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O’Brien Center for Student Success

Financing Your Graduate Education

Tips for Financing Graduate Education

  • Research financial assistance options early.
  • Speak with financial aid office at institutions you are applying to and to current students in the programs.
  • Determine requirements, procedures, and deadline for assistantships and work study.
  • FAFSA is often required. (As a graduate student, your family’s income will no longer be used to calculate federal aid).
  • Consider your needs and the advantages and disadvantages of working during graduate school.  Working and studying part-time may be an option for some programs.  Check with the individual programs you are applying to for your options to work and study simultaneously.
Several types of assistantships may be available via application or as part of financial aid package:
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) – present lectures, grade papers and exams, tutor students and provide other course related assistance.
  • Research Assistant (RA) – work with professors on their research.
  • Graduate Fellow or Graduate Assistant – work at administrative offices such as academic advising or admissions.
  • Residential Assistants – work in university housing.
All of the above positions may be limited in number and PhD candidates may have preference.
  • Departmental Fellowships/Scholarships may also be available. These awards may or may not require the student to work in return for funding, may pay a stipend, and may include tuition and health coverage.