.
For most graduate students, securing student loans is the best, and in some cases the only, way to close the gap between current resources and that future earning power. Here's a quick rundown on the types of student loans that are available to those pursuing their master's degree or other graduate or professional degree.
Paying for graduate school with a Federal Direct PLUS Loan
This is the major federal program for graduate student loans. While Direct PLUS Loans were originally only intended for parents of undergraduate students, in 2005 Congress expanded the program to graduate students. Students seeking graduate and professional degrees are eligible to borrow under the Direct PLUS Loan program up to their cost of attendance, less other financial assistance. Applicants must first exhaust their loan options under the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional Direct PLUS Loan. You initiate that process, as is the case with all other federal student aid, by filing the FAFSA form.
Unlike PLUS Loans, these student loans are awarded based on financial need. They come with attractive terms, including a low interest rate and generous grace periods for repayment. You apply for this type of loan through filing the FAFSA.
Federal Direct Stafford Loans
This graduate and master's degree student loan program is designed for both those with financial need (in which case the government pays the interest) and those without need, who must pay their own interest. It provides up to $20,500 a year toward graduate/professional education, including up to a ceiling of $8,500 in subsidized loans (where the government pays the interest.).
Private student loans
After grants, scholarships and federal aid have been maximized, a private student loan for graduate school is a good option. Our TruFit Student Loan® is available to graduate students attending an eligible institution at least half-time and enrolled in a degree granting program.
Learn more about affordable Citizens Bank graduate student loans
You can find helpful information about our graduate student financing options, including our TruFit Student Loan®. If you still have questions, call a student loan specialist at 1-800-708-6684, and we'll help walk you through your options.