Is There Financial Aid for Grad School? [2024 Guide]

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Is there financial aid for grad school? This question is commonly asked by people who want to continue their education and earn a graduate degree.

Is There Financial Aid for Grad School

Financial aid refers to grants, scholarships, and other types of assistance that can help graduate students cover their educational expenses.

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This guide explores financial aid opportunities that students can pursue to reduce the upfront costs of graduate school.

Is There Financial Aid for Grad School?

Financial Aid for Grad School

Yes, there is financial aid for grad school. Many graduate students start their search for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines if you’re eligible for need-based financial aid from the federal government.

Completing the FAFSA for masters degree or Ph.D. is different than applying for financial aid for undergraduate studies. The federal government considers graduate students as independent, so you won’t need to provide information about your parents’ income. Also, graduate students can’t qualify for direct subsidized loans and typically don’t receive Pell Grants.

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Graduate students may be eligible, though, for several types of federal assistance, including grants, direct unsubsidized student loans, grad PLUS loans, and work-study programs.

Other common sources of financial aid for master’s degrees and doctorates include:

  • Internal funding. Many colleges offer funding for graduate students, such as graduate school scholarships and grants. You may also qualify for a research or teaching fellowship. These programs allow you to earn money in exchange for assisting faculty with research projects or teaching undergraduate classes.
  • External funding. Professional organizations and foundations frequently award competitive grants and scholarships to graduate students pursuing relevant research areas.
  • Employers. Some businesses offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs for employees.

Thoroughly researching financial aid opportunities may help you decrease the cost of your graduate education and save money.

How to Pay for Grad School

How can you get financial aid for graduate school? Paying for an advanced degree may seem challenging, but you could be eligible for financial assistance from your college and other organizations. Here are six popular sources of financial aid for masters degrees and PhDs.


People doing assistantships for grad school

Graduate programs often offer paid research and teaching fellowships. This financial aid typically includes a tuition waiver, health insurance, a monthly stipend, and other benefits.

In exchange, students work part-time for the program by teaching classes, leading laboratory sessions, conducting research, or handling administrative tasks. An assistantship also allows you to gain valuable work experience.


students awarded with Graduate school scholarships

Graduate school scholarships are financial awards given to students to help them pay for educational expenses. They’re typically awarded based on merit or financial need.

Many colleges offer internal scholarships for graduate students. You may also qualify for external scholarships from corporations, non-profit organizations, and professional associations.

Student Loans

Woman processing student loan for grad school

Many graduate students take out student loans to pay for their degrees. The federal government offers direct unsubsidized and direct grad PLUS loans for qualifying graduate students.

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You can also apply for student loans from private companies, though these loans typically have higher interest rates.


Man applying for grants for grad school

Like scholarships, grants are financial awards you don’t need to repay. The federal government offers several grants for eligible graduate students, such as the TEACH Grant for people who plan to work in education.

Many private organizations also award competitive grants to graduate students.

Work-Study Programs

graduate students qualified for work-study program

The federal government offers a work-study program for qualifying graduate students. Work-study enables you to earn money by working part-time for your college or a local organization.

Work-study jobs typically relate to your discipline, so you can gain hands-on experience while earning a paycheck.

Tuition Reimbursement

Man discussing tuition reimbursement programs with employer

Many companies have tuition reimbursement programs that help employees pay for their education.

It may be necessary to meet specific requirements to qualify for this benefit. For instance, some corporations only reimburse tuition if your degree relates to your job. You may also be required to maintain a certain GPA to receive aid.

How Much Does Grad School Cost?

Grad school students attending lecture

The cost of tuition can vary significantly between graduate programs, but you can expect to pay between $300 to $1,500 per credit hour when pursuing a master’s degree or PhD.

Along with tuition, you may be required to pay for other educational expenses. Many colleges have student fees, which are often not covered by tuition waivers. You may also pay for textbooks, laboratory supplies, distance learning fees, and other expenses. Financial aid might help you reduce these costs and make your degree more affordable.

Does FAFSA Give Grants for Graduate School?

graduate school students doing research works

Can you get FAFSA for grad school? Yes, graduate students can complete the FAFSA to see if they qualify for grants for graduate school.

The federal government offers fewer grants and scholarships for graduate students than undergraduates. But you may be eligible for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant if you plan to become a teacher after graduation. Additionally, you might qualify to receive a federal Pell Grant if you enroll in a graduate-level teacher certification program.

Does FAFSA Cover Masters Degree?

master's degree student completing his FAFSA application online

If you plan to pursue a masters degree, you can complete the FAFSA to see if you qualify for government aid. The federal government offers several types of assistance for masters students. Some cater to specific groups, such as financial aid for single mom programs.

You may be eligible for the federal work-study program. Qualifying students get hired to work on campus or for community organizations related to their degree. For example, a student pursuing a masters degree in library science might get paid to work in the college library.

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Additionally, the federal government offers direct unsubsidized and grad PLUS loans for graduate students. Students are required to repay these loans with interest after graduation, but they typically have lower interest rates than private loans.

Financial Aid for Graduate School

student earning her masters degree

Many aspiring graduate students are wondering, is it hard to get into grad school? Common hurdles you’ll encounter include meeting GPA and other test requirements, asking for letters of recommendation, and how to write a personal statement for grad school. On top of that, applicants worry about the cost of earning a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Financial aid can alleviate these financial concerns by helping students cover the cost of their tuition, textbooks, and other educational expenses. You can explore numerous types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, student loans, and teaching assistantships. Applying widely for multiple funding sources could increase the likelihood that you’ll receive financial assistance.

You can start your search by exploring accredited universities, such as graduate schools with low GPA requirements or those that do not require recommendation letters, and investigate their financial aid offerings.

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Brianna Anderson
Brianna has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include careers and professional development, digital pedagogy, and first-year writing.