Graduate Students

PSU anticipates beginning to make Graduate financial aid awards for 2015-2016 in early May.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program

Graduate students are only eligible for Title IV Unsubsidized Federal Direct loan funds. The annual eligibility for a graduate student is based on the average cost of attendance and the actual number of enrollment periods a student plans to attend for that year. The cost of attendance is based on the average number of credits taken and number of enrollment periods. The maximum annual Federal Unsubsidized Direct loan amount available for a graduate student is $20,500 and the interest rate for the 2015-2016 academic year is 6.21%.  Limits may apply based on program.

Students must be degree-seeking and enrolled at least half-time (minimum of 3 credit hours per term) to access Federal loan programs. Non-degree certificate program students may access non-federal loan programs only. You will be charged interest  from the time any loans are disbursed until they are paid in full. If you allow the interest to accrue while you’re in school, or during other periods of nonpayment, it will be added to the principal amount of your loan at the time of repayment (capitalized), and future interest will be calculated on that higher amount.


Graduate loans are disbursed by Student Account Services at the beginning of each enrollment period based upon the following three criteria:

  1. The academic year must have started. The official first day of the academic year is  7/1/xx.
  2.  The term must have started. Official term start dates are as follows – Summer 7/1,  Fall 9/1,  Winter 12/1,  Spring 3/1.
  3. Courses totaling at least 3 credits must have officially begun.  Each class has an official start date that may differ from the term start date. If your class start date is AFTER the official term start date, funding will not be disbursed until after the class has officially begun.

Federal aid guidelines require you to be in attendance at least 60% of your course time in order to have “earned” the entire amount of your federal financial aid.  If students are not in attendance for the entire term, unearned aid will be returned.  Students who are not completing their courses will be in jeopardy of losing access to federal student loans if they are not meeting Standards of Satisfatory Progress (see Step 4)

More information on registration, cost per credit, refunds and billing may be found at the College of Graduate Studies webpage.

Loan Limits

Graduate aggregate maximum Direct Loan limit is $138,500.  The graduate debt limit ALSO includes federal student loans received for undergraduate study.

For students who are enrolled in eligible Certification Programs coordinated by College of Graduate Studies both Undergraduate Annual Loan Limits ($12,500 per academic year) and Undergraduate Aggregate Loan Limits apply.  Federal guidelines will not allow schools to award loans at graduate levels since these programs are offered at the undergraduate level.   When identifying loan eligibility for certification programs, all previously borrowed undergraduate loans must be counted and cannot exceed an aggregate total of $57,500 for undergraduate independent students and $31,000 for dependent students.



Graduate Financial Aid Process

The following steps provide guidance for the processes required to access financial aid programs. Be sure to contact the Financial Aid Team should you have questions.

Please note: PSU does not enter into Consortium Agreements with other institutions for purposes of accessing federal financial aid programs.

Step 1 - Apply for a PIN

Apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the Department of Education, unless you have already obtained one from a prior year’s online filing.

The PIN will be used as an electronic signature on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please retain your PIN in a secure place as this same number will be used throughout the remainder of your education for purposes of electronic signatures and identification.

Step 2 - Complete the FAFSA

Beginning January 1, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming academic year. PSU’s school code is 002591.  PSU draws in FAFSA data once a week.

NOTE: The FAFSA can be completed using estimated tax information, and updated with actual financial information once tax forms are completed. After your FAFSA has been submitted, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will provide you with a copy of your FAFSA data.

Step 3 - Access Your Information Online

Once PSU receives your FAFSA, if follow-up information is required, emails are sent to your PSU email account informing you of needed documentation.  Specific information needed is posted as “Action Required” in your myPlymouth account.  Aid eligibility is identified once a student is officially accepted into the College of Graduate Studies.

The aid year begins with the summer term and ends with the spring term of the following year.  Please note that the award notification process will begin in May prior to the start of the academic year. Once all requested requirements have been satisfied, your application will be considered complete. Complete applications are reviewed and awarded once a week.

Step 4 - Satisfactory Academic Progress and Repeat Coursework

In order to be eligible for Federal Financial Aid, you must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP for graduate students is defined as having successfully COMPLETED 75 percent of all graduate credits ATTEMPTED.  Students not meeting these requirements will be notified with guidance provided on  possible appeals.  Students not making SAP and determined ineligible for aid may wish to take advantage of Continuing Education loans.

Federal financial aid will not be awarded to pay for any repeat courses.


