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Funding Graduate School

One of the biggest challenges related to grad school is figuring out how to pay for it.  Funding an advanced degree is quite different from undergrad. Below you will find information regarding types of aid available for grad study and how to find out about funding opportunities.

It is vital that you complete a FAFSA application each year by deadline

Start talking to prospective programs about merit and need-based opportunities as soon as possible

It is never too soon to research scholarships

Loans (through banks, the government or the educational institution)

  • Federal loans are typically the most common funding source for graduate students

Merit based monetary awards, including grants, fellowships and scholarships - Learn about available merit -based opportunities through your prospective program

  • Tuition scholarships or waivers - reduce or fully cover tuition
  • Fellowships - support for college costs, typically with no payback, provided by the institution
  • External grants and funding – offered by private foundation or federal agency

Graduate Student Employment – Learn about available merit and need-based opportunities through your prospective program

  • Merit-based Teaching Assistantships: Can assist with payment of your registration fees and medical insurance, tuition and/or room and board.  Funded by departmental budgets in order to assist faculty with undergraduate courses/grading.
  • Merit-based Graduate Student Research Assistantships: Can assist with payment of your registration fees and medical insurance.  Typically funded by a faculty advisor’s research grant
  • Student Assistant appointments: Readerships, special projects.  Typically do not include fee remission

Department/Campus Fellowships – Institutional

Availability and packages will vary by institution and department

Fellowship Types:

  • Central Fellowship Competition: Recruitment competition for incoming graduate students.  Considered on the basis of information provided in the application.
  • Continuing Student Fellowships: Nominated by the academic department for a year of central support, usual in the dissertation research and writing stages.
  • Departmental Fellowships: Departments may offer one-quarter or partial support fellowships, such as the payment of non-resident tuition.  They may also run internal competitions for travel or research grants.

Need-based Assistantships

  • Graduate Assistantships - 10-20 hours work/week; typically pay full or partial tuition and stipend 
  • Teaching Assistantships - teaching, recitation courses and/or assisting a professor with office hours, ½ time
  • Research Assistantships - assisting ongoing research; can lead to own research project
  • Residence Assistantships - room and board and a stipend in a college residence hall

Extramural Funding – Sources that exist independent of the program or school attended

Start searching for extramural funding sources as an undergraduate!

Build funding searching and proposal writing time into your school schedule now!

Free internet scholarship and fellowship search engines:



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