The majority of our master’s students use federal financial aid in the form of student loans and work-study funds to bridge the gap between their SSA scholarship and the cost of attendance. SSA students work closely with the University’s Student Loan Administration to facilitate the awarding of federal aid, including Perkins Loans, Stafford Loan, GradPLUS Loans and work-study.

Federal Student Aid Application Procedures

To be eligible for federal financial aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a University of Chicago Application for Loans and Federal Assistance. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be completed as soon as possible after October 1. Applicants whose financial needs analysis is received by the School after June 1 may be at a disadvantage in competing for scholarship and loan funds.

Applicants meeting the early admission deadline (December 1) and who have filled out the FAFSA form, will receive a preliminary letter of federal financial aid eligibility (federal student loans and work-study) within a couple of weeks of their admission decision so that they can make an informed financial decision.

Applicants using regular admission deadlines (January 15 or April 1) who have filled out the FAFSA will receive the standard letters of federal funding eligibility.


Federal Stafford Loan

The subsidy on the Stafford Loan has been eliminated for graduate and professional students, effective with enrollment periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012. For students whose enrollment at the University began after Summer quarter 2012, you may apply for up to $20,500 in Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

The unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan is not based on financial need. The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues on the loan, even while enrolled in school. As of July 2, 2012, graduate and professional degree students may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year in unsubsidized loans. The interest rate is fixed at 6.21%. No fees are charged for unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans to borrowers who use the University of Chicago as their lender.


Federal Perkins Student Loans

Federal Perkins Student Loans carry an interest rate of 5%. These funds are extremely limited, and the University cannot guarantee the availability of monies to all students who apply. Annual maximum amounts are determined by the amount of funds available. Students must be registered full time to be eligible for Federal Perkins Student Loans.


Federal Direct Graduate PLUS (GradPLUS) Loan

Direct GradPLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.21%. Approval for a Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan is contingent upon your credit rating. If you have an adverse credit rating, your loan request may be denied.  We recommend that you first apply for the Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and if needed, apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS loan to supplement the difference between your cost of attendance and other assistance. 


Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after you have made 120 payments on loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers.


Named University and SSA Loan Funds

The University has a number of endowed loan funds from which emergency, short-term or longer-term loans may be granted to full-time students. Some loans require a co-signer. These loans have interest rates ranging from 3 to 7 percent. Loans from the following existing funds at SSA may be available upon request to the Dean of Students:

  • The Constance Marcial Burroughs Loan Fund. This fund was named for a distinguished alumna of the Class of 1951 who received an Alumni Citation Award from SSA in 1975.
  • The Helen M. Crittenden Fund. Established in 1945 as a loan fund for the benefit of SSA students.
  • The Phil Hovda Emergency Student Loan Fund. Established in 1994 from gifts of over 200 alumni, these loan funds are given in the name of SSA’s former Dean of Students and alumnus of the class of 1971 upon his retirement after 20 years of service. Funds support emergency loans to SSA students.
  • The Milton Hyman Student Loan Fund. Established in 1991, these loan funds are given in the name of an SSA field instructor and alumnus from the class of 1947. Loans from this fund are available to students who are concentrating in social change and improved social policy.
  • The Nolan P. Jacobson Loan Fund. Established by Raphael D. Atlas, AM ’50, in honor of a former professor, Nolan P. Jacobson, who graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School. The fund provides students short term relief of immediate financial problems with no interest charges.
  • The Rhoda Sarnat Student Loan Fund. This fund honors a distinguished graduate of the Class of 1939. Loans from this fund are available to students in SSA who are interested in clinical social work.
  • The George and Agnes Schael Loan Fund. Established in 1982 by George Schael in honor of his late wife, Agnes, EX '35. This fund is meant to provide emergency loans to full time, degree seeking students to cover financial emergencies that might impair their ability to continue their educational program at SSA.  Individual loans from the fund are limited to $1000.
  • The Michael R. Sosin Fund for Students.  Established in 2015 in memory of Professor Michael R. Sosin, the fund provides relief to meet unanticipated and urgent needs of SSA doctoral and masters students.
  • The SSA Alumni Loan Fund. Established in 1935 as a loan fund for the benefit of SSA students.
  • The Willa Webber Lee Student Loan Fund. Established for a distinguished alumna from the Class of 1945.
  • The Jeanne F. Westheimer Loan Fund. Established by Jeanne Westheimer, AM ’40, as a loan fund for the benefit of SSA students.
  • The Stanley Bliss Hospital Administration Fund, the Clay Hospital Administration Fund, the George Gund Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation Hospital Administration Fund and the Rebecca Schneiderman Memorial Fund are available to SSA students who are in the GPHAP program. 

Note: Regulations governing student loan programs have varied significantly in recent years. Current information regarding terms, repayment, and eligibility may be obtained from: Office of University Student Loan Administration, 970 East 58th Street, Room 411, Chicago, IL 60637 773.702.6061.

Nikel Bailey

Nikel Bailey, AM '12

"I've been able to achieve my accomplishments by not just waiting for things to come to me. Seek and ye shall find," says Nikel Bailey, AM '12.