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Student Loans For Graduate Students

Lisa Said:

Are there any graduate students who live primarily off of student loans???

We Answered:

This actually does happen quite a bit and is common - depending on the major you are studying. I do not recommend it, but in some instances it may be necessary.

For instance, if you were a law student in your first year, the ABA discourages students from working in that first year. Unless you have saved a large sum of cash/savings for living expenses, or have family to help you subsidize living costs you will end up using a lot of loan money to get by.

The more you borrow though, the more you are going to repay when you complete school. Try and only borrow what you absolutely need and do not live beyond your means. Make sacrifices to have only those things necessary to get by with and lessen your overall debt burden.

Antonio Said:

Student loans and graduate school?

We Answered:

Are you taking out the maximum in gradPLUS student loans? The only other financial help states generally offer are cash assistance (extremely low amounts - in my state if you have no income, you can receive $200 for a family of 2 each month), state health insurance, and government housing/Section-8 (which can have a waiting list of 7+ years).

My only suggestions for help would be to work, if you're not currently working - but I'm not sure what time you would have available with medical school. Perhaps babysitting on free nights weekends to bring in extra money (if you don't have availability for a typical job). Or, to take out more student loans (if this is an option). Make sure that you are harassing the courts regarding child support. It's your job to fight for this for your child - annoy the hell out of them. I know they're busy, but you'll slip through the cracks otherwise. If you can work at all during the year it will really benefit you at tax time -- earned income credit, additional child tax credit, head of household, etc. Do you have family nearby that you can move back in with to help with expenses? Have you cut out everything that is not absolutely necessary to survive? Good luck to you!

Terry Said:

Are there any student loans for graduate students who are enrolled for less than 6 units?

We Answered:

If you are talking about federal loans, then probably not. Generally 6 hours is considered half time and eligible for full federal financial aid. However, it wouldn't hurt to fill out the FAFSA online and submit it to your school. That way, you could see what they say. You could also just call the school's financial aid office to check. Bottom line: it doesn't hurt/cost anything to fill out the FAFSA. So, go and do that and then contact your financial aid office.

Hope this helps.

Karl Said:

If I have a car payment, will my student loans pay for it while in graduate school?

We Answered:


I hate to disagree with another respondent, but the reality is that it makes absolutely NO sense to use a student loan to make the monthly payments on a car loan.

The maximum you can borrow from the Stafford program in a single year is $21,500. I'm guessing that you're going to need a good part of that for your tuition, your supplies, your text books and your room and board. That won't leave much for your car payments.

However, you're not talking about taking out a big chunk of cash and buying a car, like most people who ask this question - you just want to pay your monthly payment.

(Keep in mind, though, that this is not the assumption that one of the other respondents made - she answered from the perspective that you'd SAVE money by using your student loan to PAY OFF your car loan. You're not planning to do that, so you'll be adding this new loan on top of your existing loan).

Here's where your idea goes totally off the rails.

You're already paying interest on your car loan - now you're going take out a loan to pay your car loan, so you'll pay interest on the loan that you're using to pay interest on the first loan.

Not only will you be paying far too much for your car (a lot more than it's worth) - go back and look at those numbers again - you'll be paying off your student loan 10 1/2 years after you finish grad school - in other words - about 2023?

Where's your car going to be in 2023? Parked in your driveway, or rusting in a junkyard?

Do you really want to be making "car payments" (even if they're disguised as student loan payments) for a car that you haven't owned in years?

It's a bad financial choice to use a loan to make the payments on another loan. It only makes sense to substitute one loan for a cheaper one, not to pile loans on top of each other. If you won't be able to afford your car payments while you're in college - get a part time job. Don't use a loan to make the monthly payments on a second loan.

Good luck.

Alan Said:

Student Loans for U.S. Grad Students, are they TOUGH to get right now?

We Answered:


If you qualify for aid from the Federal Student Aid program, you will not have any difficulty finding access to loan funds for graduate school.

The US Department of Education offers the same Stafford loan, that you may already be familiar with, and they offer the Graduate PLUS loan post-bachelor's students as well.

The maximum borrowing limit for the Stafford is $20,500 a year, and as always with the Stafford program, an applicant does not need to answer any questions about income, debts, or assets on the Stafford application. The lender will not require a credit check, or a cosigner.

If you need more than $20,500, you can supplement your Stafford borrowing with the Graduate PLUS program, which will lend you up to the amount of your remaining need. However, unlike the Stafford, there IS a credit check involved in the PLUS application process. Don't let that put you off, because the acceptable standard for PLUS approval is "no adverse history", which means that you're not in BIG trouble with your past creditors.

If you have bankruptcies or foreclosures, you probably won't be approved for a PLUS, but the standards are a lot more relaxed than they are for a typical loan of that amount.

Being able to borrow for graduate school is not really the problem - loan money is far more available, and with fewer limits than it is for undergrads.

In fact, the problem isn't getting the money, at all - the problem is borrowing conservatively enough that you will be able to manage the repayments. While some graduate degrees will reliably insure lots of job opportunities and significant income, other programs will only prepare you for a $38,000 position that won't comfortably cover your loan costs.

Your first homework assignment for graduate school is to determine how much you can reasonably afford to borrow, given the likely jobs that will await you when you complete your program.

Good luck to you - I hope this information helped.

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