Graduate School Financial Considerations

Financing graduate school can be expensive, but the good news is that support does exist. When you begin your research there are some sources you should of which you should be aware:

  • Grants and Fellowships
  • Assistantships
  • Federal Aid

Each school will have its own resources. Check with the academic department you are interested in as well as the school’s Financial Aid office. 

Grants and Fellowships

Grants are usually awarded based on financial need, whereas fellowships are usually awarded based on merit. These awards are typically offered by foundations, corporations, government, education, and research institutions. You can find them in publications, through Internet searches, and by talking to department faculty and advanced students.


Assistantships can include being a Research Assistant (helping faculty with research projects), Teaching Assistant (helping faculty by lecturing and/or grading), Administrative Assistant, or Residence Assistant. They are service-awards that are often distributed based on merit and test scores. Most include a tuition waiver or a stipend, in addition to hourly pay. Assistantships are typically available through the department in which you study, but look in other offices at the school.

Federal Aid

There are many different types of federal aid for graduate school. Keep in mind that need-based aid usually does not cover a student’s full financial need. Most federal aid comes in the form of loans, with a few grants and service-related programs, depending on the field of study.

To get started on applying for federal aid, complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st.

Financial Support Resources

Below you will find a list of links to sites associated with financing your education.