Graduate Loan Options

Graduate Loan Options

The Student Financial Services Office offers financial aid in the form of federal Direct Loans, Graduate Plus Loans, and private alternative loans to students who have been admitted to one of our graduate degree programs. The application process differs slightly for each type of loan program. Borrowers at WAU must submit an electronic master promissory note and entrance counseling for the Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus Loans. Private alternative loans require applications with the lender. Federal Direct and Graduate Plus Loan applicants are required to file the FAFSA each academic year. For complete information on the Direct Loan programs for graduate students, visit the federal website

The following are brief descriptions of the loan programs, as well as an overview of the process involved in applying for these types of loans.

1. Federal Direct Undergraduate Loans 

Graduate students at WAU may borrow up to $20,500 in Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds per academic year; the amount is based on the number of credit hours the student plans to take. The fixed interest rate for 2019-2020 is 6.08 percent and 5.30 percent for 2020-2021. 

The loan is disbursed equally between the semesters. Unsubsidized Direct Loan eligibility is, in part, determined by information submitted on the FAFSA. You can find the online FAFSA form, Entrance Counseling, Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment, and MPN at

Students who feel they need more than the $20,500 maximum may seek a Graduate Plus Loan or private alternative loan to further cover their educational costs..

2. Graduate Plus Loans

The Graduate Plus Loan is a federally sponsored education loan for graduate students. You are eligible to borrow up to the full cost of education, including tuition, fees, living, book, and transportation expenses, less any financial assistance received. The loan is disbursed equally between the semesters. Graduate Plus Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.08 percent for 2019-2020 and 5.30 percent for 2020-2021. You can find the online FAFSA form, Graduate Plus Loan application, Entrance Counseling, Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment, and MPN at

A minimum credit check is required for all Graduate Plus borrowers. If you are not eligible based on your credit rating, you may become eligible if you obtain an endorser for the loan. 

Leaving School: Graduating, Withdrawing or Dropping Below Half-Time

Once you are no longer enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program, you may receive a 6-month grace period your Direct Unsubsidized Loans during which you are not required to make loan payments. You must begin repayment at the end of your grace period. You will go into repayment as soon as the Direct Graduate Plus Loan is fully disbursed. However,  you will be placed on an automatic deferment while in school and for six months after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment. For more information, visit

Loan Reporting

All federal student loans obtained by a student are reported to and tracked on the national student loan data system (NSLDS). NSLDS loan records are accessible to all authorized NSLDS users, including schools, and student loan servicers, federal agencies.

Accessing NSLDS

Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus Loan borrowers may view their federal loan information at Borrowers can access the system using their federal FSA ID.  

3. Private Alternative Loans

Private alternative loans are available to graduate students who feel they will need more than the $20,500 maximum possible from the Federal Direct Loan program. The loans are non-federal, private credit-based loan products offered by various lending institutions. Private alternative loans are credit dependent may, generally require school certification of enrollment and eligibility information, and are issued in the student’s name. The loans can be used to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any financial aid. We encourage students to exhaust all federal loans described on this page before considering private loans.

Private alternative and private education loan information is not reported to NSLDS.



For more information about financial aid at WAU, email, or call 301.891.4005 or 1-800-835-4212 to speak to a financial aid advisor.

Student Financial Services
Washington Adventist University
7600 Flower Avenue, Suite 351
Takoma Park, MD 20912
phone: 301-891-4005
toll-free: 800-835-4212
general fax: 301.560.5364