You are here: American University Financial Aid Graduate Students

Financial aid for graduate students.

Graduate students enrolled at least half time in a Master's or PhD program may be eligible for federal loans and/or federal work study. Graduate students enrolled in online programs are ineligible for federal work study.

To apply, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available starting October 1, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis as it is received by the Office of Financial Aid. It is recommended that the FAFSA be completed by May 1st each academic year. FAFSAs should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the end of the academic semester in which you are enrolled at least half-time.

  • Merit scholarships are awarded by the academic departments.
    The Financial Aid Office does not administer these awards. Please visit your school's merit scholarship webpage or contact their admissions office for further information.

  • Complete your FAFSA online.
    Be sure to list the American University (AU) FAFSA code, 001434, in the college release section. (A limited supply of paper FAFSA forms is available from the AU Financial Aid Office, if you prefer.)

  • Awarding Timeline
    Continuing students will receive their notification letters via the student portal in late June after spring grades have been received and reviewed. Missing grades may delay the arrival of your award letter.

  • Additional Forms
    You may be asked to download and complete a Verification Worksheet or other documentation as needed to complete your aid application. Do not complete these forms unless asked to do so by the Office of Financial Aid.

  • Loan Eligibility
    Graduate students are ineligible for the subsidized Stafford loan as well as any federal or institutional grant funding.

    Typically graduate students are eligible for $10,250 per semester in Unsubsidized Stafford loans as long as they are enrolled at least half time. Half time is defined as 5 credits for Fall and 5 credits for Spring. If your program has a summer semester, 2 credits is considered half time. Eligibility for the unsubsidized loan is determined based on information on the FAFSA as well as loan history found in the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).

    Please note that graduate students may not borrow more than $138,500 in Stafford loans throughout the entirety of their academic careers. 

  • Loan Requirements
    In order for your loan to pay, you must accept the loan through the myAU portal. The Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling must be completed at Federal Student Aid after accepting the loan. Please use your FSA ID and password to access the site and complete the required paperwork.

  • Grad PLUS Loan
    Graduate students may be eligible for the Graduate PLUS loan to assist in defraying additional educational expenses not covered by the Stafford loans. The Grad PLUS loan is a credit-based loan from Direct Loans and requires an additional MPN, if approved. For more information about this loan or to apply, please go to Federal Student Aid. If approved by the lender, graduate students are eligible for up to the total cost of attendance minus all other aid received. In order for the PLUS loan to pay, you must complete both the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling for this loan. Be sure to complete the correct documents on the lender website as there will be options for both the Unsubsidized loan and the Graduate PLUS loan.

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
    SAP is run at the end of your program's Spring semester. For most students this will occur at the end of April/early May after all Spring grades are reported. Our office will conduct a review, and awards for the following academic year will reflect a student's SAP standing. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 3.0, complete 2/3rds of attempted cumulative coursework and complete the degree program within the maximum time frame as defined in the AU Academic regulations. Please carefully read our complete SAP policy for additional information and questions.