Q: I hope to soon be entering a CRNA program, which is an advance practice nursing degree program (graduate school). The program is very demanding and while in the program working is not an option (because much of the program consists of clinical hours). Can I use a Grad Plus loan for living expenses, so I would not have to take out additional private student loans?
A: A Grad Plus loan (or graduate plus loan) is a low, fixed interest rate federal student loan that is processed directly through the college or university that you are taking the graduate program through. Similar to a private student loan a Grad Plus loan is credit based, however unlike a private student loan a Grad Plus loan is a fixed interest rate loan that is backed by the US Government.
Grad Plus loans are designed to cover grad school tuition and related expenses (such as room and board), which are determined by the college or university. The yearly limit on a Graduate PLUS Loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive.
Depending on the total cost of your living expenses a Grad Plus loan may or may not be able to cover those total costs. Since graduate programs can vary, the best way to get the most accurate financial aid information for your specific situation, is to contact the financial aid department at the college or university that you are enrolled in.