Graduate school funding is also unique when compared to the undergraduate funding process,
although some of the resources available to students in BA and BS degree programs may also be
open to those studying for advanced degrees.
Tuition rates and fees for advanced degrees often differ from those charged to undergraduates, even at the same university. In some cases, such as medical school, the costs are among the highest for all higher education programs. In other cases, especially in the sciences and humanities, graduate students are an elite group, sought after by top programs and in effect paid to study through tuition waivers and stipends for living expenses.
Scholarships and Grants
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On the federal level, there are also differences in funding for advanced degree students. Graduate students are not eligible for many federal grants, but they may be able to receive up to $20,500 per year in Stafford loans (up to $38,500 for medical students).
Just as undergraduates apply for federal funding opportunities by completing the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), students in post-baccalaureate programs should also begin by filing the FAFSA (available at www.fafsa.ed.gov)
Some schools use the results to distribute institutional aid as well, so even if you do not plan on applying for a Stafford loan, it is still a good idea to complete the FAFSA every year.
For many students, federal financial aid will not cover all expenses. If this is the case, you may want to look into alternative loans.
Lenders offer a number of alternative loan programs. For more information regarding alternative loans and to locate one that may be right for you, please fill out our Survey / Questionnaire.
Like undergraduates, students in post-graduate programs are often eligible for scholarships and grants that do not have to be repaid. These may be offered by the university itself or by alumni, community, and professional associations. Most graduate-level scholarships are administered not by university financial aid offices but by individual programs to which students apply. Students should ask for information about procedures for awarding grants, including stipends for living expenses, from program admissions officers.
Some graduate students also have the opportunity to apply for assistantships for work as research or teaching assistants to faculty members. Assistantships frequently provide more funding than undergraduate work-study programs, as well as valuable experience and the opportunity to build a resume and contacts in the field you hope to enter.
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