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Seeking financial aid

Learn how filing a FAFSA can help finance your graduate education

Student loans can provide one piece of the puzzle to financing your graduate education, depending on whether you’ve received a graduate fellowships, grants, or an academic student appointment (employment) upon your offer of admission. To understand the the total costs of attendance associated with your program, visit our financial aid office’s Total Cost of Attendance webpage.

Graduate students can consult with our Financial Aid & Scholarships Office and then apply for need-based loans and work-study. Our financial aid programs are based on demonstrated financial need and require completion of a separate Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Student Loans & Other Federal Student Aid

To apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete a FAFSA. To get started, complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, available on the FAFSA website. The UC Berkeley FAFSA school code is 001312.

Things to Keep In Mind

  • Graduate and professional students are considered independent, so parent information should not be included on your FAFSA.
  • Optometry students should refer to the description of the Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL) for an exception to this.
  • Submit your FAFSA by the priority deadline to ensure timely processing and the best financial aid package.
  • File the FAFSA even if you are not sure you will need or want any aid from the FAO. You can decide later whether to accept aid for which you are eligible.
  • If you miss the priority deadline, submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. You will still be entitled to your full federal Direct Loan eligibility, but other campus-based funds (Work-Study, Perkins, and Parent Grant) may be depleted.
  • Only U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for funds administered by the Financial Aid Office.

In late April or May, the FASO will notify you about your award. The FASO will include information about the acceptance and disbursement of awards, how to make changes or appeals, and other options. In some cases, you may be asked to submit additional documents to verify information on your application.

Consult the Graduate Award Guide on the Financial Aid & Scholarships website for more information, or submit your inquiry online.

Read the Graduate Award Guide

Related Resources

About 6 percent of doctoral students and about 50% of master’s (including professional students) take out student loans.*

Here are some additional resources, both on UC Berkeley and federal websites, that provide additional information on the student loan process, depending on your individual financial needs.

* Based on graduate student enrollment and awards from all sources (except for student loans) made during 2012-13. Excludes self-supporting degree programs.