Each graduate school operates differently. Please check with each school/program of interest to determine the type of financial assistance you could obtain. Generally, the three types of financial assistance related to graduate education are:
Graduate Assistantships / Teaching Assistantships / Research Assistantships
Most assistantships fall into three categories: Teaching Assistantships (TA's), Research Assistantships (RA's), and general Graduate Assistantships (GA's). TA's, as you well know, assist in teaching undergraduate courses. RA's assist professors who conduct research projects, and GA's work in a variety of departments on campus. You must apply for these jobs through the department, and the pay often includes a stipend/ tuition waver and an hourly wage.
Monetary Awards Including Grants, Fellowships, and Scholarships
This type of financial aid does not require repayment, but may require some type of commitment to the academic department. Departments often automatically consider applicants for these awards.
A few places to learn about monetary awards include:
- Graduate Scholarships (list compiled by the Bradley University Honors Program)
including the Caterpillar Fellowship, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation, Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Council of Graduate Schools
Provides some sources for fellowships and financial aid.
These are generally administered through banks, the government, or the educational institution. Regardless of whether you received loans for your undergraduate education, be sure to fill out a FAFSA (Free application for Federal Student Aid) application early in the Spring semester immediately prior to when you plan to matriculate. Sometimes graduate assistantship eligibility requires that the FAFSA be completed regardless of whether you plan to take out loans.