Graduate and professional school can be expensive undertakings. Whether you complete your course of study with a little bit of debt or a lot depends (usually) on the amount of financial aid you are able to secure. Graduate programs offer funding opportunities that are usually not available to undergraduates. The first step toward investigating (and acquiring) assistance is to understand the different forms of financial aid available to graduate students.


Funding, in the form of tuition waiver or stipend, provided to students through part-time academic employment at the institution they will be attending. Contact the graduate school (or program) directly to inquire about opportunities.

  • May be research, teaching or administrative.
    • Institution-specific processes, which often entails applying to specific professors, departments or offices.
  • In some fields, assistantships can cover the entire cost of tuition and provide a living stipend.


Funding to enable a student to conduct research, often awarded on the basis of academic excellence. Many fellowships are school-specific (institutional) though there are some highly competitive national fellowships (portable) that can be applied at any number of graduate programs. Learn about different fellowship opportunities.

For additional information, visit:


Need-based awards funded by government, universities or private sector; money does not have to be repaid.

  • Eligibility varies widely, from course of study, to gender, to ethnicity, etc. Can be school-specific as well.
  • Learn more about grants for graduate study.

Federal Assistance and Loans

Most money to be repaid following graduation.

  • Applicants may complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • To learn more about completing the FAFSA for graduate studies, see this website.
  • In programs where earning potential is expected to be high, such as business administration, law and medicine, loans are often the only option offered.


Often very specific in nature, whether they are school-focused or focused on a certain demographic. Consider looking for ideas at:

Additional Scholarship Opportunities

Additional scholarship, grant and fellowship resources for minority and diversity groups: