A "loan" is a form of financial aid. It is money that you borrow, which must be repaid often with interest. The most common kinds of loans are:

  • Federal Direct Direct Loan Program
  • Graduate Plus Loan
  • Alternative Loans

Federal Direct Loan Program

The Budget Control Act of 2011 has eliminated Subsidized Student Loans for graduate students. Eligible graduate students can qualify for an annual maximum of $20,500 in unsubsidized loans.


The Direct Loan Program allows students to borrow money directly from the federal government to help students meet the cost of a graduate education. Students who are matriculated in degree-granting programs and are registered for at least 6 graduate credits per semester are eligible. Students may begin repayment while still attending school by paying the interest, with repayment of the principal deferred until after graduation or termination of attendance. Or, interest may be added to the principal, with repayment of the principal and interest deferred until after graduation or termination of attendance. The aggregate total that may be borrowed from this program is $138,500 including undergraduate loans.

Maximum Annual Limits for Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

For Dependent and Independent Students

Loans for Independent Students (Federal Direct Loans)
The Amount You Are Eligible To Borrow Each Academic Year Additional Unsubsidized Loan Total Loan
Graduate and Professional Students N/A $20,500
Maximum Lifetime Loan Amounts (Federal Direct Loans)
Student Level & Dependency Status Maximum Unsubsidized
Graduate/Professional $138,500

Repayment Calculator

How to Apply

Please read these instructions carefully. Any failure to follow these instructions may cause delays in the processing of your loan request. You must be registered for 6 graduate credits per term in order to be eligible for a Direct Loan.

In order to secure a Direct Loan, there are three steps. You must complete or have completed all of these steps in order for a loan to be processed successfully.

The first step is only necessary for a first time borrower of a Direct Loan. The student should complete an electronic master promissory note (eMPN). This can be done by going online to the Federal Student Aid website. The student, when asked, should use Brooklyn or Baruch College as the home school and not the Graduate Center as their procedure is slightly different from ours.

Next, you need to complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling which demonstrates in a tutorial the rights and responsibilities of a student loan borrower. This can be done online by going to the Federal Student Aid website. The tutorial is followed by a short quiz. Please note that for the entrance counseling you should use the Graduate Center as your school. You should save the results of the quiz since it will need to be forwarded to the school.

You must submit the results of the entrance counseling along with the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Application

There is an origination fee of the loan principal that will be deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.

Graduate Plus Loan

The Grad PLUS Loan, a low interest, federally backed student loan, guaranteed by the U.S. Government, like its undergraduate counterpart, can be used to pay for the total cost of education less any aid a student has already been awarded. Also like the undergraduate version, eligibility for the Graduate PLUS Loan is largely dependent on the borrower's credit rating and history, as opposed to the purely financial need-based Graduate Direct Loan. An origination fee is deducted from the loan amount.

Alternative Loans

These are private lender loans for students who may not be eligible for Federal Direct Student Loans or for students who are eligible and need additional funds to help meet additional educational expenses including tuition and housing. The amount that a student may borrow is limited to the cost of attendance as determined by federal approved standard budgets. Students who are non-matriculated or who are registered for less than 6 credits may also apply. All applicants are subject to credit review or may require a co-signer. Students who do not have eligible citizenship status for federal financial aid may borrow an Alternative Loan if they have a co-signer with eligible citizenship status.

Once you have applied and been preapproved by a lender, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (646) 664-8720 for further instructions.

The choice of a lender is ultimately your decision. Here are some things to consider as you seek possible lenders for alternative loans:

  • Interest rate of the loan
  • Repayment schedule and monthly amounts
  • Length of repayment period
  • Total amount you will repay over the life of the loan
  • Penalties for missing monthly payments
  • Options for loan consolidation