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There are options for financial help for graduate study, but obtaining those demands research, persistence, and follow-up from the student.

Start with your program

The best places to look for financial aid are the universities that you are applying at. Each university has its own resources and procedures for distributing aid. Ask your potential program department about opportunities for assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships. You can also contact Financial Aid about work-study, student loans, and other assistance options.

Many schools determine how aid is distributed though needs analysis. Check with each school's financial aid office for the necessary forms and procedures for that specific institution. Make sure that you are aware of all of the deadline dates.

Types of aid

  • Grants and fellowships. These awards do not require any service in return. This type of aid is usually given to students who have the greatest needs. Fellowships are usually awarded based on academic merit or by some kind of prestigious award.
  • Research and teaching assistantships. These are service-awards that require you to work (by having teaching duties or through research) 10-20 hours a week. These can vary in the time commitment you make and pay scale.
  • Subsidized loans. You may qualify for a variety of federal and other loan programs. Make sure to check with the financial aid offices at the universities of your choice for information about what your options are. Deadlines can be as late as February or March, so you will need to get your forms in as early as possible.