Financial Aid for Grad School: How to Get Funding

If you’re returning to school at the graduate level, the journey back may also mean engaging once again with financial aid. If it’s been a few years, the process may seem complex and challenging, but know that ample resources are available at Azusa Pacific University to help —some specific to graduate students.

Researching all the options for financial aid for grad school—scholarships and grants included—is the first step toward furthering your education without the financial burden.

FAFSA for Grad Students

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available to graduate students. The application process is similar, but you’ll be offered different loan options as a graduate student. Here’s what to know before you fill out your FAFSA:

  • You’re independent now. Your dependency status is now considered independent regardless of your age or if you still live with your parents.
  • You won’t get direct subsidized loans. These loans are only for undergraduate students.
  • You may be able to get unsubsidized loans. Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in federal unsubsidized loans.
  • You can fund all of your education with a PLUS loan. As long as you’re a part-time student (you’re taking at least four credits per semester, though some APU programs might require more) and don’t have glaring issues on your credit report, you can apply for a grad PLUS loan. This covers your tuition costs minus any other financial aid you receive, and the US Department of Education is your lender.

Tuition Discounts

If you’re an APU alum, you may be able to receive tuition discounts toward graduate studies in the following fields:

  • Behavioral and Applied Sciences
  • Business and Management
  • Education
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Nursing
  • Seminary

Additionally, select partners can receive an APU discount for themselves or family members. For example, the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences gives eligible law enforcement employees, their spouses, and their dependents (up to age 26) a 15 percent discount on tuition.

Scholarships for Graduate Students

Expect scholarships and fellowships to be more competitive at the graduate level. Graduate scholarships are available through APU and outside sources. To apply for an APU-specific scholarship, talk with the Student Services Center to see which aid you qualify for within your field of study.

APU also connects you to related graduate scholarships through its scholarship resource page. Additionally, you can research graduate scholarship and fellowship opportunities through online searches or specific financial aid search tools, like

Grants for Your Specific Field

Grants are slightly different than scholarships, but they also don’t need to be repaid if you meet all of the requirements. Popular grant options include:

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant: You can earn up to $4,000 in grant funding if you agree to teach full-time for four years in a low-income area or high-need field.
  • Cal Grants: These grants are for eligible teacher education programs. You must have received at least one payment in the Cal Grant A or B program as an undergraduate to qualify.
  • Federal Pell Grant: You may be eligible for this grant if you’re pursuing your first teaching credential and have demonstrated financial need.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: You could receive $600 in supplemental aid based on financial need; this grant isn’t degree-specific.

Aid for Military-Connected Students

If you’re a military-connected student, you may have access to aid options. Visit APU’s Office of Military and Veteran Education Benefits. This office aims to get military-connected students as much aid as possible, especially if you served in the military yourself. You might be eligible for a number of different aid options, including:

  • Veteran benefits
  • Active duty tuition assistance benefits
  • Leave of absence benefits
  • Reserve officers’ training corps scholarships

APU Makes Graduate Funding Possible

APU works hard to equip graduate students with the aid they need so they can reach their degree goals without financial stress getting in the way. Talk with APU’s Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services about financial aid for grad school to see how many options you have available to you.