Yes, Financial Aid for Graduate School Is Available

by Ashley Eneriz

Pursuing a graduate degree is a worthwhile investment that can help secure your career path and potentially lead to increased earnings.

However, while many students know that a graduate degree is a necessary step for their desired career field, it can be overwhelming to think about paying for the degree. Fortunately, financial aid for graduate school does exist.

“I think that there is a fear of not being able to afford a graduate program,” says Michelle Johnson, executive director of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services at Azusa Pacific University. “While, yes, there is a significant cost, there are so many financial aid options that I would encourage a student not to be afraid, but instead to rely on the help of their Student Account Counselor. Students aren’t in this alone.”

How Financial Aid for Graduate School Is Different

As an undergraduate student, you were likely presented a financial aid package that included all scholarship awards and loan options based off of your (and your parents’) financial information. As a graduate student, you can typically qualify for federal unsubsidized loans by filing independently through FAFSA—but you’re essentially on your own to find scholarships and other aid, like fellowships or assistantships.

APU doesn’t want graduate students to navigate the tricky waters of paying for college on their own, which is why the university employs a number of Student Account Counselors. These professionals help graduate students connect with the scholarships, fellowships, and loans that fit their unique degree and financial situation. The goal is to help students afford their degree while making wise financial decisions.

Types of Graduate Aid Available

There are several types of financial aid for graduate school available to APU students. Here are just a few:

  • Scholarships and Fellowships: Each graduate program has program-specific aid available, from stipend assistantships for clinical psychology graduate students to scholarships for those individuals studying music. These institutional scholarships are offered exclusively to APU students, and graduate students can apply for scholarship opportunities outside of the university, as well.
  • Grants: Cal Grants are available to students who received the funding as an undergraduate and are enrolling in a teacher education program. Federal Pell Grants are available to graduate students who are pursuing their first teaching credential, and the TEACH Grant is awarded to select students pursuing teaching and special education degrees.
  • Loans: Master’s and doctoral students are able to borrow up to $20,500 in federal unsubsidized loans.
  • Tuition Discounts: Select APU alumni may receive a tuition discount when they enroll in a graduate program. For example, APU’s School of Business and Management offers a 15 percent tuition discount for APU graduates. Other tuition discounts are also available in partnership with certain city employees.
  • Military and Veteran Benefits: APU is a military-friendly college, and offers benefits and flexibility for both veterans and military students.

If you are ready to invest in your future and further your education, Azusa Pacific University is here to help. Once you are officially enrolled in your program, talk with your Student Account Counselor to find out what steps you need to take next to secure the best financial aid for you. “Since each counselor is assigned by program, the counselor knows each and every detail of the program’s costs, so they can help them navigate this piece together,” Johnson adds.

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