Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Various forms of student assistance are available through the Bloomsburg University's Office of Financial Aid.  For the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Program, and Federal Work-Study Program, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The FAFSA must be completed on an annual basis and the results forwarded to Bloomsburg University (003315 Federal Code).  Information on graduate assistantships is available through the School of Graduate Studies (212 Centennial Hall) (570)389-4015.  External scholarship opportunities may be explored through the web site www.finaid.org.

In order to receive federal assistance, you must meet a number of eligibility requirements.  Briefly stated, these include the following: you must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (5 graduate credits per semester) in a degree granting program; you must maintain satisfactory progress; you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien; you cannot be in default of a federal educational loan or owe a repayment of federal grant funds.  Male students must be registered with the Selective Service System.  Federal verification requirements must also be completed for selected students.

IMPORTANT:  If you are required to take undergraduate credits to meet deficiency requirements for your Graduate Program, please contact the Financial Aid Office to determine how this may affect current and future financial aid eligibility.

Educational Loan Programs

Federal Direct Student Loans are available to help meet educational expenses.  Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 each academic year (summer, fall, spring).   The loan amount will be entirely unsubsidized.  A FAFSA must be on file along with a Federal Direct Student Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).     

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are available to graduate students who have exhausted their Federal Direct Student Loan eligibility.  In addition to the eligibility requirements discussed previously, students must be credit worthy to receive this loan.  The maximum students may borrow in Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan per academic year is the difference between cost of education minus other financial aid received.  Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan repayment for both the principal and the interest generally begins within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.  There is no grace period for these loans.  This means interest starts to accrue as soon as the first disbursement is made. The student may qualify for an in-school deferment as long as they are enrolled at least on a half-time (five graduate credits per semester) basis.

Federal regulations require that first time Federal Direct Student/Graduate PLUS Loan recipients at Bloomsburg University must complete entrance counseling requirements before receiving their loan funds.  Federal regulations also require a student to complete exit counseling prior to graduation or at the time a student either drops to less-than half-time enrollment or withdraws from Bloomsburg University.  Exit counseling can provide you with valuable information on loan repayment.

Private Educational Alternative Loans may be available to graduate students but it is highly recommended that students utilize the Federal Direct Student/Graduate PLUS Loans as their first borrowing option.

Student Employment

There are two employment programs that may be of interest to graduate students who do not have a graduate assistantship.  These are the Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) and Institutional State Student Employment.  FWSP is based on financial need as defined by the FAFSA.  You must also complete an institutional work-study application.  A work-study award is an opportunity for employment but not a guarantee of placement.  For all employment programs, students are responsible for securing their own positions but placement assistance is available.  Wages are paid directly to the student every two weeks.  Both types of employment programs permit working up to 20 hours per week during period of enrollment and 37.5 hours per week when classes are not in session.

Enrollment Status

Graduate students must register for at least five graduate credits per semester in order to be considered a half-time student, which is the minimum allowable for receipt of Federal Direct Student/Graduate PLUS Loan and deferment of repayment on previous student loans.  Full-time status is nine graduate credits per semester.  With the exception of study abroad programs, all coursework must be taken at Bloomsburg University - enrollment at other institutions is not counted for student aid purposes.

The Office of Financial Aid provides enrollment verification and information regarding the student's expected graduation date for Federal Stafford, Direct Student, Graduate PLUS, and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan purposes.  All other requests for enrollment verification (i.e. Federal Perkins Loan, insurance) should be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar (150 Warren Student Services Center) (570)389-4263 along with the name and address of the agency or institution that is to receive the information.

Refunds of Student Aid

All student aid funds, with the exception of earnings, are applied directly to your account at Bloomsburg University.  Refunds are generated by the Bursar Office (Waller Administration) (570)389-4013.  Please refer to Availability of Funds for more information.

Additional Assistance

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for student aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid (119 Warren Student Services Center) (570)389-4297 for assistance.  The office is open Monday through Friday during regular University business hours.