Students walking through Penland Courtyard

Graduate Students

Financial Aid

Congratulations on your acceptance into the University of South Carolina Aiken's graduate program! The Office of Financial Aid looks forward to assisting you with all of your financial aid needs.

About Federal Direct Loans

The primary financial aid available to graduate students at the University of South Carolina Aiken is federal direct loans. Students apply for the loans on the Federal Student Aid website using their FSA ID. In addition to the federal direct loans, students have the option to apply for a Private Education Loan.

Eligibility for Federal Loans

In order to receive federal direct loans, applicants are required to meet the following requirements:

  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Be accepted for enrollment in a graduate degree program.
  • Meet deadlines in application submission and submitting additional documents.
  • Be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • Be registered for selective service (if applicable).
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Not be in default with any other federal loans.

Applying for Federal Direct Loans

Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate aid year and include the UofSC Aiken school code: 003449.

If students have exhausted the maximum federal direct loan, they could apply for a Graduate Plus Loan. The Graduate Plus federal direct loan is for unsubsidized funds only and is credit based. Loans will accrue interest once disbursed to a student’s account. 

Full time graduate student status is 6 credit hours. Budgets are based on full time student status. If a graduate student takes more than 6 credit hours per semester, contact the Office of Financial Aid regarding increasing the standard budget. 

In order to receive federal direct funding, graduate students must be enrolled at least half time or 3 credit hours.

An alternative option for funding the graduate program is a Private Education Loan.  Follow the link below to research opportunities.

Research and compare private loan programs that our students have used in the past.


Each year, the Department of Education selects students for a process called verification. Students selected for verification will be notified via email instructing them to check their Self Service Aiken account for additional information needed to complete the awarding process.

Note: The USC Aiken email account is the official method of communicating with students.

Packaging of awards will not occur until all requirements are satisfied.

View Verification Forms

Receiving Awards

Once financial aid is packaged, students must log into Self Service Aiken and accept the offered awards. There may be additional requirements in order for the aid to be disbursed to the student’s account. These requirements may include completing Entrance Counseling and signing a Master Promissory Note.

Summer Session

Financial aid for UofSC Aiken summer sessions requires the current year FAFSA (ex: Summer 2022 will use the 2021-2022 FAFSA) and a separate online UofSC Aiken summer financial aid application (for loans only). The application is available on Self Service Aiken beginning April 1. Because of the compressed time frames for the summer, our office must adhere to application deadlines. The priority application deadline to complete the application is May 15. The Summer Financial Aid Application will be removed from SSC on May 15.

To be considered for most aid, you must be enrolled at least half time. This equates to six hours overall summer sessions for undergraduate students and three hours for graduate students.

Financial aid available for summer school is extremely limited.

  • If you have Federal Direct Loan eligibility for the academic year and you use all of that eligibility in the Fall and Spring semesters, there will be no Direct Loan funds available to use for summer sessions.

  • You may apply for private educational loans to use for summer enrollment. For our office to process a summer private loan, you must complete the application process with your lender and submit a UofSC Aiken summer financial aid application by the deadline.