By Annie Rose Stathes, November 2013
What is financial aid?
Numerous students receive financial aid. Financial aid is money that qualified students receive to pay for tuition, school fees, books, and other school-related expenses. Some financial aid has to be paid back, and some financial aid does not have to be paid back. Financial aid most commonly comes in the form of:
2) Scholarships and Fellowships
3) Federal and state aid (government aid)
4) Private loans
The following article provides an outline of various types of financial aid that may be available to those who qualify, and the average amounts of each that graduate students received in 2011-12.
How much financial aid, on average, did the graduate student receive in 2011-12?
According to The National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2011-12, graduate students earning their master’s degrees received an average of $17,000 in financial aid, while students earning their Ph.D. received an average of $32,000 in financial aid. Students received aid from a variety of common sources.
What are some common sources of financial aid?
Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans
The federal government offers these loans directly to qualified students. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while students are in school while unsubsidized loans do. These loans typically have a lower interest rate than private loans do.
Employer aid typically comes in the form of tuition reimbursement and other plans in which employers repay students the cost of tuition for certain classes and programs, especially those that benefit the place of employment.
Institutions give aid to students based on accomplishment, academic standing, and need. Institutional aid might come in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, waivers, work-study programs, or other programs designed to help students pay for school.
Institutional tuition and fees waivers
Institutional tuition and fees waivers are sometimes offered to students based on need.
Many qualified students receive money for school from outside sources such as church groups, service organizations, and other non-profit and private agencies. This form of aid typically comes in the form of grants and scholarships.
Private banks and companies offer these loans directly to qualified students. These loans typically have a higher interest rate than government loans.
Different states offer different types of aid to qualified students depending on need. State aid might include grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, work-study programs, or other programs designed to help students pay for school.
Some schools offer qualified students “assistantships” in exchange for tuition. Assistantships typically allow students to gain valuable experience in teaching and researching while attending school. In assistantships, students basically exchange their labor for tuition.
Grants are considered gift aid because they do not have to be repaid, given to qualified students by the government and organizations based on need and academic accomplishment.
How much financial aid, on average, did graduate students receive from common sources of aid in 2011-12?
Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans: $14,800
Direct plus loans: $16,100
Employer aid: $6,800
Any loans: $17,500
Total grants: $7,900
Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans: $15,600
Direct plus loans: $16,000
Employer aid: $14,700
Any loans: $18,400
Total grants: $21,000
What are some less common sources of aid?
Aid for veterans: veterans may be eligible for additional financial aid. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information.
Aid for people with exceptional need: people in exceptional need may often times be qualified for additional financial aid.
Aid for current and former foster-care youth: people have been in foster care or are currently in foster care might be eligible to receive additional financial aid. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information.
Aid for volunteers and people of service: Students who serve in AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and other low-paying or volunteer service-based organizations may often times be eligible for additional financial aid or loan forgiveness.
Work-Study programs: federal work-study programs provide qualified students with part-time work to help pay for the costs of education. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information.
Tuition waivers and loan repayment support: certain groups of people may be eligible for tuition waivers and/or loan repayment support options. Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information.
About the Author:Annie Rose Stathes holds a B.A. in International Affiars and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is currently an Instructor of writing at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado.