Congratulations on investing in your graduate education at Western Connecticut State University.
Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your first step in financing your education. When filing the FAFSA, you are considered a graduate or professional student if you’re enrolled in any post-secondary schooling beyond a bachelor’s degree.
As an independent student, you are not required to have your parents provide financial information on the FAFSA. Instead, you will provide only your own and your spouse’s information, if you’re married.
Types of Aid
There are two types of federal loans offered to graduate students which are not based on financial need.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students are limited to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year, assuming full-time status. They carry a fixed interest rate, which is updated each year in July, and there is an origination fee upon disbursement of the loan.
- Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is an additional financing option for graduate students. Graduate students can borrow up to their cost of attendance, minus any other aid they may have received. These loans carry a fixed interest rate and there is an origination fee upon disbursement of the loan.
Private Educational Loans are also available to graduate students; options can be reviewed at www.elmselect.com. The Office of Financial Aid & Student Employment recommends students borrow through the federal loan programs first, before considering a private educational loan.
Application & Eligibility
The FAFSA and Graduate PLUS Loan application can be found at www.studentaid.gov. You will need an FSA ID to complete the applications.
- You must be accepted to the university as graduate or professional student
- You must be matriculated in a degree-seeking program
- You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits)
- You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Students electing to initiate their graduate program during a summer term and would like to be considered for financial aid must do the following:
- Contact Dr. Christopher Shankle, Director of Graduate Studies, to request a summer entry term
- Complete a previous academic year FAFSA (e.g., Summer 2020 start, complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA)
- Complete subsequent academic year FAFSA (e.g., Summer 2020 start, also complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA)
- Complete summer financial aid application by June 1 (available after April 1 on the financial aid website)