Questions about the programs described in this section should be directed to the UC Berkeley Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO).
Eligibility for Financial Aid
Your eligibility for federal need-based financial aid is the difference between your expenses and your resources.
Your resources include the contribution calculated from the income and assets reported on your FAFSA (see below) and awards you received other than student aid from the FASO (e.g., fellowships or department aid).
Your eligibility may change throughout the year. For example, you may receive fellowship or departmental awards, which may reduce your initial loan. Or you may wish to document that your expenses are higher than those reflected in the standard student budget. Research, relocation, uninsured medical, and child care costs are typical expenses that students claim throughout the year to prove increased need.
How to Apply for Student Loans & Other Federal Student Aid Administered by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO)
We recommend that you submit your FAFSA by the March 2 priority deadline (postmarked) to ensure timely processing and the best financial aid package. If you missed that deadline, submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. You will still be entitled to your full federal direct loan eligibility, but the campus-based funds (work-study and parent grant) may be depleted. You should file the FAFSA even if you are not sure you will need or want any aid from the FASO. You can decide later. The FAFSA is the only application necessary to apply for aid from the FASO. Graduate and professional students are considered independent, so parent information should not be included on your FAFSA. In late April or May, the FASO will notify you about your award.
Types of Financial Aid
The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office has a limited amount of work-study funds that enable students to earn money while in school, thereby reducing the need to borrow more money. Many graduate students use their work-study awards for campus, departmental, or other jobs related to their educational objectives. Hourly wages of $17–$20 an hour are typical. The amount of the work-study award will be based on the availability of funds, but may be as high as $10,000 per year. When you receive your award notification in April or May, you will be able to request work-study. Throughout the year, requests for work- study will be granted as funding permits.
Most domestic graduate students easily qualify for loans. Student loans are an important resource, but you should consider loans as a last resort, because there is danger in borrowing too much and accumulating high indebtedness. We suggest that you actively pursue other funding, such as fellowships, employment, work-study, and outside funding throughout your academic career.
The University of California, Berkeley, is participating in the federal government’s Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). A maximum of $20,500 per year is available to most eligible registered domestic graduate students.
Grad PLUS Loan and Alternative Loans
Two loan options are available for students who need to borrow more than the federal Direct Loan maximum of $20,500. Grad PLUS is a federal loan program that will be available to most students to cover the difference, if any, between their total budget and other educational awards (including other federal loans). The interest rate on the Grad PLUS loan is fixed and is scheduled to be set by Congress after this publication’s press date. Please see here for details on the application process and current rates. Alternative loans with adjustable interest rates from private lenders will also be available to cover unmet need. Preferred lenders, application links, and a chart comparing the Grad PLUS and some alternative loans will also be available on the FASO website.
All graduate students are eligible for the short-term emergency loan program offered by the university. These interest-free loans are available throughout the academic year to help cover cash- flow problems. Please consult the FASO website for more information.
Loans for Graduate Students
Maximum amounts and interest rates for loans disbursed 7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
Federal loan; the lender is the federal government.
Interest accrues as soon as the loan is disbursed.
Offered to domestic graduate students with or without financial need.
$20,500 (higher for students in some Health Professions programs)
Interest rate is 6.54%
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Federal unsubsidized loan. The federal government is the lender.
Offered to domestic graduate students with or without financial need.
Up to cost of attendance, less other awards.
Interest rate is 7.54%
Loans from private lenders
Available to graduate students.
Varies by lender
Emergency Loan: Living Expense Loan
Short-term loan offered by the Financial Aid
Available to registered students without blocks or a prior unpaid emergency loan.
Native American Opportunity Plan
The University of California’s Native American Opportunity Plan ensures that in-state tuition and student services fees are fully covered for California students who are also enrolled in federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes. This plan applies to undergraduate and graduate students.
Outside Sources of Financial Aid
You may be eligible for need-based financial aid administered by other agencies.
The Disabled Students Program (DSP), (510) 642-0518 or TTY/TDD (510) 642-6376, provides a wide range of services and accommodations for eligible students with verified disabilities. A Student Grant is available for disability-related assistive technology.
Benefits for Veterans, Reservists, and Dependents of Veterans
If you have ever served in the military and are a veteran or current reservist, you may qualify for educational benefits under the G.I. Bill. If you are the dependent of a veteran who died or is disabled as a result of military service, you may be eligible for educational benefits or fee waivers. Questions should be directed to Veterans’ Services, 102 Hearst Gymnasium, Berkeley, CA 94720, (510) 642-0083.
Native Forward Scholars Fund
These fellowships are available to full-time students who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes or who are at least one-fourth American Indian or Alaska Native, as recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Awards are based on financial need. Applicants must apply for aid at that office. Applications are available from the Native Forward Scholars Fund, 3701 San Mateo NE #200, Albuquerque, NM 87110, (505) 881‑4584 or Toll Free at 1-800-628-1920.
Financial Aid for International Students
International students in F-1 and J-1 status cannot establish California residency and should expect to pay nonresident tuition every semester of graduate study.
Federal regulations and University policy severely limit the types of financial assistance available to international students. The UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office does not offer financial aid to international students.
The Berkeley International Office (BIO) website has information for international students who are considering attending Berkeley (http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/aid).