Aid Options and How to Apply

About Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Students accepted into a degree program and students enrolled in most graduate certificate programs* can apply for financial aid.  

Students enrolled in a certificate program independent of a degree program MAY be eligible for federal aid if they are in an Arcadia certificate program through which Arcadia awards the actual certificate. Those enrolled in a certification program through which P.D.E. (Pennsylvania Dept. of Education) alone confers certification will be eligible for federal aid only if they are pursuing a first/initial teacher certification, or are pursuing additional certification as part of a degree program.  Those pursuing certification beyond an initial teacher certification independent of a degree program, or those pursuing supervisory certification or endorsements independent of a degree program may not be eligible for federal aid.  

*Federal financial aid is not available for students enrolled in the following certificate programs outside of a master's program: Supervisory Certification, Principal K-12 Certification, Superintendent Certification, Health Policy, Educational Leadership, DPT Readiness Cert and Family Planning Services, DPT Post-Professional Program Certificate and Special Education. Please call 215-572-4034 for additional information.  

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

If you are a matriculating graduate student (accepted into a degree or certificate* program) and are taking at least 6 credits/semester, regardless of your financial need, you can apply for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. You may be eligible to borrow up to $20,500 per year, depending upon your cost of attendance (Note: interest will accrue during the in-school/grace period).  For Federal Direct Stafford Loan interest rates, see  

Repayment Estimator

How to Apply For the Federal Direct Stafford Loan: 

Forms for graduate students are available at

Graduate students will complete:

  • Graduate Financial Aid Application
  • Stafford Loan Request Form
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note*
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling*

*required only for first-time loan borrowers at Arcadia.

Receipt of Loan Funds

Loan funds will be disbursed to your student account no earlier then ten days before the start of each semester, assuming all paperwork is received and you are enrolled at least half-time (6+ credits).  If loans result in a credit after tuition and fees are paid, your loan refund will be issued approximately the 2nd week of classes each semester.  Learn more about Student Loan Refunds.

During summer part-time graduate students taking one course each summer session will receive loan funds in two disbursements, each no more then 10 days before the start of each summer semester course. Please review the Summer tuition refund policy for withdrawals at If a credit is created on student's account after tuition for ALL summer sessions is deducted (including tuition for future summer sessions student is registered for), a refund will be issued within 2 weeks of the credit appearing on the student account.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Available to credit-worthy graduate students enrolled at least half-time, regardless of financial need, once your Stafford Loan eligibility for the year has been exhausted.  You can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. Repayment begins six months following graduation (or the last date of half-time enrollment) and repayment period is ten years.  For Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan interest rate and originational fee information see  

To request a Graduate PLUS loan complete the following forms available at

  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Pre-Approval Form
  • Federal Direct PLUS MPN (if a first-time borrower at Arcadia)

Alternative Student Loans

Alternative, private educational student loans, based on variable interest rates (Prime and/or LIBOR rates) are available for matriculating students enrolled at least half-time if they qualify on the basis of credit. Credit-worthy cosigners may be required depending upon borrower's credit history.  Compare some private loan options here.

Unsure on which loan option works best for you?  Check out our Grad PLUS vs. Private Alternative Loan comparision chart here.

Federal Teach Grant Program

The Federal Teach Grant Program, created to benefit prospective teachers, offers annual awards of up to $4,000 (small reduction on maximum award amount will be applied as a result of Federal Sequestration cuts).  

Yellow Ribbon Program

Arcadia is a participating Yellow Ribbon institution. The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. More information.

Summer Courses

Graduate students taking at least six (6) credits combined over the course of all summer sessions are eligible for Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans and private, alternative student loans, provided they are matriculating in a degree or certificate program.