Background Image

Grad Student Financial Aid FAQs

In this Section

Can International students get student loans?
Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal student loans.  It is possible that private companies may offer alternative student loans to international students, but in most cases, a credit worthy US co-signer is required.  Clarkson does not recommend specific alternative lenders.

How much can I borrow in Federal loans as a graduate student?
Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans per aid year. 

If the student still has unmet need, they can apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan. This loan is not subject to an annual federal limit. The loan is subject to a soft credit check, which means they will not be approved if the student is past due on other debt. They have the option to request $Max, or a specific amount. The school will calculate the Cost of Attendance (which includes direct costs and indirect costs such as estimates for rent and food, books, and travel). The Graduate PLUS loan can be offered for the difference between the Cost of Attendance less other aid. Students will have an opportunity to reduce the amount offered when they accept the loan via PeopleSoft self-service.

Can federal loans be used to cover living expenses?
Cost of attendance includes non-direct costs such as living expenses.  The amount if based on averages.  Living expenses for students enrolled for less than full-time status will be prorated.

How do I apply?
Students apply for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan by using the “Graduate Federal Loan Application” for the correct aid year found at: under “Financial Aid Forms”. Next to that form, students will find “Graduate Federal Loan Steps” which explain all the required steps.

When should I start the process for federal loans?
Students should file their FAFSA after October 1 each year, using the prior year's income tax return.  Loan applications can be submitted in June or July, but no later than 10 days before the tuition due date, which is typically the first Friday in August.  Students who will start with summer courses will want to submit their loan application as least a week prior to that tuition billing due date.

Do I need parent information when I file the FAFSA?
No, graduate students are independent and do not include parent information.

Do I need to come to campus and meet with a financial aid staff member?
Although many student come to SAS to discuss their financial aid at some point, much of the discussion can take place via email or phone before the student is on campus.

Are graduate student eligible for NYS TAP or the federal Pell grant?
No, graduate student are not eligible for either.

Are graduate student eligible for federal work study?
Graduate students may be eligible for federal work study.  Contact Peggy Jarvis in Financial Aid to determine your federal eligibility.  When federal work study is included in your cost of attendance formula, it may reduce your loan eligibility.

Can I defer my undergraduate student loans?
Yes, if you are attending at least half-time.  Clarkson’s Registrar’s Office submits a file of registered students approximately the third week of each term to the Student Loan Clearinghouse.  Most, but not all, loan servicers will obtain enrollment data and automatically process an in-school deferment.  Student borrowers should check the status of their  existing student loans for deferment eligibility and processing.

Main Entrance