Sources of Financial Aid

Teaching or Research Assistantship

Faculty members and departments usually have available a number of assistantships that provide a tuition waiver or stipend in exchange for your work.

  • Teaching assistants do a lot of the basic work for professors, such as teaching some classes, grading papers, etc. In fact, if you've already been to college, you're no doubt aware of just how much TA's do. In many entry level courses, TA's do the bulk of the teaching, freeing up professors to devote themselves to the more advanced classes. The position is paid, and usually comes with reduced, and sometimes free, tuition.
  • Research assistant positions are similar to TA's, but instead of assisting in the classroom RA's do their work in laboratories and libraries on research and experimentation projects.
  • You'll want to contact the university you hope to do your graduate work at as early as possible to find out what TA and RA positions they offer, and how to apply for them.

Tuition Reduction

Many grad schools offer tuition reductions for students with excellent undergraduate academic achievements. These vary greatly from school to school, so you'll want to make your inquiries early.


These usually come from the government or public interest groups, such as foundations. They are highly selective, but very generous, often covering all the costs of earning your postgraduate degree, including tuition and living expenses. Government agencies like that National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation as well as foundations like Fulbright and Rhodes sponsor fellowships.

  • Many universities sponsor fellowships. You should ask about financial support options
  • Fellowships are competitive, so if you've got a record of accomplishment in your field of study, and a record of leadership and community service, you should consider applying for a fellowship.


Federal loans are also available for graduate study. Loans can be made to graduate students under the Stafford, Perkins and Grad PLUS programs.

Employer Benefits

Employers are the fastest-growing sources of free money for school. Check with your employer on education benefits.