Graduate student loans

Graduate students aren't all the same; graduate student loans shouldn't be, either.

If you’ve applied for graduate school scholarships (yes, they’re a thing!), you used your savings, and you applied for federal financial aid through the FAFSA–then you might consider a private graduate student loan to cover any remaining grad school expenses.


Browse graduate student loans by category

Choose the right loan to cover your graduate degree or post-graduate studies


Pay for your expenses as you pursue your master's or doctoral degree in a discipline that's not listed below


Business administration

MBA loan icon dark blue briefcase

Pay for your expenses as you pursue your Masters of Business Administration degree


Medical & healthcare

icon dark blue first aid kit with red cross

Pay for your medical degree expenses in allopathic, general, osteopathic, podiatric, radiology, sports, and veterinary medicine

Icon dark blue first aid kit

Pay for your expenses associated with taking board examinations, traveling for interviews, and moving for your medical residency

Icon dark blue heart with red pulse

Pay for your health professions degree expenses in allied health, nursing, pharmacy, and other graduate-level health programs

Dark blue icon red tooth x-ray

Pay for your dental degree expenses in general dentistry, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics

Icon dark blue tooth x-ray and coral map pin

Pay for your expenses associated with taking board examinantions, traveling for interviews, and moving for your dental residency



Icon dark blue law scale

Pay for your school and associated expenses as you study for your law degree

Icon dark blue law gavel

Pay for your expenses associated with fees and living cost as you study for the bar exam

Frequently asked questions about graduate student loans

Considering a graduate loan to help cover the cost of your next degree? Here are some FAQs to help you understand what types of loans to consider, how to apply, and how much aid you can qualify for.

Grad students can apply for federal and private loans. Federal loans are funded by the federal government, and you apply for Federal Direct Loans and Direct Graduate PLUS Loans by filling out a FAFSA®. Private student loans are offered by banks and credit unions, and you apply directly with the lender. Sallie Mae offers private student loans for graduate school.

Depending on the professional field that you're planning to enter, you may have different needs for a graduate student loan. For example, medical and dental degrees often require residencies, so it can help to have a deferment period. That’s why we offer graduate student loans designed for specific degrees: medical schooldental schoollaw schoolMBA, and health professions graduate school. We also have a Graduate School Loan for humanities, sciences, and other degrees.

Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans for graduate students.footnote 1

It's easy to apply for a graduate student loan. Use the “Apply for a loan” button on this page to start. You’ll be asked a few questions to decide which graduate loan is right for you. Then, you'll fill out some basic information about you and your studies. The process usually only takes around 15 minutes.

The amount that you can borrow for graduate school generally depends on the loan. Most of our graduate student loans let you borrow from $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified Cost of Attendance (COA).footnote 2

The COA is an estimate of what you'll pay for expenses like tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel to and from school, a laptop or other technology, and personal expenses. You’ll most likely find it in your financial aid award letter or on your school’s website.

Private graduate student loans are credit-based. The lender wants to know how responsible you are with credit before approving your student loan application. That means they'll view your history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. If you believe your credit history isn't strong, consider adding a cosigner. Their good credit may help you get approved for your loan.

The greatest benefit to taking out a graduate student loan is being able to pay for the graduate education that's important to you. Most grad students see the expense of getting a degree as an investment in their future.3 Many believe that it can help them enter or advance in their chosen career field, and potentially reward them with higher earnings.footnote 3

Not sure if this is the right
student loan for you?

Learn about the different student loans we offer.

footnote 1. Explore federal loans and compare to make sure you understand the terms and features. Private student loans that have variable rates can go up over the life of the loan. Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness and deferment benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. Federal loans generally have origination fees, but are available to students regardless of income.

footnote 2. For applications submitted directly to Sallie Mae, loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Applications submitted to Sallie Mae through a partner website may be subjected to a lower maximum loan request amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

footnote 3. Source: How America Pays for Graduate School, from Sallie Mae and Ipsos