The Haas Financial Aid Office realizes that PhD students who request to borrow loans are in a unique situation. While you officially receive full funding for a number of years, your actual costs, depending on family size for example, may significantly exceed the funding provided for your individual research and basic living. Because of Federal regulations and University policies, our ability to assist you with Federal Loans is limited.
You can visit TheIHS.org/AppFees to apply for awards up to $300 for graduate school application fees.
Federal Student Loans
U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan Program, which allows you to borrow up to $20,500 annually. Students can apply for the Federal Loans by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligibility for the Federal Direct Loan is based on student status and cost of education, not credit history.
The 2016-2017 Federal Direct Loan has a fixed interest rate of 5.31% and a 1.068% disbursement fee. No payments are required while enrolled at least half-time.
Students can only borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus other aid received. For example, if your cost of attendance is estimated to be $50,000, and you are receiving $40,000 in a Graduate Fellowship, $4,000 through a Department Scholarship, and a GSR stipend of $7,000, you technically cannot borrow loans because your aid already exceeds the cost of attendance. That said, there are additional options we can provide to still assist you.
Cost of Attendance Adjustment
In some cases, we can increase the Cost of Attendance, aka the Budget, for legitimate expenses such as rent exceeding the standard allowance, relocation expenses, childcare in some cases, uninsured medical or dental costs, and a few other categories. Cost of Attendance Adjustment Forms will be available beginning in September and must be submitted annually. This may allow you to borrow additional funds. For example, using the scenario above, if we add $4,000 in estimated costs to your budget, you would be able to borrow $3,000 on top of the grant/stipend you are receiving. Summer costs are not included. Living expenses for spouse and children are not included.
Private loans are a viable alternative to Federal Loans but are subject to the same borrowing limitations as the Federal Loans. Rates may be variable or fixed and there are usually no fees.
Information for International Students
International students (defined as neither a U.S. citizen nor U.S. permanent resident) are not eligible for federal student loans; however, you can apply for a loan from a private loan lender with a U.S. citizen co-signer. If you do not have access to a co-signer and are not able to borrow private loans as described above, please email our office for alternative options.
Financial Assistance & Emergency Resources
In some cases, there are unexpected changes in a student's financial situation that require a student to seek external support to continue their studies. Resources are available through the Berkeley International Office and other sources that can help international students with unexpected financial challenges supplement their resources and complete their degree programs.