Graduate Students

Information for future and current graduate students.

Higher education is one of the most important investments that you can make in yourself. An education from Cardinal Stritch University is often more affordable than other private and public university options. With highly personalized attention and excellent professors it’s also a greater value that leads to better preparation for your career.

At the graduate level, the amount of funding you require is based on the number of credits in which you enroll and the tuition for your program. Review the current tuition and fees. We welcome you to discuss financing your education with either your admissions counselor or a financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid.

New Students: Complete the Admissions Process

Before pursuing the financial aid process, you will need to apply for admission and be admitted to your graduate program. Students in term-based programs must enroll in at least 4 credits per term (6 credits per term is required for Post-Baccalaureate Certificate programs). Students in accelerated, non-term programs are eligible for aid based on enrolling in the program.

Know Your Options with the Direct Loan Program

Stritch participates in the Direct Loan program which provides funds to both graduate and professional degree students. Eligible students can take advantage of either a Direct Unsubsidized Loan or a PLUS Loan. Federal student loans offer many benefits not typically included with private loans, such as fixed interest rates and income-based repayment plans. Most student loans do not require repayment until after graduation.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    You are not required to show financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Stritch will determine the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance, the other financial aid you receive, and the amount of your lifetime limit that has been borrowed. The maximum amount that can be borrowed per award year is $20,500. You will be responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accumulate and be added to the principal amount of your loan.

  • PLUS Loan
    The U.S. Department of Education is the lender for PLUS Loans. A primary factor in obtaining a PLUS Loan is a positive credit history. The maximum loan amount is your cost of attendance, which is determined by Stritch, minus any other financial aid received. These loans are utilized by students who need more funding than the Stafford loan program is offering them. They can be applied for at

  • Alternative Loans
    These loans are not provided through the federal government. Rather, they are borrowed from private bank/credit industries. These loans are for students with an excellent credit history, which may allow the student to borrow them at a lower interest rate than the federal loans are offering. However, many of these loans do not have the features of the federal loans. These loans can be explored on our alternative loans page.

Overview of the Financial Aid Application Process

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at
  2. After the Financial Aid Office receives and processes your FAFSA, you will receive a notification to access your financial aid files online at:
  3. Once all of your information is received, the Office of Financial Aid will create an award letter that shows your financial aid package. You will receive this letter by postal mail.
  4. If you choose to accept your financial aid package, you will be asked to sign a loan agreement called a master promissory note (MPN). You will be able to do this electronically at

Reapply Each Semester

To maintain your aid, it is important to stay on top of your financial aid status and ensure that you submit all necessary paperwork in a timely manner. Stay current on what is required and where you are in the process through using our Online Aid Services system.