Financial Aid for Graduate School

Each graduate school, graduate program and/or type of assistantship may have different application deadlines. Many graduate schools use the Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service (GAPSFAS) to select graduate students who need financial assistance. The GAPSFAS application is available at any graduate school financial aid department.



  • A stipend. An outright grant of money for which you may not be required to perform work or services.
  • Awarded on the basis of academic potential, not financial need.
  • The amount of stipend varies from several hundred to several thousand dollars, some part of which may be taxed.
  • Institutional: Awarded by universities directly to students.
  • Government: Sponsors a number of different types of fellowships. Apply through individual universities.
  • Private grants: Sponsored by private foundations, organizations, businesses and industries. Some are awarded in specific areas or to specific types of students. Contact organizations directly.


  • An assistantship provides financial assistance in return for service or work performed for the university.
  • The amount varies from a full- or partial-tuition waiver and/or a sum of money each month.
  • Some universities may require graduate assistants to take a reduced course load.
Types of assistantships
  • Teaching Assistantships: You provide the university with a specified amount of undergraduate teaching while you attend school. Advanced students may teach labs, dissertation sections or basic courses in their fields. Less advanced students may grade papers, proctor exams, prepare bibliographies or assist in labs.
  • Research Assistantships: Similar to above, except you do research under the supervision of graduate faculty.
  • Administrative Assistantship: You are assigned to work in an administrative office on campus.
  • Residence hall, student personnel and counseling assistantships: Frequently given to students in fields such as psychology, student personnel or social work.

Other Sources

  • Loans: applied through banks, government agencies, or in some cases, special loan funds at universities.
  • Military: Support for graduate or professional education in exchange for future military service.
  • Employment: It is difficult to manage full-time work and full-time graduate study. Students usually do one or the other part-time.