Graduate Student Instructions

To avoid deadline penalties, please complete all of these tasks by the following deadlines.

Aid Steps

1. Text Notification Service

Please opt-in to our new financial aid text service to receive important reminders about aid deadlines and missing application items. 

You can opt-out at any time by replying STOP to any message.  We can't receive text messages, and we will continue to send most aid notices to your TU email address.

2. Carefully Read All of Your Award Guide

Your Award Guide explains your aid offers, how they were calculated and the terms and conditions of your awards. You are required to read this because it explains your aid responsibilities and the terms of your awards.

3. Authorize Release of Financial Information

Federal law prohibits TU from discussing your financial aid with your parents or others without your authorization. To grant authorization, please complete our Release of Financial Information Form, which is available from Forms & Online Services.

4. Accept/Decline Your Aid and Choose Your Loan Amounts

  • Login to the Towson Online Services Student Dashboard.
  • From the main Navigation Menu, choose Financials, and Accept/Decline Awards
  • Then choose your Aid Year, and accept or decline each aid offer.
  • If you accept loan offers, you do not have to borrow the maximum amount offered. To borrow a lower amount, first accept the loan, then enter your amount.

5. Calculate How Much You Want to Borrow This Year

You can borrow loans to cover both your TU charges and your other living and personal expenses for this academic year (Fall & Spring).  Review our estimated Cost of Attendance Budgets or review our current rates for tuition, room, and board

Your Award Notification lists the maximum amounts you can borrow from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program.   If you want to borrow more than that, you may want to also borrow a Graduate PLUS loan.

Interest Rates

For the federal student loans for graduate students, Direct Unsubsidized Loans have the best interest rates, and Graduate PLUS loans have the 2nd lowest rates.  Private loan rates vary based on lender and credit scores. 

  • Review the federal loan interest rates table here.

Loan Origination Fees

The following loan origination fees will be deducted from federal loans with first disbursements between 10/1/2020 and 9/30/2024.

  • 1.057% for Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans
  • 4.228% for Federal Graduate PLUS Loans

6. Borrowing Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

First, accept/decline your direct loan offers and choose your loan amounts at Towson Online Services. If this is the first time you are borrowing a direct loan at TU:

If you need to change your loan amount after you accept it, submit a TU Loan Change Form from Forms & Online Services.

7. Borrowing Federal Graduate Student PLUS Loans

Follow the TU Graduate Student PLUS Loan Application instructions.

8. Check Your TU Email Account Every Week

It is extremely important to regularly check your TU student email. We only send most aid notices to your email account. You (the student) must read all aid emails and complete all aid tasks. You must notify your parents of any requests for parent data.

If you already have a non-TU email account that you check regularly, we strongly encourage you to forward all your TU email to that account. Follow these Outlook email forwarding instructions.

9. Check Your To Dos Every Week

New items may be added each week as we process your file. Please submit or request all To Do list items within two weeks of our first request.   

10. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Data Verification

If your To Dos list requests verification documents, promptly submit the worksheet and IRS tax documentation. Please act promptly! It can take over six weeks after you request tax data to receive the required documentation from the IRS.

Late documents often cause a $150 late payment fine and delay financial aid refunds.  

11. Will You Attend Full-time for the Fall and Spring Terms?

Full-time = at least 9 units per term for master's degrees and certificate programs, or 6 units per term for doctoral programs. 

  • If you will attend full-time  No action is required. We already based your aid offers on the assumption that you will attend full-time.
  • If you will attend part-time, you must submit a Course Load Change Form to notify us and prevent aid disbursement and rebate delays. Visit Forms & Online Services.   Review the Minimum Credit requirements for each aid program.  Federal loans require at least half-time status. 

12. Review/Update Your Housing Status

On your FAFSA, what housing status did you list for TU?

  • On-campus
  • Off-campus not with parents
  • Living with parents

If your TU housing status changes at any time, you must notify TU and MHEC.

To notify TU, you must submit a Housing Verification Form from Forms & Online Services.

If you have any state aid from MHEC, you must also update your housing status in their MDCAPS system.

13. Will You Receive any other Aid/Benefits that Are Not Listed on Your TU Aid Notification?

If yes, you must submit a Notice of Additional Resources Form from Forms & Online Services. Examples of aid include private scholarships and tuition waivers.

14. Are You Eligible for any Financial Need Adjustments that Could Increase Your Aid? 

See Special Financial Conditions.

15. Bill Payment, Aid Disbursement and Financial Aid Refunds   

The Student & University Billing Office will bill you for one term at a time. Your online eBill will include tuition, fees, and other miscellaneous charges for each term. If you will live on campus, it will also include room and board charges.

If your eBill does not list enough authorized aid to pay all of your charges, then you must make other arrangements to pay your full bill balance by your bill due date.

If your total term aid exceeds your term charges, the Student & University Billing Office will send you a refund. For more information about billing and payments, please visit the Student & University Billing Office.

16. Optional - Use of Funds form

When we disburse your aid, we will automatically use it to pay all of your TU charges for this term unless you choose to restrict which charges we can pay with your aid funds by submitting the optional TU Use of Funds formSee Forms & Online Services.