Financial aid is available in the form of fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, and loans. Most students in professional degree programs will probably have to borrow money, but this is an investment in your own future. In doctoral programs, most students have the opportunity to work as teaching or research assistantships. Try these websites for detailed financial aid information: and


National Fellowships

National fellowships are available from public and private agencies.

Here are some major sources of fellowships:

  • American Association of University Women
  • Doctoral Fellowship in Sociology (American Sociological Association)
  • The National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships
  • The Mellon Fellowships in the Humanities
  • The Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in humanities and social
  • MARC Predoctoral Fellowship Program (Minority Access to 
  • Research Centers) Leading to a Ph.D in Biomedical Science
  • Office of Naval Research Graduate Fellowships (Science)
  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships For Minorities
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Note: Because of the competitiveness of these fellowships, one has to start planning early to meet the expectations of the committees who make these awards.

While it is always worthwhile trying for such awards, in some cases you may have a better chance of selection after you are in graduate school. If you re-apply during your graduate school years, it will demonstrate your determination and commitment.

University Fellowships

Most universities will award fellowships on the basis of merit and department recommendation. These usually cover tuition and provide a stipend. You will learn if you’ve been awarded a fellowship when you receive your letter of acceptance.


These are usually sponsored by the institution to which you are applying. Deadlines for applying for assistantships are often earlier than for normal admission. In some cases, graduate schools limit the number of acceptances they offer to the number of candidates they can support through assistantships. If you are awarded an assistantship you can incur minimal debts for your graduate work.

Teaching Assistantships

These usually provide full or partial tuition benefits for teaching undergraduate courses, grading papers, compiling bibliographies, leading discussion sections, or monitoring laboratories. This is the major way for students considering teaching careers to gain experience.

Research Assistantships

These are available in the sciences. Students assist faculty with their research projects and receive tuition benefits and frequently a stipend for living expenses.


Sources of Federal Financial Aid

To apply for these, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Aid is available through:

  • Federal Work Study (FWS) – Through these jobs, you can earn money toward your expenses.
  • Federal Perkins Loans – These are low interest rates loans made by colleges to students.
  • Federal Stafford Loans - These are low interest loans made to you by a lender such as a credit union or bank
  • Federal Supplemental Loans (SLS) – These are variable interest rate loans made to you by a lender.

Identifying Other Sources

Step 1: The best sources of information on financial aid are the universities you are hoping to attend. After reviewing information in the catalog, contact the Financial Aid Office and the department to which you hope to be accepted.

Find out:

  • what is available.
  • what forms you have to submit
  • when are the deadlines for submitting applications.

Step 2: Submit financial aid applications early. Deadlines are often earlier than application deadlines.

Some reminders:

  • Record your name the same way on all forms. Be sure that your date of birth and social security number are correct. This will avoid any confusion with candidates who have similar names or if papers are filed by social security number.
  • Obtain copies of your income tax statement
  • Complete all required forms legibly and accurately.
  • Make copies of all forms that you submit.

Step 3: When applying for financial aid provided by graduate or professional schools and private scholarship programs, you may be asked to complete the GAPSFAS (Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service) forms. There is a fee for this service.

GAPSFAS provides:

  • the centralized processing of your application to sources of student financial aid.
  • a thorough analysis of your financial situation.
  • a report listing the schools to which your information was sent.

Pick up your copy of this form and an information bulletin in the Drew Financial Assistance Office.