What is the Maximum Amount of Money FAFSA gives for Graduate Programs?

This blog was updated on 1 July 2023 to update the financial aid amount awarded by FAFSA for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education receives more than $120 billion in financial assistance. But in order to tap into the funds available, it is important that graduate learners be well-versed in the different forms of grants, loans, and work-study services by which this money is disbursed. 

Types of financial aid available to Master programs through FAFSA

Direct unsubsidized loans

Both undergraduate and graduate students have access to Direct Unsubsidized Loans, with no need to show financial need. Your school will dictate how much you are eligible to borrow on the basis of your attendance expenses and adjust for any other financial assistance you get. However, also during training, you are responsible for paying the interest on these loans. Your interest will accrue and be added to the principal balance of your loan if you opt not to pay interest as registered.

Federal Grad PLUS loans

Via colleges enrolled in the Direct Loan Scheme, the U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to qualifying college or technical students.

A Direct PLUS Loan, when rendered to a college or technical student, is generally referred to as a Grad PLUS loan.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The TEACH Grant Program offers students who are undertaking or preparing to complete the coursework necessary to begin a teaching career with grants of up to $4,000 a year. This policy is different from most federal student loans because it allows you to take some kinds of courses to receive a grant, and then do some sort of service to prevent the grant from being made into a loan. You should visit StudentAid.gov/teach to learn more about this service.

Institutional Aid

Your financial aid program may provide institutional aid along with federal aid, depending on your college. Institutional funding comes from the institution itself, and grants and scholarships are usually included. Notice that several colleges offer loans and work-study plans of their own as well.

These are the best kinds of financial assistance because you don’t try to repay loans or scholarships. The awards could come from the college itself, or they could come from an association or alumni giving new students scholarships.

While some of these grants may be need-based, others would be merit-based. For example, for good academic achievement or sports, students may get institutional scholarships.

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study offers financially required part-time positions for undergraduate and graduate students, helping them to raise cash to help pay for college expenses. The curriculum supports internships and works in community service related to the student’s field of study.

You are guaranteed to earn at least the federal minimum income, $7.25 an hour, for a work-study job. You’ll gain at least the state minimum wage if the state minimum wage is higher. According to the annual Sallie Mae survey, ‘How America Pays for College,’ the average work-study award for a student with a qualifying career earned $25,313 in 2022.

Federal Pell Grant

A Pell Grant would not have to be repaid, unlike a loan. You could be entitled to earn one if you are enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program. Amounts can change annually.

How much Financial aid do Students get for a Master’s Degree?

Loan Program How much can you borrow?
Direct Unsubsidized Loans$20,500 per year.
Direct PLUS LoansThe maximum PLUS loan amount you can receive is the cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) GrantFor any 2023-24 the adjusted maximum award amount is $3,772 
Federal Work-Study (FWS) ProgramFor a work-study job, you’re expected to earn at least a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. If the federal minimum wage is higher, you can receive at least the state minimum wage. The average work-study reward for qualifying students earned $25,313 in 2022 according to the annual Sallie Mae report “How America Pays for College.”
Federal Pell GrantThe maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,895 for the 2023–24 award year. (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024)
Note: Amounts can change yearly.

Steps to apply for FAFSA for Graduate Students?

  • Get a Federal Student Aid ID

Your first move is to get a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID if you don’t already have one to qualify for FAFSA as a graduate. On the Federal Student Assistance website, you will get an FSA ID. To apply for your FAFSA, an FSA ID is required, and it will serve as your digital signature. Your full name, social security number, and date of birth will need to be registered.

  • Gather the Documents You’ll Need

If you compile all the information you need early on, it is quicker and can help the process run smoother, because you have what you need before you start filling out the FAFSA forms.

You may need info from any or all of the following:

  • Your social security number
  • Your driver’s license or another form of ID
  • Your prior year’s tax returns
  • W-2 forms and other records of current-year income
  • Current bank statements
  • Records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts, etc.

Note, that you’re trying to register independently, not as a dependent of your parents, so you’re not going to need some of their financial records (although, again, consult with the school(s) you’re applying to because some need some parent details).

  • Select the Correct FAFSA Form

You can launch your application for the FAFSA now. Go to FAFSA.gov and pick the right form. The form you fill out will be dependent on where you decide to enter graduate school. For instance, if you intend to start grad school between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, you can complete the FAFSA form for 2022/2023.

  • Complete the FAFSA

You should finish your FAFSA for graduate school now. Usually, the form takes several hours to complete, and you may need to submit personal information, pick which colleges you apply for, and enter financial information, such as information about your tax returns, salary, and other properties.

  • Sign and Submit Your FAFSA

You will need to sign in with your FSA ID after you’ve done the FAFSA, and then you can apply it. Usually, FAFSA applications are handled within three to five days. You will submit a Student Assistance Report (SAR) that outlines the data you submitted into the FAFSA application after yours has been processed. The expected family contribution would be included in your SAR (EFC). After you have confirmed that all the information in your SAR is right, it will be sent to the schools in your FAFSA that you have chosen so that they can build your individual aid package.

Know more about FAFSA from the blog posts below.

[show_link program=’graduate’ other=’scholarships’] 

About Sana

Sana has been working in the higher education field for the past 5 years. She has been a passionate reader, has written numerous publications, and published a book on Graduate education. She is a huge Harry Potter fan and can watch the Harry Potter movies anytime.

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