Student Loans for Graduate Students

For graduate students, student loans are the most common form of financial aid and are a great resource to help finance your graduate education. Federal Student loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education to students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When completing a FAFSA, students must include Regis University on their FAFSA using school code: 001363. Additionally, students may seek out educational loans through private lenders.

It is important that you borrow responsibly. Consider your expenses, your budget and only borrow what you need. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides tools to help students make good decisions about student loans and to investigate any issues encountered with borrowing private and federal student loans. An online tool, the Student Debt Repayment Assistant, helps navigate student loan repayment options. Loan information is also available at CFPB staff can be contacted at 855.411.2372 or through the Consumer Finance website.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

What is a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan?

Graduate students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may qualify for an unsubsidized loan. Unsubsidized means that interest is accruing on the borrowed loan while you are in school. Therefore, you are responsible for repaying the interest accrued from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

The Federal Government limits graduate students to borrowing $20,500 annually (summer, fall and spring semester) with a lifetime limit of $138,500. The $138,500 limit includes any federal direct loans a graduate student may have borrowed while completing their undergraduate degree.

Doctor of Pharmacy students are eligible to borrow $33,000 annually (summer, fall, and spring semesters). During the final year of their program, the annual loan limit increases to $37,167. The lifetime limit is $224,000.

How do I Apply for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

Complete the following steps to apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan. Once these steps are complete, review Regis' aid disbursement process and schedule.

  1. Complete a FAFSA and include Regis University’s School Code (001363).
  2. After completing your FAFSA, you will be notified via email when your financial aid offer is available on the Ranger Portal. Under My Awards, you can accept in full, reduce or decline your student loan.
  3. All new loan borrowers at Regis University are required to complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note.

How do I repay the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

You are not required to begin repaying the loan while you are enrolled at least half-time in your graduate degree program. Once you are no longer enrolled at least half-time (non-enrolled or graduated from your program), you have a one-time 6 month grace period before repayment begins. You can access your full loan history, loan servicer(s) and view repayment options on the National Student Loan Database System.

There is no prepayment penalty, so you may choose to make payments on your loan while you are enrolled in school and you may choose to pay more than the required amount once your loan is in repayment.

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Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate students may be eligible to borrow a Graduate PLUS loan after completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). We encourage graduate students to explore their Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility first, as the Graduate PLUS loan requires a credit check and is at a higher interest rate. Adverse credit history may affect your ability to borrow.

Private Educational loans can provide funds to assist you in meeting the cost of your education when traditional financial aid and your own resources do not cover all educational expenses. These loans may be more expensive than federal student loans and we encourage you to consider these funds AFTER you have exhausted all financial aid and federal loan options.

You can visit Elm Select and Select Regis University to compare different private loan options.

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is a federally-funded program designed to increase the number of nursing students who pursue degrees as full-time faculty teaching in accredited schools of nursing. The funds can be used for tuition, books, fees and other reasonable educational expenses. After graduation, you are eligible for up to 85% loan forgiveness for up to a 4-year commitment for teaching full-time at an accredited school of nursing within 12 months of completion of your degree.

Students must be enrolled in the M.S. in Nursing: Leadership in Health Care program, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, intend to enroll in two consecutive semesters during each academic year, maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA, complete educational coursework specific to the nursing faculty role and commit to working full-time as a faculty member upon graduation.

Understanding your Financial Aid Offer

Frequently Asked Questions

To apply for most forms of financial aid, including federal loans, all students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must contact lenders directly to apply for private educational loans.

Before you take out a loan, it is important to understand that a loan is a legal obligation that you will be responsible for repaying with interest. You may not have to begin repaying your federal student loans right away, but you do not have to wait to understand your responsibilities as a borrower. Get the scoop: Watch this video about responsible borrowing or browse the tips below it. Be a responsible borrower.

  • Keep track of how much you are borrowing. Think about how the amount of your loans will affect your future finances and how much you can afford to repay. Your student loan payments should be only a small percentage of your salary after you graduate, so it is important not to borrow more than you need for your school-related expenses.
  • Research starting salaries in your field. Regis' Center for Career and Professional Development can help you find starting salaries of recent graduates in your field of study to get an idea of how much you are likely to earn after you graduate. You can use the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook to estimate salaries for different careers or research employment opportunities advertised in the area where you plan to live to get an idea of a local starting salary. You also can use the Department of Labor's career search tool to research careers and view the average annual salary for each career.
  • Understand the terms of your loan and keep copies of your loan documents. When you sign your promissory note, you are agreeing to repay the loan according to the terms of the note even if you do not complete your education, cannot get a job after you complete the program or if you did not like the education you received.
  • Make payments on time. You are required to make payments on time even if you do not receive a bill, repayment notice or a reminder. You must pay the full amount required by your repayment plan, as partial payments do not fulfill your obligation to repay your student loan on time.
  • Keep in touch with your loan servicer. Notify your loan servicer when you graduate; withdraw from school; drop below half-time status; transfer to another school; or change your name, address or Social Security number. You also should contact your servicer if you are having trouble making your scheduled loan payments. Your servicer has several options available to help you keep your loan in good standing.

Graduate students who complete a FAFSA may borrow up to $20,500 annually in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and within a lifetime $138,500 loan limit, without a credit check. Credit history and credit score may affect your ability to borrow either a Graduate PLUS loan or a private education loan or affect your interest rate/terms and conditions through a private lender.

Repayment terms may vary depending on the type of loan you borrow. You can visit Federal Student Aid to find more information about repayment plans.

Interest rates vary based on your type of loan. View the current federal student loan interest rates, or contact your lender directly for private loan interest rates.

Annual Limits
Dependent Freshman(0-29) $5,500 (maximum $3,500 in subsidized)
Dependent Sophomore (30-59 credits) $6,500 (maximum $4,500 in subsidized)
Dependent Junior (60-89 credits) $7,500 (maximum $5,500 in subsidized)
Dependent Senior (90+ credits) $7,500 (maximum $5,500 in subsidized)
Independent Freshman $9,500 (maximum $3,500 in subsidized)
Independent Sophomore $10,500 (maximum $4,500 in subsidized)
Independent Junior/Senior $12,500 (maximum $5,500 in subsidized)
Graduate Student $20,500 (unsubsidized)
Graduate Pharmacy $33,000 (unsubsidized)
Lifetime Limits
Dependent Undergraduate $31,000 (maximum $23,000 in subsidized)
Independent Undergraduate $57,500 (maximum $23,000 in subsidized)
Graduate Student $138,500 (maximum $65,500 in subsidized)
Graduate Pharmacy
$224,000 (maximum $65,500 in subsidized)

Yes – as a graduate student, you must enroll in 3 graduate level credits or 6 undegraduate level credits per semester to be eligible for financial aid. Graduate and undergraduate credits must apply towards your current graduate degree program.

The MPN is the Master Promissory Note that you sign to promise to repay the student loan funds to the lender. You may sign the MPN electronically by going to and creating an account. The MPN will cover all of the student loan disbursements for that lender for up to 10 years or until you request that your lender close it.

The Entrance Loan Counseling is required of each new borrower by federal regulations. The process includes a presentation detailing critical information about your loan and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. To complete this requirement, go to and sign in to take the entrance counseling. Please do not confuse Entrance Counseling with Financial Awareness Counseling. Entrance Counseling is required before you can receive your loan funds. Financial Awareness Counseling is a great tool for your personal use.

If you wish to reduce the loan amount you were offered, you can submit a request to reduce your loan through Ranger Portal. If you wish to increase the amount of loan you wish to borrow after only accepting a portion, please submit a Revision Form.