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Apply as a Graduate or Professional Student

Funding a graduate or professional education is a challenge for many students. As students seek financial support for their studies, they should first look to their academic department or professional school for assistance. Students seeking access to the Federal Student Loan program should make sure to file a FAFSA.  

Grants and Scholarships

The Office of Financial Aid does NOT award scholarships or fellowships for graduate students. The primary source of information for these opportunities is the academic department or professional school in which the student is enrolled or plans to enroll. These links may help:

School of Education Financial Aid Information - information on School of Education scholarships and graduate assistantships.

Law School Financial Aid Information - additional information for Law students concerning financial aid, Virginia in-state tuition, and scholarships.

Mason School of Business Full-time MBA Program Financial Aid Information- additional information for full-time MBA students regarding scholarships and graduate assistantships.

Arts & Sciences Funding Opportunities - a list of funding opportunities for graduate students in Arts & Sciences programs.

School of Marine Science (VIMS) Funding Opportunities - a list of funding and award opportunities for current and prospective School of Marine Science students.

Student Loans

The Office of Financial Aid can offer only student loans to graduate students. Students must determine how much they borrow based on their personal resources, the length of their program, and their ultimate career plans. If students believe they will require assistance beyond scholarships, grants, or fellowships, the Office of Financial Aid offers student loans that will be helpful. However, students cannot borrow loans for more than the total cost of the student's program, which includes certain cost of living allowances. In order to qualify for Title IV federal aid (Direct Unsubsidized and Direct Grad PLUS Loans), students must meet all eligibility requirements and file the FAFSA. Before filing the FAFSA, you should take a look at our list of common application errors.

Students should consider their loan debt (current and projected) and examine their budgets to minimize expenses in an effort to avoid the temptation to borrow too much. Consult the loan repayment calculator on to get an idea of what monthly payments would be when your loan enters repayment. This will also help determine how much loan money to borrow by projecting out potential debt. These are the available loan options for graduate students:

If you are interested in borrowing loans through the Federal Direct Loan Program (Unsubsidized Loan & Graduate PLUS Loan), follow the instructions below.

1) File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

Program Start Date
FAFSA to File
Spring 2024 2023- 2024
Summer 2023 2022 - 2023
Fall 2023 2023 - 2024

2) Check your W&M email account for your electronic award notification that will be produced after our office receives your FAFSA.

3) Follow the instructions outlined on the Loan Application Instructions page of our website.  Be sure to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan type that you accept.  Entrance Counseling must also be completed for all loans borrowed at the graduate level.

4) After all loan requirements have been satisfied, the loans that you have accepted will appear on your student account in Banner as “authorized aid” against your tuition charges.

Additional Information

Deferred Loan Payments - Federal loans will be automatically deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time (4 credits per session).  You can opt to make payments on the accruing interest while you are in school if you can afford to do so.  Please contact your loan servicer for more information on how to do this.  Information on your assigned loan servicer can be found on website (login with your FSA User Id and Password). 

Cost of Attendance & Loan Eligibility – Your loan eligibility will be based on the total cost of attendance for the period of at least half-time enrollment. The cost of attendance includes tuition per credit hour plus allowances for room, board, and books/supplies. You may also request to include the cost for purchasing a laptop and for the College Health Insurance coverage. 

Funds Disbursement & Refunds - Disbursement of loan funds will take place after classes begin for each semester or session that you are enrolled in. In some cases, the disbursement will be held until after the drop/add period is closed or your enrolled credits are 4 for the semester. If you are due a refund of excess loan funds, refunds will be processed according to the institution’s refund policy. Information about refunds can be found on the Bursar’s Office website.

Withdrawal/Aid Adjustment – Adjustments to financial aid may be required if you withdraw. Federal loans are subject to the federal refund calculation. For information about adjustments to your loans due to withdrawing, please visit the Bursar’s Office website on Withdrawals.

Financial Aid for Health Insurance Coverage