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Cornell University

Need-Based Support

Financial need is the difference between total education costs and the financial resources of students. Need-based financial aid includes federal and private loans, work-study programs on and off campus, and tuition remission programs sometimes offered to employees by their employers or to students by the professional or graduate school they are attending.

Federal Financial Aid
Students attending graduate or professional school are eligible for federal loans if they are U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens and are considered financially independent by the federal government. More complete information on the following programs is available at website.  

Direct Stafford Loans. Up to $20,500 per year, are available directly from the U.S. Department of Education as unsubsidized loans. It is not necessary to demonstrate need, and interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed. 

Direct PLUS Loans. For graduate and professional students are available without demonstrated financial need to cover financial needs beyond the $20,500 available through Direct Stafford Loans.

Veterans Educational Assistance. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administers educational benefits for veterans that may be available to help with financing graduate school. 

Federal Work-Study Program. Provides employment for students on and off campus. Schools administer this program through their financial aid offices. 

These loans must be repaid, and repayment begins six months after an individual ceases to be a student. Other sources include loans from private companies, typically with higher interest rates, or school-sponsored loan programs. Be aware that credit history has become an important issue in obtaining loans for educational purposes, so establish good credit before applying for loans.