Loans for Graduate Students

Federal Aid Eligibility

In order to be considered for financial assistance at the University of Connecticut, students must meet certain eligibility requirements. Please see the full list of eligibility requirements and Terms and Conditions navigate to the Eligibility page.

Federal Direct Graduate Student Loans

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Direct Loan Program offers loans that need to be repaid, with interest, after a student graduates or leaves college. Students are considered for Federal Direct Loans upon completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

These loans are not a need-based program. They are:

  • Available to all eligible students regardless of how much financial information is reported on the FAFSA.Students are responsible for the interest on a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan as soon as UConn disburses the funds.
  • Students can choose to pay the interest while they are still in school or defer interest payments until they drop below half-time status.
  • If a student chooses the second option, the interest that accrues while they are in school will capitalize (e.g. added to the principle balance) upon entering repayment.

More information about Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans is available at the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid site.

Helpful tools to understanding your responsibilities as a Federal Direct Loan borrower, your current loan debt, and future eligibility amounts can be accessed via

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
Graduate or Professional Students Annual Loan Limit Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent) $20,500 (unsubsidized only)
Graduate or Professional Students Enrolled in Certain Health Profession Programs May be eligible to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan amounts each academic year based upon program eligibility. $224,000

Aggregate Loan Limit is a limit on the total amount of FFEL or Direct Subsidized Loans and/or Unsubsidized Loans that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study. If the total amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you will not be eligible to receive additional loans. However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit. To review the aggregate loan limits applicable to you, please go to:

Federal Direct (Graduate) PLUS Loans

The US. Department of Education’s Federal Direct Loan Program offers loans that need to be repaid with interest. Unlike most other federal programs, Federal Direct (Graduate) PLUS Loans are not offered when a student applies for aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interested students may apply separately for the loan.

Students have the option of beginning repayment on a Federal Direct (Graduate) PLUS Loan at any time after disbursement. Students may postpone interest and principal payments until six (6) months after they cease to be enrolled at least half-time. In most cases, Graduate PLUS Loans will be automatically deferred while students are in school.

Applying for Federal Direct (Graduate) PLUS Loans

Graduate students must submit a (Graduate) Federal Direct PLUS Loan application by logging into the Federal Student Aid – website using their FSA ID.

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan application is available April 1 of each year.

The U.S. Department of Education completes a credit check upon submission of the Graduate PLUS Loan application.

Determining How Much to Borrow

Complete the Financial Aid Worksheet to help anticipate financial needs. Students are encouraged to borrow the minimum amount needed, and should apply for enough up front to cover both fall and spring costs.


  • Required loan fees are deducted from the loan by the U.S. Department of Education before the proceeds are credited to the student’s account. For more information about interest rates and fees, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Federal Direct (Graduate) PLUS Loan applications submitted without an amount specified cannot be processed until the borrower provides the Office of Student Financial Aid Services with written/email authorization to process the loan for the desired amount.

Denied Credit Check Options

If credit is denied, graduate students will be presented with four options at the end of the application process:

  • I do not want to pursue a Direct PLUS Loan at this time.
    • No further action is required.
  • Undecided.
    • No further action is required.

For more information about adverse credit options, please read the Direct PLUS Loans and Adverse Credit document on the Federal Student Aid website.

Completing Loan Requirements

All borrowers are required to complete documents with the U.S. Department of Education before funds can be released to pay the fee bill:

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Entrance Counseling required for first-time loan borrowers. It will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans.

Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) (upon credit approval)

Loan Debt & Repayment

Loan Debt

The U.S. Department of Education’s site is a tool students can use to track their federal student loan debt (not including any Private Education Loans they may have borrowed). On this site, students can conduct a Financial Aid Review, view their lender information, and determine who currently services each of their federal student loans.

It is important students pay close attention to their award notices and disclosure statements from their Direct Loan Servicer(s) to best keep track of their federal loan debt.

Repayment of Loans

Students can select from available payment plan options for Federal Direct Loans. Keep in mind that student loans do not have a prepayment penalty, so no matter which plan a student chooses, they always have the right to pay extra! More information on each of repayment plans is available on the Federal Student Aid website.

If an individual’s federal student loan debt is high relative to their income and family size, they may be eligible for an income-driven repayment plan. These plans are designed to make student loan debt more manageable by reducing the monthly payment amount. Additional information available on the Federal Student Aid website.

More information on managing student loan payments, including what to do if an individual is having trouble making payments, can be found in our U.S. Department of Education's Student Financial Aid site.

To learn more about understanding the options and responsibilities for repayment of loans, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

For an estimate of monthly payments, please visit the Loan Repayment Simulator.

Private Education Loans

Private Education Loans are non-federal loans made by private lenders. More information about these loans is available Private Educational Loans page.

Aggregate Loan Limit for Graduate or PhD Students

Students may borrow Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans up to the Aggregate Loan Limit during a graduate/PhD program. Information about the maximum amount students can borrow can be found at the following website:

Review the Financing Options for Educational Expenses page for additional assistance.