Are you interested in an online master’s degree, but unsure if you can still qualify for financial aid as a graduate student? Here is some reassuring information: you may still qualify for federal financial aid.
The first thing you should do is fill out a current FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify for Federal Aid during the academic year. The FAFSA will determine your eligibility for Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans and Federal Work-Study.
For the graduate student seeking a master’s degree, the Federal Stafford loan allots a maximum of $8,500 of subsidized loans and $10,000 of unsubsidized loans for a maximum total of $18,500 per year. This amount can be split between the two types of Stafford loans for those that are eligible.
Subsidized or Unsubsidized Student Loans?
Subsidized loans have interest that will not start accruing while you’re enrolled in school with at least half-time status. The amount you receive from a subsidized loan depends on your financial need; however, even if you don’t qualify for a subsidized loan, you may qualify to receive an unsubsidized loan of up to $18,500 under the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program.
To be eligible for an Unsubsidized Stafford loan, you have to be accepted into an accredited degree program, enroll in courses and have at least half-time status. If you receive this loan, interest will start accruing immediately once your loan is disbursed. The interest rates on this loan are variable but will not exceed 8.25%.
The loan repayment period
There are various repayment packages you may research when it comes time to pay your loan back. There are flexible and reasonable repayment plans to choose from. You can find the best one to fit your financial situation.
What’s the payback?
Are you pondering what the return on receiving a master’s degree will be? Along with weighing the obvious questions concerning how to finance a master’s degree, it may be even more relevant to weigh the payback getting a master’s would entail. Employees all across the board would agree that receiving this advanced degree puts you in the running for greater professional mobility, higher salary, and better visibility.
The U.S. Censor Bureau has shown that individuals with a master’s degree earned about $240,000 more in their lifetime compared to those with only a bachelor’s, translating to about 3.3 million dollars in a lifetime of earnings.
Getting a master’s is often now more a requirement than a plus as the market changes to a faster and more competitive world. The demand for more experienced and educated professionals is on the rise. Do not let the fear of financing your master’s degree get in the way of you achieving long-term financial and personal enhancement. There are many financing options available to you, and remember to consider the lifelong returns on getting your master’s degree.
About the Author
By Lena Chou
A freelance writer, Lena Chou works as a counselor at a non-profit youth agency in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is now looking to enter Teacher’s College of Columbia University to receive her M.A. in Social Studies Education in the Fall of 2004.