Financial Aid comes in a variety of forms. Consult the graduate or professional school for specific options related to your program and eligibility. Below are several common sources:
Fellowships are monetary awards given on the basis of scholastic record. The funds are generated either from an institution's own endowment of current income or sponsored by a private foundation, industry or the government. They generally pay for all your tuition and books, plus give you an annual amount to live in. These may be given for the length of your program or for one year - be sure to check the length of the fellowship.
These are sometimes called TAs (teaching assistantships), RAs (research assistantships), GAs (graduate assistantships) or PAs (project assistantships). Individual departments award assistantships. You work part time while pursuing your studies. A stipend serves as remuneration and sometimes tuition remission is granted. Inquire within the departments.
Residence hall directors or graduate resident assistants work in the residence halls while pursuing their graduate studies. Usually, compensation includes tuition remission, a stipend and housing. Some programs offer credit.
Long Term Educational Loans
Loans are funds that need to be repaid that come from the federal government, state government, the college/university or a private agency. They may be need based or non-need based. Examples are Stafford Loans, Federal Perkin Loans or Federal Direct Loans. If you need to postpone the payment of your loans, you may apply for deferment for many reasons. Common deferments include: in school half time or more, unemployment, economic hardship, Peace Corps, teacher in a teacher shortage area, etc. Check with the financial aid office or your loan servicer for more information, forms and the maximum length of each deferment.
Grants are funds that do not need to be repaid. Pell grants are not available at the graduate level. Colleges/Universities may award grant money to help students in financial need.
Scholarships are also funds that do not need to be repaid. These are given for reasons such as financial need, academic ability, athletic ability or clubs/affiliations you or your parents are involved in (e.g., religious affiliations, military service, Boy Scouts, etc.)
Furthering your career sometimes means you need to further your education. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for staff members to take approved, work-related courses or certificates so that they may stay in their current position or advance within the company. This funding does not usually need to be repaid, but a certain tenure of employ is expected. Check with your employer to see what their guidelines are.