Financial assistance can be a crucial part of attaining an advanced degree. Iowa State and the Graduate College are aware of this need and provide services to assist with your financial planning.

There are multiple ways in which Iowa State provides assistance with educational expenses, such as:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Federal Loan Options

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time (5 credits for those not on assistantship) to be eligible. There is no credit check or cosigner required, and payments are not required while students are enrolled at least half-time.

Graduate Annual Borrowing Limits

These amounts are the maximum that can be borrowed during one academic year (Fall/Spring).

Annual Federal Direct Loan Amounts
Undeclared Graduate Student $12,500*
Graduate Student $20,500
Veterinary Medicine Student $40,500

* An undeclared graduate student can receive up to $12,500 over the course of 12 months.

Aggregate Borrowing Limits

These amounts are the maximum a student can borrow over the lifetime (undergraduate and graduate borrowing).

Graduate Aggregate Borrowing Limits
Graduate or Professional Student $138,500
Health Professions Student (Veterinary Medicine) $224,000

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate students may borrow a Graduate PLUS loan to help pay for their education. This loan is used to cover educational expenses not already covered by their financial aid offer up to the cost of attendance. This is a credit-based loan, so students must apply and be credit approved to utilize it.

How to Apply

    • Please allow 7-10 business days for the loan to be added to your Financial Aid Awards Breakdown in Workday


  • Students must borrow the full amount of the Direct Unsubsidized Loan before they can receive a Graduate PLUS loan
  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time (5 credits)
  • Students must pass a credit check during the application