Aid Programs

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Fairfield University understands that the decision to begin a graduate education can be a significant investment for any student, especially financially.

Please find detailed information on our financial aid web pages, which we created specifically for graduate students. We hope this information will assist you in making the best decisions regarding the various federal, state, institutional and private financing options as you embark on your new academic endeavor.

Direct Loan Eligibility Chart

Programs Eligibility Requirements Annual Award Limits How to Apply
Direct Unsubsidized Loan Available for students who are matriculated in a degree program, enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more) and who meet all federal requirements.  Effective July 1, 2012: Subsidized Direct Loans
are not available to graduate and professional students
$20,500 or up to Cost of Attendance
(varies by program) $138,500 - No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. This graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
  1. Submit the FAFSA
  2. Complete the:
  • Graduate Direct Loan Entrance Counseling
  • Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
Direct Graduate/
Professional PLUS Loan
Available for students who are matriculated in a degree program, enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more) and who meet all federal requirements.  Cost of Attendance - (minus) financial aid and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loan (if applicable)
  1. Submit the FAFSA
  2. Complete the:
  • Credit check
  • Graduate Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
Current Loan Interest Rates by Disbursement Dates
Loan Type Borrower Type Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/23 and before 7/1/24
Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Graduate or Professional Students

Direct PLUS Loans

Graduate or Professional Students 


Please refer to the Federal Student Aid's Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans page for more information on interest rates.

Current Loan Fees by Disbursement Dates
Loan Type First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
Direct Unsubsidized Loans On or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/24
On or after 10/1/19 and before 10/1/20
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 10/1/20 and before 10/1/24
On or after 10/1/19 and before 10/1/20

Please refer to the Federal Student Aid's Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans page for more information on loan fees.

Direct Loan

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to eligible graduate students. This loan is processed through the U.S. government. Students can borrow the Direct Loan for a specified period of enrollment and can expect loan repayment to begin six months after graduation or six months after enrollment is less than half-time (five or fewer credits). An unsubsidized loan is non-need based. Students will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid off. The interest will accrue while a student is in school and/or during other periods of non-payment and it will be capitalized. The interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan and additional interest will be based on the higher loan amount.

Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Office of Financial Aid will provide you with an award notification (e-mail or mail) of the Direct Loan. The required loan applications in addition to the FAFSA include the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN). These required applications can be completed online, using the student's FSA ID. The FSA ID will give you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and will serve as your legal signature.

Use the Direct Loan Repayment Estimator

Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan

Graduate and professional degree-seeking students are eligible to borrow through the Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan Program. Students who decide to borrow this loan are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is suggested that students apply for the annual loan maximum amount ($20,500) with the Direct Loan Program before applying for a Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan.

You must complete a credit check and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. The Department of Education requires that you use your FAFSA ID to complete the loan applications. If approved, you must complete the Graduate PLUS MPN in order to have your loan certified by the university and to have the loan proceeds disbursed accordingly.

You can borrow up to the annual cost of attendance for your degree program, minus any other financial assistance you receive (Direct Loan, graduate assistantship benefits, scholarships, etc.).

If you are not approved for the PLUS Loan, you may be offered the option to secure a credit-worthy endorser and/or appeal the loan decision with the Department of Education.

Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/2022 and before 7/1/2023 will have an interest rate of 7.54%. Borrowers will be notified of interest rate changes throughout the life of the loan. Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid off.

Yes, there is a 4.228% (effective October 1, 2020) loan origination fee on all Direct PLUS Loans.  The fee will be proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement, prior to the Department of Education sending the funds to the school.  Loans disbursed prior to October 1, 2020 have different origination fees.

When the PLUS Loan is paid to the school, you will be contacted by the loan's servicer. The loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of the loan and will provide information on how and when to repay the loan. Read more about loan servicers.

Payments are generally required on this loan while you are in school and will begin after the loan is fully disbursed for the year; however, payments can be deferred until six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, only after the payment deferment has been approved by the loan servicer. If payments are deferred during the in-school period and/or the six month post-enrollment period, you will receive quarterly interest statements and will have the option to pay the accrued interest. Unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized (added to the principal loan balance) at either the end of the in-school deferment or, if taken, the end of the six month post-enrollment deferment, increasing the overall loan costs.

Use the Direct Loan Repayment Estimator


Alternative Student Loans

It is recommended that students consider borrowing the maximum in Direct Loans and/or Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans before considering an alternative student loan. Direct loans may be less expensive and provide various repayment options compared to alternative loans, but the decision to borrow loans, whether federal or private (e.g. alternative), is completely up to the borrower. The Office of Financial Aid will certify any alternative loan at the request of any borrower, provided they are approved and provided the loan amount does not exceed their eligibility for the year. However, it is the responsibility of the borrower to determine which loan program, federal or private, best fits their borrowing needs.

Alternative student loans are available to assist students cover any financial gap that may exist between their educational costs (cost of attendance) and the amount of financial aid they are receiving. There are many types of alternative student loans and each are calculated with different interest rates and repayment terms, which vary, depending on the borrower's (and/or the cosigner's) credit-worthiness. Students should review their finances to determine which financing option best fits their borrowing needs.

Fairfield University does not have a preferred lender list for alternative student loans, nor can we recommend specific lenders. However, ELM Select, a service provided by ELM Resources (see below), can assist you with what is likely one of the most important tasks in the financial aid process. ELM Select is a free online lender comparison resource that provides extensive loan options. This service has several features that will help you make the financing decision that best fits your financial needs.  It also provides a wealth of information regarding borrower rights, responsibilities, and loan repayment.

Find an Alternative Student Loan Today

NOTE: This loan application process can sometimes take at least three to four weeks to complete. Please apply early to allow for this processing time.

Fairfield University participates in the Federal Direct Loan program and does not have preferred lenders. Fairfield University abides by all principles outlined in the CT Code of Conduct (PDF).

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