Student Loans for Grad Students Tips

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Have you applied for the Grad PLUS Loan?

Grad PLUS Loan

The Grad PLUS Loan provides all the same features that the Parent PLUS Loan provides for undergraduate students. This loan can be used to finance the entire cost of attendance minus any other financial aid awarded.

Just like its counterpart for undergraduates, the federal PLUS Loan for graduates offers affordable fixed rate higher education funding. The loan is funded by private lenders and is guaranteed by the Federal Government. It is administered by the academic institution and is one of the most common graduate student loans today.

This is a credit-based loan so you do not have to worry about meeting financial need criteria. The same basic criteria for most student loans based on credit will apply here. You will also need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You have the option of applying for this graduate school loan over the phone if you do not wish to do so by mail or online. A loan counselor can answer questions you may have about the lender while on the phone, making this a helpful way of applying for the right loan.

Are you keeping track of your undergrad loans while preparing for grad school?

Don't Let Undergraduate Loans Get On Top Of The Graduate

Stay on top of your undergraduate student loans. This cannot be stressed enough. If you plan on attending graduate school using student loans, the ones you have already taken out must be in order.

Make sure you are aware of all the terms and conditions related to your current school loans. If you have not been making payments to cover the interest accrued while in classes, now would be a good time to start.

Attending graduate school will extend the length of your loans, allowing more time for interest to build up, rates to change, and incentives to be added. Keep yourself informed about all these developments so that when it comes time to consolidate your loans you are in the best possible position to save money.

The last thing you want to do is assume that you do not have to think about managing your loans for a few more years because you will still be in school. Throughout your education career you should know all the pertinent details about your loans and the state of financial aid in the United States.

There are many services that will send you updates free of charge in the form of e-mail or text messages, letting you in on all the latest information you should know. Your undergraduate time is supposed to prepare you for life as a graduate student, including loan management.

Did you factor health insurance into your school loans?

Grad School Budget Headaches

Most students, whether they are undergraduates or graduates, rely on the school health coverage plan. Some schools will automatically charge this plan to your bill along with tuition unless you provide proof of another form of insurance.

This is one of those expenses most people forget about, and many don't find out they have been charged until after the fact. So when you are applying for financial aid make sure to include the cost of the health insurance plan, if you wish to enroll in it, in your cost of attendance estimate. Now you can apply for the right amount in undergraduate or graduate student loans and won't get surprised by any last minute charges.

Few things are worse than running into unexpected expenses during your higher education. They always seem to pop up and give you headaches. But by factoring in those insurance payments, you'll have access to right health to treat that headache—and avoid it in the first place.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.
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