Loans for US Citizens

Loan processes for US citizens, permanent residents, and international students vary. Below you will find information for US citizens. For non-US citizens, please see the Loans for Non-US Citizens page




Federal Student Loan Information and Instructions for US Citizens

To apply for a federal student loan, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you have not already done so, you may complete the FAFSA online form using Yale University’s school code (001426) to direct the results to Yale electronically.

Once the results are sent to Yale, you will receive your FAFSA results electronically or by postal mail from the Department of Education. You do not need to forward the electronic or paper copies of your FAFSA results to the Financial Aid office. 

Parental information is not required for the FAFSA, as graduate students are considered independent.


When completing the FAFSA, we strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows you to provide consent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to upload data from your federal tax return at the time that you complete your FAFSA. This saves time and prevents you from having to complete the FAFSA with your tax return in front of you.

To use the Data Retrieval Tool, you must have filed an electronic tax return at least two weeks prior to completing the FAFSA, or six to eight weeks prior if you filed a paper return. You will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process if you:

  • Are married but filed separate returns for the previous tax year.
  • Filed an amended tax return.
  • Had a change in marital status after the end of the previous tax year (December 31).

Additionally, schools no longer require a copy of the student’s tax return. If your FAFSA is selected for verification by the US Department of Education, the Graduate School Office of Financial Aid is required to verify the accuracy of the information provided on your FAFSA. We will notify you of the additional information required to complete the verification process. 


Next, you will need to complete a Graduate School Student Loan Application. You may complete this form electronically, but you will need to print the form to sign it. Once you have completed the loan application, you can return it to the Office of Financial Aid at 246 Church St, Floor 2, or you may scan and send it as an attachment to

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 Student Application 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).


If eligible, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan will be awarded first. The maximum loan amount is $20,500. Any additional need would be borrowed through the Graduate Plus Loan. There is an origination fee of 5.50% that is deducted at the time of disbursement of loan funds to your Yale student account. Students eligible to borrow Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans are responsible for paying the interest that accrues. Repayment is deferred until after the student borrower has graduated or otherwise terminated enrollment in a degree-granting program.


If you still have financial need after you have met the maximum of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you may wish to apply for the Federal Direct GradPlus Loan. There is an origination fee of 8.05% for the GradPlus Loan. Please note that a student cannot borrow or receive funding above the full cost of attendance. For information regarding the Federal Direct GradPlus loan, please go to the Federal Direct Loan website.


Once a Federal Loan has been approved and processed, you must complete an Entrance Counseling/Interview. The interview is required by the federal government to be sure that student borrowers understand the terms and conditions of the loans. You will also need to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note. Please note that if you borrow both the unsubsidized loan and the GradPlus Loan, a Master Promissory Note must be completed for each loan. You will receive instructions on how to complete the Entrance Counseling/Interview and the Master Promissory Note at a later date. Your loans cannot be disbursed without completing these requirements.

Additional Student Loan Options and Resources

In lieu of Federal loans, you may wish to explore an alternative (private) student loan. Alternative loans are offered by many private lending institutions, but the terms and conditions can vary significantly. If you are considering an alternative student loan, you may shop around to find a program that best suits your financial needs. When shopping for a lender, you should review all terms and conditions carefully: these 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 (i.e., how often interest is added to the principal to create a new balance on which future interest is calculated); whether there is a grace period and how long it is; what the credit criteria are; whether a cosigner is required; possible incentives in repayment, such as interest rate rebates for timely repayment; and deferment options. Alternative (private) student loans require Yale certification and need analysis; therefore, you must complete the Graduate School Loan Application.

Student Financial and Administrative Services 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.

Direct Student Loan programs are summarized on the Federal Student Aid website.

We urge you to use your Yale email account for all loan forms. All loan information and correspondence will be sent to your Yale e-mail account. 

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