Financing Your Graduate School Education

Individual Using CalculatorMoney for graduate study comes in a variety of forms. Keep in mind that deadlines for financial aid applications are often earlier than regular admission deadlines, so be sure to research your options well in advance.

There are two primary types of financial aid:

  • Need-based aid determines financial need by calculating the difference between total educational costs and your financial resources. Need-based financial aid includes work-study programs; private, federal and state loans; and grants and fellowships.
  • Merit-based aid is awarded on the basis of academic achievement, talent, or promise. Forms of merit-based aid include:
    • Assistantships: these are the most common type of graduate financial assistance, and are usually awarded in the form of teaching, research, or graduate assignments. Contacting your chosen schools EARLY to find out about these opportunities is strongly recommended.
    • Grants and Fellowships: Grants are sums of money awarded for specific activities on a project basis. The funding may come from a variety of sources, including government agencies, corporations, foundations, or the institution.

Scholarships & Fellowships Information

Explore the Dean of the College External Scholarships page to learn more about endorsed and self apply scholarships and fellowships: The Office of External Scholarships, 105 Scott Hall, has a number of books that provide information on grant and fellowship sources. Skillman Library also provides such resources. Petersons: Scholarships, Grants, & Prizes is available for reference in Career Services (201 Hogg Hall).

Additional Resources Finance Your Study
Get advice for financing your graduate education and find information on various types of fellowships for your graduate study.

GRANTS.GOV is your place to FIND and APPLY for federal grants. The Scholarship Search
Access information to help you understand what kinds of scholarships may be available to you, how to find them, and what you can do to strengthen your applications.

Michigan State University Libraries – Graduate, Scholarships, Fellowships, & Loans Extensive list of scholarships, fellowships, and loans specifically for graduate students.

Whittier College
Access a selected list of the most prestigious fellowships, scholarships, and grants, as well as an online collection of other national fellowship and grant opportunities.

Use the right-hand menu to access the “Other Scholarships” resources from  the Scholarships & Fellowships page to access additional resources for identifying self-apply opportunities.​

How to Spot and Avoid Scholarship Scams
Read this informative article by Aimee O’Driscoll of regarding how to safely navigate the scholarship search and application process, including which key “red flags” to avoid.

Financial Aid Resources

Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA)
Complete the FAFSA form to apply for federal and state aid, including grants and loans, depending on financial need.

Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Scholarships & Financial Aid
A collection of articles that will help you clarify your options and provide advice for pursuing graduate school financial aid, whether it comes in the form of graduate scholarships, assistantships, loans, fellowships, or work for a professor.

Find everything from scholarships and loans to grants, graduate school fellowships, education tax benefits, and tuition payment plans.

Receive email alerts of scholarships and loans that match your needs using this free service.​​