External Funding-Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

External Funding Opportunities Outside Carnegie Mellon

U.S.Department of Education Resources

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on line at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Students may obtain information regarding their loans through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, including deferment forms and payment information, at http://www.dlssonline.com/index.asp.
Information about the federal student aid programs may be found at www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Additional Loan Resources

Effective July 1, 2006 a graduate or professional student may be eligible to borrow a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan allows you, not your parents, to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid you receive.  It has a fixed interest rate of 8.5%, and no aggregate limits.  You must be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify.  Credit checks are also required to determine eligibility, but the credit criteria are much less stringent than for most private alternative loans.  If you don’t meet the credit criteria you may still obtain the loan with an “endorser” who does meet the credit requirements. PLUS applicants cannot have adverse credit based on a review of at least one credit report from a national credit reporting agency.  Adverse credit is defined as:

  • No Federal Student Aid loans in default or delinquent status
  • No accounts that are 90 days or more past due
  • No evidence of default, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or judgments in the last 5 years
  • No accounts in collection
  • No accounts that were “write-offs” or never able to collect upon

A lack of credit history or insufficient credit history is not considered adverse credit. Credit-worthiness is not based on a FICO score, debt to income ratio, or annual salary.

You must complete a FAFSA and have applied for your annual loan maximum eligibility under the Stafford program first.  You will also have to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Addendum for this loan.

The interest rate is fixed at 8.5%. The difference between lenders will be the “repayment incentives” they offer students to reduce the cost of the loan and possibly the interest rate during repayment as well. Because interest rates seem to be on the rise, and private alternative loans have variable rates with no upper limit, we are recommending Graduate PLUS for 2006-07 in lieu of alternative loans.  Attached please find a comparison chart.

If you decide to apply for the GRAD PLUS loan here at SAIS, here are the instructions: You will need to log into http://www.asa.org.  You will need to follow the instructions for applying for the GRAD PLUS loan and be sure to complete your Master Promissory Note.  A drop down list of our preferred lenders will pop up for your convenience.

Preferred lenders have been chosen because of the benefits that they offer our students and in addition, will not charge the 1% default fee mentioned in the attached comparison chart. If you choose to go with an outside lender, please keep in mind that there is a possibility that you may be charged a 1% default fee.

Private Loans
Students who need additional funds beyond the financial aid package offered by SAIS have the option to borrow funds through a private lender. These loans are credit based, so applicants may need a cosigner. International students may utilize private lenders if they have a US citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.  While many banks offer private educational loans, SAIS recommends that students apply first through Citibank, which offers competive interest rates and exceptional customer service.
To apply for a Graduate Citiassist Loan through Citibank on line, please go to http://studentloan.citibank.com/mbslcsite?op=offer&try=2

If you are unable to obtain a loan through Citibank's Graduate Citiassist Loan Program or you would prefer to use a different lender, you may wish to consider the following loan programs:

Other Resources
The following websites are available for researching other sources of financial aid.  Please be sure to pay close attention to the stated application deadlines.  

Additional Sources of Financial Aid for International Students

The following information is designed to help international students in the search for additional sources of financial aid for attendance at SAIS. This list includes a Fellowship Program from the Institute of International Education, a number of Loan Programs, and relevant websites and online sources of information.

I. Grants and scholarships:

1. Institute of International Education (IIE)
The IIE is a nonprofit organization that promotes international education. They provide information about the Fulbright Program on their website: www.iie.org. Number and amount of grants differs from country to country.

They also publish several useful guides, including Funding for US Study: A guide for Foreign Nationals, English Language Orientation Programs (a guide to ESL programs in the US), and Academic Year Abroad. Books can be ordered through e-mail to iie-books@iie.org.

You may also write to:

Institute of International Education (IIE)
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580

2.  Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (IFP)
The Foundation sponsors three minority graduate fellowship programs - predoctoral, doctoral, and postdoctoral - through the National Research Council.
For information write or call the

National Research Council
2101 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20418
tel: (202) 334-2872

The IFP provides support for up to three years of formal graduate-level study. Fellows will be selected from countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia where the foundation maintains active overseas programs. U.S. nationals are not eligible, although fellows may study in the United States. IFP Fellows must be nationals of eligible countries.

Please refer to the following website for more detailed information concerning the application process, eligible candidates, and IFP requirements: www.fordfound.org

International students may find the information on the websites below helpful in researching funding sources:

Financial Aid for Ph.D. Students

CarnegieMellon University recognizes that the pursuit of a doctorate requires a significant commitment of time and financial resources.  Although we strive to provide financial support to talented applicants and continuing students, we encourage Ph.D. students to research and apply for external funding sources.

Fellowships and Grants

National Science Foundation:http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=6201

Fellowship resources compiled by the National Association of Fellowship Advisors:http://www.nafadvisors.org/scholarships.htm


Ph.D. students who hold American citizenship or who are permanent residents of the United States may submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that the Office of Financial Aid may determine their eligibility for loans through the William D. Ford Direct Stafford Loan Program. International students with a credit worthy US cosigner may apply for private educational loans through Citibank’s Citiassist Loan Program.