Normally, graduate students pay for tuition fee more than undergraduate. Therefore, the main purpose of graduate loans is to help fund their education. There are two venues in which graduate students can obtain graduate loans: the government and private entities, (who provide alternative graduate loans). Each of these is discussed in more detail below.
1. Government Graduate Loans
This type of loan is the same as undergraduate loan. The only difference is name. Like undergraduates, graduates have the opportunity to get a Stafford or Perkins loan from the government.
Stafford graduate loans are available to any graduate student regardless of their financial situation. Two types of Stafford graduate loans exist: subsidized and unsubsidized. The difference in the two lies in who pays the interest. For subsidized Stafford graduate loans, the government pays the interest. Students pay for the interest in unsubsidized Stafford graduate loans, though there is the option of not having to make payments until after graduation.
A Perkins graduate loan is available to students who demonstrate financial hardship. It has an interest rate of only 5 percent and can finance up to $4,000 of the graduate student’s education. For graduate students who are adversely limited economically, the Perkins loan is not a bad option. However, one must keep in mind that payments are still expected to be received promptly and perpetually. In extreme circumstances it is possible to request a deferment on loan payments until one is able to pay normally.
To apply for either the Perkins or Stafford graduate loans, one must submit a FAFSA form to the government. When the form has been processed the government will send a SAR (Student Aide Report) which will give further instructions on how to apply for these loans.
2. Alternate Graduate Loans
This loan has also been known as private graduate loans, are loans funded by non-governmental entities. Companies offering these loans could be banks, credit card agencies or any other enterprise interested in helping graduate students secure student loans. The Education Resources Institute (TERI) is an example of a company offering this type of loan. It is called the Act Graduate Student loan program. The application can be filled out online at http://gradloans.com. Decisions are received in as little as 15 minutes.
You can first try to visit websites of all the major banks because many do offer student loans services. Or you can use a search engine by typing the name of banks you know. Some banks will even offer graduate loan comparison charts to help their customers see how their loans stack up against the competitors. These charts can serve as a further aide in researching graduate loans.