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Ask the Expert: How Can I Find Money to Pursue an Advanced Degree

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What paths can students looking to pursue an advanced degree explore to help find the funds they need to further their education? It’s a great question, one that came in via our "Ask the Financial Aid" Expert feature on Facebook from a community member named Robin.

Our expert, AIU Vice President of Financial Aid Phil Olson, shares this advice:

For those who qualify, there are a few options students may explore. Many graduate students fund their education by utilizing Federal Direct Stafford loans or Direct Graduate PLUS loans. The Direct Stafford loans are not credit based, but students must complete a FAFSA application and a Master Promissory Note.

As with any federal student aid, there is no guarantee that one will qualify, so the best thing to do is complete a FAFASA application and consult with the Financial Aid office about tuition charges and loan eligibility. If the Direct Stafford loans do not provide enough financial resources, then applying for a credit-based Direct Graduate PLUS loan is also an option. Again, the Direct Graduate PLUS loan is credit based, so eligibility is dependent upon approval.

If you are trying to avoid loans altogether, start researching and applying for as many scholarships and grants as possible, but know that it can take a long time to hear back. If you are going to apply for outside scholarships, the most important thing to do is apply early and for as many as you can.

There is a lot of competition for these funds, so applying for as many as possible is a good way to improve your chances of actually getting an award.

If you’ve got a question about financial aid and how to apply for it, submit it to "Ask the Financial Aid Expert" and RSVP today for our Aug. 21 webinar on "Debunking Financial Aid Myths."

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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