Financial Aid Basics: Graduate Students

The cost of financing a graduate education can be a real challenge for many students. Multiple sources of funding are available and range from government agencies, employers and foundations to academic departments and schools. Graduate financial assistance can be divided into three broad categories:

  1. Federal Aid – funding awarded by Student Financial Services, includes loans and Federal Work Study.
  2. Grants, Scholarships and Fellowships – funding awarded by your individual department that does not need to be repaid.
  3. Earnings – wages paid for research, teaching or other work performed during enrollment.

First Stop: Your Academic Department

Your first stop should be the office of your individual academic department. Departments can provide you with information about fellowships, research and teaching assistantships and external funding sources. Most Ph.D. candidates and some Masters students obtain enough funding from these sources to cover all expenses.

Next Stop: Your Financial Aid Office

If you do not qualify for enough aid through your department to cover all your costs, you may want to consider applying for federal aid. The process for applying depends on your school as some schools have their own financial aid offices. See Applying for Aid to learn about application requirements and instructions.