Financial Aid Checklist

U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for federal student aid. Follow these steps to apply:

Step One

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Federal Student Aid website. Include the Rice University school code: 003604.

Step Two

Sign the FAFSA electronically using your federal student aid (FSA) ID username and password. If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create it when logging in to the FAFSA, or visit the New FSA ID page on the Federal Student Aid website.

When Should I Complete the FAFSA?

FAFSA Dates
Start Term FAFSA Year
July 2019 Summer 2019-2020
October 2019 Fall 2019-2020
January 2020 Winter 2019-2020

Step Three

Evaluate your need for additional funding sources, such as the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan through the Department of Education or private education loans through various lenders of your choice.

Note: The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is credit-based. Please visit the Direct PLUS Loan page on the Federal Student Aid website for detailed information regarding PLUS loan credit requirements.

  • While you can apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan within six months of the start of your program, we recommend you wait until you are admitted and have received your award letter for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • Prior to borrowing through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program, you may need to review credit reports for potential issues.
  • The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan credit decision expires within 180 days from applying.

Step Four

Once you have made the decision to apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, visit the Federal Student Aid website to to complete the Direct PLUS Loan Request

  • If approved for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, complete a separate loan agreement master promissory note (MPN) for this loan.
  • If declined for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you can reapply with a co-signer (endorser) or appeal the denial through the Department of Education.

Step Five

If you wish to receive the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, complete entrance counseling and electronically sign the MPN on the Federal Student Aid website

  • Both the entrance counseling and MPN must be completed in order for funds to be disbursed to your student account.
  • If you have previously borrowed federal student loans, be sure to update your lender(s) with contact information and enrollment status for loan deferment purposes. Loan servicer contact information can be found on the National Student Loan Data System.

Step Six

View your Financial Aid To-Do List in Esther, which contains the required forms and documents needed to apply for aid. To sign in to Esther, use your Rice Student ID and PIN. 

For additional information on federal student aid programs, visit the Federal Student Aid website.