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Finding Graduate Support

Department/College Funding

The most likely source of support for students is their college or program. Many offer assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships. Typically, you can indicate your interest in being considered for these awards on your application for admission, but you should touch base directly with the program to which you are applying for details.

Funding from the Graduate School

The Graduate School offers a number funding programs coordinated by the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration. Many funding programs require departmental and/or college nominations, thus it is strongly encouraged that students maintain contact with their academic programs and advisers.

External Funding Sources

Governmental agencies, foundations, professional associations, and other private entities offer financial support for graduate education. It takes some searching and leg work to locate, research, and apply for these opportunities, but the rewards can be substantial. You can talk with your adviser, program chair, or contacts at professional organizations in your field for help with identifying possible resources, and the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration maintains an online database of awards. 

Office of Student Aid

The Office of Student Aid administers the Stafford Loan program and the Federal Work-Study program, which are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. To be considered for those sources of assistance, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and meet eligibility guidelines.

Loan eligibility is based on your financial need and cost of attendance. If you have research expenses or other education-related costs that might fall outside a standardized graduate student budget, you may wish to contact Student Aid to discuss your financial needs.

Student Employment

If you are looking for work, the Office of Student Aid maintains a listing of some on- and off-campus opportunities. Please note that Federal Work-Study positions are offered through a need-based program and are open only to those who qualify. As well, Penn State's Office of Human Resources maintains a database of open positions. You can search by campus location and job type.

University Service and Student Affairs Units

Various service and student affairs units on campus hire graduate students to serve as counselors and coordinators. If you have expertise in a certain area (counseling, residential life, tutoring, etc.), you may be able to secure a funded position in a corresponding Penn State unit. 

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