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Application Process: Loans for U.S. Citizens

Federal Student Loan Information and Instructions


To apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you haven’t already done so, you may complete the FAFSA on line at using Yale’s school code 001426 to direct the results to Yale electronically. Once the results are sent to Yale, you will receive your FAFSA results in the mail from the Department of Education. You need not forward paper or electronic copies of your FAFSA results (SAR) to our office. Parental information is not required for the FAFSA, as graduate students are considered independent.

Student tax filers (Data Retrieval Tool):

When completing the FAFSA, we strongly encourage you to use the new Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) which allows you to provide consent to the IRS to upload data from your federal tax return at the time you complete your FAFSA. This saves time and prevents you from having to complete the FAFSA with your tax return in front of you. You will not be able to use the Data Retrieval Tool until you file your 2015 tax return. To use the Data Retrieval Tool, you would have had to file an electronic tax return at least 2 weeks prior to completing the FAFSA, or 6-8 weeks prior if you filed a paper return. You will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process if you:

  1. Are married but filed separate returns for the 2015 tax year.
  2. Filed an amended 2015 tax return.
  3. Had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31, 2015.

Additionally, schools no longer require a copy of the student’s tax return. If your FAFSA is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, which is a process to request information from your tax return, we will notify you to let you know what additional information we may require to complete the verification process. 

Graduate School Loan Application Form:

Next you will need to complete a Graduate School Student Loan Application form. You may complete this form electronically, but will need to print the form in order to sign it. Once you have completed the loan application, you can return it to us at the address on page 4 of the loan application form or you may scan it and send it as an attachment to our office at or by FAX at 203-432-8137.

Loan Eligibility: 

Once we receive the information requested above, we will be able to determine how much you are eligible to borrow. Page 3 of the Graduate School Loan Application form describes the formula the federal government requires. You may wish to use the worksheet on that page to help estimate your own eligibility (or financial need).

Federal Loans:

If eligible, your financial need may be met first by an Unsubsidized Federal loan (Federal Direct Unsubsidized). There is an origination fee of 1.069% for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Students eligible to borrow Unsubsidized loans are responsible for paying the interest accrued while in school. Repayment is deferred until after the student borrower has graduated or otherwise terminated enrollment in a degree-granting program. 

GradPlus Loans:

If you still have financial need after you’ve exhausted the Federal Perkins and Unsubsidized loans, you may wish to apply for the Federal Direct GradPlus Loan or a private alternative loan. There is an origination fee of 4.276% for the GradPlus loan. For information regarding the GradPlus loan please go to the Federal Direct Loan website.

Alternative Student Loans:

In lieu of Federal loans, you may wish to explore an Alternative student loan. Alternative loans are offered by many private lending institutions, but their terms and conditions can vary significantly. Students considering an alternative education loan may shop around to find a program that best suits their financial needs. When shopping for a lender, you should review all of the terms and conditions carefully since they can vary significantly from one lender to another. Some considerations when selecting a lender include: interest rates; guarantee and origination fees; how often the interest is capitalized (how often interest is added to the principal to create a new balance on which future interest is calculated); is there a grace period and how long is it; what are the credit criteria; is a cosigner required; are there incentives in repayment such as interest rate rebates for timely repayment; and are there deferment options. Alternative or Private student loans require Yale certification and a need analysis, therefore you must complete the Yale Loan Application form.

SFAS maintains a list of lenders for students to reference. This is not a list of recommended lenders, but a resource to enable students to compare and select lenders that best fit their needs. Students are at liberty to choose any lender, and the Financial Aid office will process loans for eligible students. In addition to this list, students may wish to check with state student loan authorities or federal credit unions, where applicable, for alternative loan products.

Entrance Interview and Master Promissory Note:

Once Federal Loan(s) have been approved and processed, you will be asked to complete an Entrance Interview. The interview is required by the federal government to be sure that student borrowers understand the terms and conditions of their loans. You will also need to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note. You will receive instructions on how to complete the Entrance Interview and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) at a later date. Your loan cannot disburse without the completion of these two requirements.


We urge you to start using your Yale e-mail account, as all loan information and correspondence will be sent to your Yale e-mail account.