Graduate Students

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All graduate students seeking financial assistance for the 2015-2016 academic year must file the 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), School Code: 003388, as well as the 2015-2016 Villanova University Graduate Student Supplemental Application for Loan Assistance.

If you are interested in accepting the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you are required to complete the following steps:

  • Entrance Counseling at
  • Sign the Master Promissory Note at
*Please Note: If you have previously accepted a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan at Villanova University, as a graduate student, you do NOT need to complete this process again.  You are only required to complete this process as a 1st time borrower.


Financial Aid Requirements

We recommend that graduate students applying for federal financial assistance submit their FAFSA and Villanova University Graduate Student Supplemental Application for Loan Assistance at least two months prior to the first day of classes to ensure the timely disbursement of Federal Direct Loans towards the payment of tuition and fee charges.  Financial Assistance for Graduate Students is reviewed and awarded throughout the academic year.

The Office of Financial Assistance reviews requests for financial assistance once a student is registered and all items have been received.

To receive financial aid, graduate students are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be matriculated/degree-seeking in a graduate-level program.  Non-matriculated students and certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial assistance.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate program, which is 3 credits a semester including summer.
  • Must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is defined as maintaining a 3.0 cumulative GPA and completing the total number of credit hours attempted in an academic year. SAP is reviewed at the end of each spring semester.

Financing Options

The Graduate Student Financing Guide explains in-depth the financing options available for our graduate students.

William D. Ford Direct Student Loan Program

Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, graduate students will no longer be eligible to borrow the Direct Subsidized Loan.  The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan for graduate students was eliminated in the new Budget Control Act signed on August 2, 2011. The annual limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $20,500 and the total lifetime aggregate limit also remains unchanged at $138,500.  Maximum Direct Loan eligibility for a matriculated graduate student is now a $20,500 Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  The amount of the loan is awarded to you based on a number of factors such as enrollment status, other financial assistance (i.e. employer reimbursement) and cost of attendance.  Please note that the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan will disburse evenly between the semesters you are enrolled.

Academic Year Maximum
Fall 2015 $10,250 
Spring 2016 $10,250 

*Graduate Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: All loans disbursed between 7/1/15 through 6/30/16 are subject to a 5.84% interest rate 

If you choose to take courses during the summer session and enroll in at least a half-time status, you may be eligible to borrow the Direct Unsubsidized Loan during the summer, which is referred to as a Borrower Based Direct Loan.  The benefit of a Borrower Based Direct Unsubsidized Loan is that it allows graduate students to avoid borrowing a higher interest private loan or Direct Graduate PLUS loan.  You need to indicate on the Villanova University Graduate Institutional Financial Aid Application the amount you wish to borrow for each semester; however, please note that Federal Direct Loans are required to be certified with equal disbursements each semester.

Borrower Based Loan Maximum
Summer 2015/Fall 2015
(2015-2016 Academic Year)
Spring 2016
(2016-2017 Academic Year)


*if the full amount fits within your cost of attendance

**Please note that if the full Borrower Based Direct Unsubsidized Loan is borrowed in the Spring semester, eligibility for the Summer semester would be exhausted.  Students receive an e-mail from the Office of Financial Assistance's Loan Department to confirm their Spring request.

While the maximum amount you can borrow is $20,500, we encourage you to borrow only the amount that you will need to finance your program. You will need to indicate the amount of Direct Unsubsidized Loan that you wish to borrow for each semester on the Villanova University Graduate Institutional Financial Aid Application, again noting that the Direct Loan must be certified in equal amounts for each semester.  

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Direct Graduate PLUS Loans give a graduate student a viable alternative to private loans in situations where a student's Direct Unsubsidized Loan has not covered all costs. Some basic facts about the Graduate Direct PLUS Loan are:

  • Students can borrow up to "cost less aid"
  • Student is the borrower - no cosigner required
  • Unlimited in-school deferment
  • Fixed-interest rate, currently at 6.84%, subject to change each year.
  • Deferred payment while enrolled in
  • No aggregate or annual loan limits
  • Based on simplified credit criteria regardless of income or employment status
  • Endorser option available
  • May reduce high-cost alternative borrowing
  • Able to consolidate through the Direct Consolidation Loan site.

To apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS loan, please follow these steps:

  1. Go to to complete the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan application.
  2. Complete the MPN at and sign the MPN. Upon approval of the Direct Graduate PLUS application and credit check, follow step 2.
  3. Complete the Villanova University Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Application (for graduate students) and return the completed form to Office of Financial Assistance.

*NOTE: Your loan is not complete and will not be certified by the Office of Financial Assistance until ALL three of the above steps have been completed.

Alternate Financing

Alternative Loans or Private Educational Loans are administered by private lenders. There are a variety of lending institutions that offer these loans. Typically one would first take advantage of the Direct Loan and then if additional funding is needed, apply for one of these loans. However, if a student is non-matriculated or in a certificate program, the private educational loans may provide a viable financing option. Applications for these loans are made directly through the lending institution. As part of this process the Villanova University Office of Financial Assistance needs to certify that you are a student and provide certain other information. Please view the Private Educational Loan Programs and visit our link to Elm Select to compare private loan options.

For further questions about the status of your applications, go to the MyNova site where you can access your financial assistance records online.

graduate financing