Step 5 - Graduate Enrollment Status Form and Cost of Attendance

All graduate students are required to complete a Graduate Student Enrollment Status Form  (2014-2015, 2015-2016) annually stating the number of credit hours they plan to enroll during EACH enrollment period.  If enrollment plans or program changes from what was reported on the Graduate Student Enrollment Status Form at any time during the year, students must provide written notice to the Financial Aid Team so Federal Direct Loan eligibility can be reviewed and adjusted, if necessary.  Failure to update this information may cause delays in delivery of loan funds or entire cancellation of loan disbursement.

Cost of Attendance (COA) – Your Federal Direct Loan eligibility is based on an average Cost of Attendance (COA), using an average of 4.0 credits per enrollment period. Please see the table below for an estimate of costs per term.  The Cost of Attendance includes billed costs (tuition and fees) and unbilled costs (books and personal living expenses).
Enrollment for Academic Year 2014-2015 NH RESIDENT NON-RESIDENT
1 Term $8,050 $8,350
2 Terms $16,100 $16,650
3 Terms $24,200 $24,950
4 Terms $32,250 $33,300

Should your enrollment or the Cost of Attendance change, your Federal Direct Loan eligibility may increase or decrease accordingly. Information on actual per credit hour tuition charges are available through the College of Graduate Studies.

Step 6 - Online Award

Financial aid awards are completed on a rolling basis beginning in May of each year. Financial Aid award information is only accessible online via myPlymouth.

All financial aid awards will be considered accepted unless the student otherwise notifies the PSU Financial Aid Team of his or her wish to decline the entire award or a portion of the award.

Step 7 - Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling

First-time PSU Federal Direct loan borrowers must complete both online  Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) .

PSU will be notified once you have completed and submitted these requirements. Federal loan funds will not be credited to your PSU bill with Student Account Services until these items are completed. 

Step 8 - Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Once federal aid is determined, if you still need additional funding and you have not exceeded your COA, you may apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan borrowers are eligible for “in-school” deferment, which means that repayment of your loan will not begin until after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment.  However, the loan will accrue interest at a rate of 7.21% (2014-2015) while you are enrolled in school.

If you are interested in applying for the Federal Direct PLUS after receiving notification of your Federal Direct Loan eligibility, please complete the following three steps:

A: Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form:  Be sure all boxes are completed on this form before submitting it.

B:  Master Promissory Note (MPN):  This is different than the MPN which wass needed for your Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan. At Select “Complete Master Promissory Note” and then choose “Graduate PLUS” as the type. Do not click on the link that says “Request a Direct PLUS Loan.”

C: Online Entrance Counseling:  If you have already completed the Online Entrance Counseling for your Federal Direct student loans, you do not need to complete this additional counseling session. There is only one counseling session for graduate students and it satisfies both the Federal Direct Student loans and the Graduate PLUS loan.

Borrowers whose Direct PLUS Loan credit checks are processed on or after March 29, 2015 and who are denied based on an adverse credit history can secure an approved endorser.  The endorser is subject to the same credit check as the applicant. Or the applicant can appeal the denial on extenuating circumstances. In both cases, the applicant will be REQUIRED to complete PLUS Counseling at PLUS Counseling must be completed before disbursement of the Direct PLUS Loan funds.

  •  PLUS Counseling is NOT Entrance Counseling and does not fulfill the Entrance Counseling requirement for first-time Graduate/Professional Student
  • Some first-time Graduate/Professional students will be required to complete both Entrance and PLUS counseling modules
  • PLUS Counseling is only available through

Step 9 - Other Assistance

Students are required by federal guidelines to notify the PSU Financial Aid Team of all scholarships and tuition assistance received.  Additional resources may, or may not, affect your current financial aid award.

Step 10 - Revision of Aid Awards

Reviews:  The Financial Aid Team reserves the right to review and possibly revise awards based upon conflicting or inaccurate information such as number of credits taken, change in program, or aid received from other sources.

Step 11 - Scholarships

Please visit the College of Graduate Studies Web site for additional information on available scholarships, graduate assistantships, teaching fellowships and research assistantships available to students.

For information about private scholarships that may be available please see Scholarship Searches and Private Scholarships.

Step 12 - Loan Repayment

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, repayment will begin on your loans. Please visit our Loan Repayment webpage for more information about your grace period, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), consolidation options, and loan repayment options.

April 7th, 2014 by Eric

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