Graduate School Funding
Do you wonder how you’re going to pay your way through a graduate program?
Funding is a very important factor when considering graduate studies. Most students are not aware of the full cost of a graduate program, or about the extensive resources available to help financially support you.
Did You Know...
- Many university departments will fund your studies throughout your program.
- Many scholarships and fellowships are designed specifically for graduate studies.
- Financial aid is available for graduate studies.
- According to the Council of Graduate Schools, in 2007-08 the annual total price of master’s degree programs at public universities was $28,375, and $38,665 at private universities. In 2008-09, the annual price of doctorate programs was $32,966 at public universities, and $46,029 at private universities.
- Master's degree programs are much less likely to offer department financial support than doctorate programs.
Did you know that many programs will pay your graduate study costs? Department funding is used to entice highly competitive candidates to accept the university’s invitation to enroll thereby strengthening their program. In turn, the funding provides students the freedom to focus the next five or so years on their studies, research and departmental responsibilities without the distraction of work outside the department. Department support may include:
- tuition assistance/reimbursement
- residential tuition entitlement (in-state tuition rates)
- teaching/research assistantships
- summer research funding
- travel and conference grants
Many doctorate programs make a great effort to financially support their students throughout the PhD program. Master’s degree students, on the other hand, may receive little or no departmental financial assistance and thus depend more heavily on part-time or full-time jobs, government grants and student loans.
The following are general descriptions of typical department roles provided to graduate students for funding and gaining teaching/research experience, which in turn help the department with the teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate level. For an example of compensation rates at UT Austin, visit the UT Graduate School.
Teaching Assistantships (TA): Teaching Assistants teach discussion sections, hold office hours to meet with undergraduate students and grade exams or papers for professors and instructors who teach courses with large enrollments. The amount of TA stipends differ widely, even across departments at the same university. As an example of TA stipends, TAs in the UT Government Department earned between $11,800-13,000 for a nine-month appointment in addition to tuition assistance in the 2005-2006 academic year.
Graduate Research Assistants (GRA): Graduate Research Assistants are generally junior graduate students who work with faculty on academic research projects
Assistant Instructors (AI): Assistant Instructors may serve as the instructor of record for assigned instructional duties. In addition, AIs may be assigned to hold office hours, to evaluate student work and to perform other academic duties. AI positions are generally less available than TA positions; AI positions may be more competitive and are awarded to senior graduate students.
So, what financial aid options will you have as a graduate student to help pay for your degree when department funding is not available? The most common forms of graduate student aid are grants, loans, scholarships, fellowships, work-study and financial aid.
Search for Funding
You can begin using your research skills before you begin graduate school by researching funding options online. The largest, free funding search engine is FastWEB, which provides information on scholarships and loans. CollegeBoard also provides a free scholarship search and financial aid planning tools to help you plan for graduate school. CollegeNET MACH25 also provides a scholarship finder database.
Universities partner with organizations, government agencies and work independently to offer students a variety of fellowships for graduate study. You can review the fellowships offered by the university of interest to you at the university or department’s website. Check out UT fellowship opportunities or your department for more information.
The following are examples of fellowships offered at UT Austin.
Graduate School Diversity Recruitment Fellowship Program
McNair Scholars Graduate School Fellowship Program
South Texas Graduate School Fellowship Program
West Texas Graduate School Fellowship Program
Graduate School Diversity Mentoring Fellowship Program
University Continuing Fellowship
Graduate School Fellowship
David Bruton, Jr. Graduate School Fellowship
Cullen Trust Student Endowment Fellowship
Bess Heflin Fellowship
Houston Endowment President’s Excellence Scholarships
D. Hutchison Student Endowment Fellowship
William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship
W. Gordon Whaley Fellowship
The College of Liberal Arts partners with organizations and government agencies to help students apply for a variety of scholarships to fund graduate study. Contact Dr. Larry Carver, Honors Program Director, if you are interested in applying to one of the programs below.
The Rhodes Scholarship & Marshall Scholarship: The Rhodes and British Marshall scholarships fund two full years of graduate study leading to a degree in Great Britain. In the past these awards have taken UT students to Oxford, Cambridge and other British universities. A university committee interviews candidates for both scholarships; you must have university endorsement to apply for these scholarships.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship: The Gates Program offers a substantial number of scholarships for postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. Students must apply to Cambridge while simultaneously applying to the Gates Foundation.
The Churchill Scholarship: The Winston Churchill Foundation offers up to twelve scholarships nationwide for students in the sciences to study one year at Cambridge University's Churchill College. UT may nominate two students for this competition. If you plan to study a liberal arts degree, this scholarship would be applicable to the Masters in Philosophy degree in geography.
The George J. Mitchell Scholarship: The Mitchell Scholarship enables students to attend institutions of higher learning in Ireland, including the seven universities in the Republic of Ireland and the two universities in Northern Ireland, for one academic year of graduate study.
The Jacob K. Javits Fellowship: The Javits provides funding for students seeking advanced degrees in selected fields of the arts, humanities and social sciences.
The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship: The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship is an extraordinary opportunity for students who are planning to attend graduate or professional school. Thirty scholarships are awarded each year, and the scholarships provide up to $50,000 a year for up to six years. UT Austin may nominate two candidates.
The Beinecke Scholarship: The University may submit one candidate a year for this scholarship, which provides a $32,000 stipend for students pursuing graduate work in the humanities and fine arts. Students apply as juniors.
The Truman Scholarship: The Truman Scholarship is a $30,000 merit-based grant awarded to undergraduate students who wish to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in government, the nonprofit sector or elsewhere in public service. Students apply as juniors.
Financial Aid (FAFSA)
If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, you can apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid programs to help fund your graduate study. For UT information, please visit the Office of Student Financial Services.
Funding for Your Research
Once you are in graduate school, are you curious about how you will fund your research and studies? Check out the Finding Funding - A Brief Guide for funding resources used by faculty and current graduate students for a glimpse into resources you too will be able to use.