Financial Aid Terms: Definition of “Full-Time” in Graduate School | 12.20.10

Posted in Financial Aid, Graduate Loans By Student Loan Network Staff

A number of loan contracts and details differ based on the enrollment status of the student. Unfortunately, each college and educational institution may define the terms of enrollment differently. In most cases, enrollment must be at least half-time to qualify for financial aid at all.

When looking at graduate schools, you may be wondering how many credit hours are needed to be considered a full-time student, versus a half-time student. Here are some guidelines based on information gathered from a few types of schools:

Semester-based school with mostly 3 credit hour courses: Most institutions are using 9 credit hours as full-time and 6 credit hours for half-time.

Semester-based school with mostly 4 credit hour courses: Institutions use 8 credits as full-time with 4 credit hours for half-time.

Quarter schools: These institutions indicated using 6 credits for full-time with anywhere from 3-5 credit hours as half-time.


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3 Responses to “Financial Aid Terms: Definition of “Full-Time” in Graduate School”

  1. David R. says on December 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm:

    It would make sense for the federal government to regulate the number of credit-hours required to obtain a particular amount of student loans. That would prevent abuse–e.g., students taking out more student loans than they should or lenders pushing more money to students than they really need.

    Reply To This Comment
    • Student Loan Guru says on January 7, 2011 at 11:58 am:

      I agree, David. It would also make it easier overall because students wouldn’t need to find the definitions for each of the school they’re interested in, or might attend over the years.

      Reply To This Comment
    • Dawn says on September 26, 2012 at 9:01 am:

      I agree with you. Especially the limits they give you for graduate school. I was a stay at home mom for 4 years when I had my twins and basically my “student loan refunds” from grad school helped us to stay with a roof over our head. But now that I have graduated I am basically paying back a small home mortgage in student loans each month alone!

      Student loan money is not free money.

      Reply To This Comment

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