Connecting you with highly ranked faculty and sharpening your research capabilities in preparation for an impactful academic future.

Financial Aid

In addition to providing financial assistance, assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, and grants provide opportunities to gain experience in your field of interest.


The Smeal College's academic departments offer graduate assistantships to all students admitted to the doctoral program. Financial support is offered on a continuing basis through assistantships for five years, as long as students are making satisfactory progress toward placement at a top research university, as assessed by the department and the college. A graduate assistant receives a cash stipend plus a full tuition waiver. Graduate assistants typically work twenty hours per week.

In addition to providing financial assistance, assistantships provide opportunities to gain experience in your field of interest. Both research and teaching assistantships are available.

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants
(Administered or Supported by Penn State)

Fellowships, scholarships, and grants differ from assistantships in that assistantships require research or teaching activities by the student, while fellowships, scholarships, and grants do not. Some students receive combinations of assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, and grants. Some are open to all graduate students, others to students in a specific area. Contact the adviser in your program of study for details.

The Penn State Graduate School offers several awards through its Fellowships and Awards Office. Please visit their Web pages for further information or write:

Fellowships and Awards Office
313 Kern Graduate Building
University Park, PA 16802-3303

Work Study and Loan Programs

Several forms of low-interest loans and work-study programs are available to graduate degree candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

  • The Perkins Loan Program makes low-interest loans available to full-time students with documented financial need. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or termination of graduate work.

  • University loans are funds established by university organizations, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to help students who have documented financial need. Repayment begins six months after graduation or termination of study.

  • The Stafford Loan Program provides low-interest loans to students enrolled on at least a half-time basis. The loans are repayable after the student graduates or terminates his or her education. This federal financial-aid program is a cooperative effort of the federal government, state government and guarantor agency, a commercial lending institution, and the educational institution.

  • Graduate Work-Study is based on financial need as determined by the Office of Student Aid. Graduate students eligible for the program receive an hourly wage for assigned work. Responsibilities and assignments are similar to those associated with graduate assistantships. Individuals holding graduate assistantships rarely receive work-study because of the difficulty of holding two jobs concurrently, and the potential for a student's total aid resources to exceed his or her documented need.

Office of Student Aid