Fellowships –> Fellowships generally provide payment of tuition and a stipend for living expenses. Institutional fellowships are awarded either by departments or by a central fellowship office in an institution. Most are based solely on academic merit, although there may be some institutional awards that are intended for certain people, like children of veterans or people in a certain field of study. Even restricted fellowships generally involve some academic merit. Institutions that are actively recruiting students from populations underrepresented in their student body may have special fellowship programs to attract them.
Some institutions guarantee a certain number of years of financial support for the most promising graduate students. Others will not guarantee support but may give reasonable assurance that teaching or research appointments will be available throughout the student’s time in graduate school.
Some of the major portable fellowship programs are listed elsewhere on this web page. Since these awards attract applicants across the country, they are highly competitive.
Teaching Assistantships –> Teaching assistantships usually involve leading a discussion section, supervising a laboratory, grading papers, and meeting with students. The typical appointment involves working approximately 20 hours a week. A teaching assistant helps an institution teach its undergraduate students in return for a salary (and sometimes fee or tuition remission) that helps support his/her own graduate studies.
Research Assistantships –> Research assistantships are found especially in science and engineering fields. They are engaged in laboratories to assist faculty in research projects. Advanced students working on their theses or dissertations are often being supported by stipends to do their own individual projects. Many institutions also waive or reduce tuition for teaching and research assistants.
Loans –> Loans are the easiest to obtain and are generally provided to need-based students. The interest rate varies with each institution and depends on the creditworthiness of the student, co-borrowers and or guarantors. Some institutions offer a moratorium on interest till the student completes his or her education.
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