U.S. citizens and permanent residents who file a FASFA can be considered for the programs below. In addition to Penn GSE funding and external funding opportunities, many students utilize these resources to pay for their graduate education.

Federal Loan Programs

The federal government makes loans available to borrowers who meet the basic eligibility.  Federal loans can be borrowed in amounts enough to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses. There is no credit review for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan which is issued in iterations of $20,500 per calendar year. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is constrained only by the cost of attendance, and you can be approved in amounts sufficient to cover remaining balances so long as your credit history does not contain certain adverse history

Most Penn GSE students borrow Federal Direct and either the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan or private loans to fund their education. To be considered for these loans, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University of Pennsylvania institutional code is 003378.

Your FAFSA information will be sent to the University's Student Financial Services office (SFS). If you have questions you may contact SFS at (215) 898-1988 or sfsmail@sfs.upenn.edu.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Direct Loan is a low-interest federal student loan for which interest accrues during the in-school period. It can be used to replace students' and parents' contribution. 

Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans are for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program. One may borrow up to your cost-of-attendance budget less any other aid. This loan requires that you pass a basic credit review conducted by the Department of Education. 

How to Apply for Federal Aid

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a required application for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents who are interested in participating in federal aid programs. Students can file a FAFSA online as early as October 1 each year. All graduate students are ‘Independent’ and parents' information is NOT needed. The FAFSA relies on tax information from 2 years prior; e.g., the 2022-23 FAFSA will use 2020 tax information. File the correct FAFSA by selecting the FAFSA that corresponds to the year in which the first fall semester of your program begins. For example, if the first fall semester of your program is Fall 2022, you would file a 2022-23 year FAFSA. The University of Pennsylvania institutional code is 003378.

Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs

For Teachers

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. Visit the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness page.

For Public Service

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. 

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-study is a need-based aid program where the Department of Education subsidizes student wages earned at on-campus jobs. Work-study funds are not realized unless earned through student employment. Work-Study replaces student loan eligibility dollar-for-dollar, and many students prefer to receive a larger refund up-front rather than earning wages over the year; therefore, it is not automatically awarded. Most domestic students are eligible to work on-campus with or without federal work-study funding. After you accept your offer of admission, you will receive a Penn Key and be able to search available on-campus jobs via the Penn Student Employment website. Jobs for the upcoming fall semester are posted in July. Email finaid@gse.upenn.edu after you matriculate if you wish to be considered for federal work-study.