The two big application expenses are paying for the GRE or similar exam, and application fees. The cost of the GRE is $200 per exam. Your results for that test are good for five years. On top of
that, each application costs between $60 and $100 in fees.
You may be eligible for need-based assistance from both the financial aid office and the Dean's office for certain application expenses - make sure to ask them both!
Financial Aid Applications
All graduate schools require the FAFSA, which you should be familiar with! Some schools require the CSS PROFILE, a Need Access Application, or a School Specific Application, and some schools may even want your parents’ information. Stay on top of your schools’ application requirements and deadlines by checking their websites and contacting them with questions!
Funding Doctoral Level Grad School
PhD programs are typically more generous than Masters, MBAs, or J.D.s, but only if they really want you to attend. You should never sign up for a Ph.D. program without as much funding as possible! If you don’t get funding from any schools, wait a year and try again.
Always examine your funding package closely. Good packages for PhDs will include a stipend for living, plus a fellowship that covers most of your tuition and fees. Usually this will come with the stipulation that you have to spend some of your years working as a teaching assistant or researcher. Excellent packages will include summer funding or other perks.
Paying for Masters/J.D./Health Professions Graduate School
Most other graduate programs are less generous than Ph.D. programs or undergraduate schools. The primary financial aid offered is loans.
- Think about taking a few years off to work prior to committing to graduate school full-time
- Expect to balance loans and part-time work while you’re in school
- Find a job that will provide some type of tuition to help you pay for school while you go part-time
- Stay on top of the loan amount you’re borrowing and use repayment calculators and estimators to determine if you’re eligible for lower repayment plans or even loan forgiveness
The two main types of loans you’ll be faced with in grad school are Federal Direct Unsubsidized, meaning the interest starts accruing (and can be paid down) right away, and a Graduate PLUS loan. Your financial aid office is the best resource to ask about these.
Peterson’s: Financial Aid for Graduate School
Cornell University Graduate School Fellowship Notebook
National Science Foundation
Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs