Financing Graduate School
Direct and Indirect Costs
The direct costs of attending graduate school include tuition and fees and sometimes health insurance. The indirect costs include things like room, board, books and supplies, travel, loan fees, and personal expenses. This handout provides a comparison for different types of programs, costs associated, and contributions expected from students.
Funding is often offered for many doctoral programs; in exchange, students are often required to complete teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, and trainee-ships. Internal funding opportunities generally provide tuition support and health insurance in addition to a stipend for living expenses. Master’s programs are less likely to offer the same level of financial support as doctoral programs.
External grants and awards can sometimes provide better funding and support than internal assistantships and fellowships offered. A list of nationally competitive external fellowships can be found on Yale’s Fellowship and Funding page. The following sites also have lists of external funding that students can explore: Scholarships.com, Fastweb!, ProFellow, Grants.gov, Peterson’s, Grantwatch.com, and MSU’s Grants for Individuals.
Need-Based Funding and Loans
Financial aid is also available through a school’s office of scholarships and student aid (names of the office may vary) in the form of need-based loans or grants, including Federal Stafford Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for either.
You must be sure to pay attention to all deadlines when applying for any kind of financial aid especially because they can be earlier than each school’s application due dates. Many forms of aid require elements in their application packets like letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores that require time to prepare. Begin all application processes well in advance of their due dates!