Affordable Choice, Unbeatable Value - Financial Aid

Loans for Graduate Students

Loan requirements and application process

Loans are granted by the federal government to degree-seeking students who complete the FAFSA and are enrolled at least half-time. You will be awarded a loan based on the information you provide on the FAFSA, including enrollment status and living arrangements.

Study Group

Applying for a Direct Stafford Loan

To see if you qualify for a loan, follow the steps below:

  1. Complete your FAFSA by the priority deadline of February 1st
    We recommend that you complete the application at least two to three weeks before February 1st to be considered for maximum aid.
  2. Review your Student Aid Report after submitting your FAFSA and correct any errors
  3. Access your award letter through My Missouri State to accept or decline your aid
    Your award letter will be posted in January if you are a first year student and after grades are posted if you are a current student.
  4. Complete your Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling
  5. Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to remain eligible for future aid

Types of loans for graduate students

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans »

  • Amount: The annual loan limit is $20,500 for graduate students.
  • Interest rates:
    • Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/17 and before 7/1/18: The interest rate is fixed at 6 percent.
  • Repayment: Repayment begins six months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. You are responsible for repaying interest from the date of disbursement. Interest payments may be made in installments or allowed to accumulate and be added to the principal.
  • Qualifications: Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are granted to both undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. First-time borrowers must complete online entrance counseling prior to loan approval.
  • Application: To be eligible for a Stafford Loan, you must complete the steps listed under "Applying for a Direct Stafford Loan" at the top of this page.

Visit the Accepting a Direct Stafford Loan page for more information about how to review and accept your award.

PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree-Seeking Students »

  • Amount: Loan amount may not exceed the student’s cost of education minus other aid received.
  • Interest rates:
    • Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/17 and before 7/1/18: The interest rate is fixed at 7 percent.
  • Repayment: Interest is charged from the first disbursement date, and repayment on both interest and principal begins 60 days after the final loan disbursement for the academic year. You may defer repayment while you are enrolled at least half-time.
  • Qualifications: PLUS Loans are granted to graduate and professional degree-seeking students who have good credit history. You must have applied for your annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Programs before applying for this loan.
  • Application: You must complete your FAFSA, a Direct PLUS Loan Application and a Master Promissory Note. Information about the PLUS loan is available online along with applications.

Visit the Applying for a Graduate PLUS Loan page for more information.

Alternative loans

  • Amount: Varies. Alternative loans are private loans designed to help student with educational expenses that exceed other available assistance. They cannot exceed a student's approved cost of attendance.
  • Interest rates: The interest rate varies by loan provider.
  • Repayment: Repayment options vary by loan provider.
  • Qualifications: Loan providers determine your eligibility is based on credit approval. It is the policy of the Financial Aid Office at Missouri State University that a student MUST be enrolled at least HALF-TIME in current grade level courses at Missouri State before an alternative loan will be processed.
  • Application: You can apply online for alternative loans. You should only apply for alternative loans after all federal loan program eligibility has been exhausted.

Loan terminology

Origination fee

An “origination fee” of no more than one percent of the principal is charged for direct loans according to the regulations governing the programs. The fee is deducted proportionately from each payment before the loan funds are disbursed to the school to offset the cost of the loan programs.  You are still responsible for repaying the full value of the loan before the fee is paid.

Master promissory note

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document completed by the student only promising to repay their loans and any accrued interest and fees to the federal Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of student loans.

In most cases, one MPN can be used for loans received over several years of study. The MPN must be completed online.