Graduate Student Aid
Graduate students should review how graduate funds are determined and processed to better understand their graduate assistance, the connection to federal aid, and taxation issues.
All aid packages must account for scholarship and fellowship funds given to the student and the work-study and loans offered by Student Financial Aid.
The following programs are available through your individual academic program or the Graduate College.
- Scholarships: The Graduate Incentive Award (GIA) and Graduate Assistant Scholarship (GAS) are university-funded scholarships that cover all or part of a full-time or part-time student’s tuition and fees. The GIA is for graduate students who are not graduate assistants, and therefore no service is required in return for the award. The GAS is tuition assistance for graduate students who are graduate assistants.
- Assistantships: Teaching, research or administrative responsibilities are generally referred to as assistantships. An assistantship pays you (usually bi-weekly) based on work performed. It is a work assignment averaging 20 hours a week designed to compliment your academic program. You will be paid through the payroll system and will have appropriate tax and other withholdings deducted from your check.
- Fellowships: A fellowship is financial support to relieve a student from earning funds in order to concentrate on their academic pursuits. Fellowships are therefore gift aid and an extension of a scholarship. These funds may exceed your tuition and would be refunded you through the UC billing process on a semester basis.
Federal assistance is also available and awarded by the Student Financial Aid Office. To apply, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Because graduate students are beyond the bachelor’s degree, they are ineligible to receive most grants. However, they can be awarded work-study and loans based on eligibility.
NOTE: As of the 2012-13 academic year, graduate students are no longer eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan.
Graduate students receiving federal aid are required to meet the university's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
Unique Program Eligibility
PharmD students, because they can be admitted prior to receiving a bachelor's degree, must have completed (and transferred into the PharmD program) 72 semester hours prior to being classified as graduate students for aid purposes. Until they have the required number of hours, these students may not be eligible for federal aid.
Cost of Attendance Budget
There are limits to the amount of financial assistance a student can receive. Any student (graduate or undergraduate) who applies for federal aid assistance or non-federal educational loans is held to the Student Financial Aid Office-determined cost of attendance budget.
This budget is the tuition amount and an average allowance for housing, food, books and supplies, and other non-tuition, educational expenses. The total financial aid package – to include all types of aid noted above except payroll earnings – must remain within the cost budget.
The cost of attendance is set by the Student Financial Aid Office for the 9-month academic year. An additional 3 months can be added in the spring for those students attending summer school. It is an amount based on average costs for a student. Note that the budget would not (and cannot) include most family expenses.
Aid received from other UC offices and coming from an outside source may reduced or replace work-study or loan portions of a student’s aid package. It is therefore important that you notify the Student Financial Aid Office of any scholarship or fellowship that does not appear as part of an aid package. By doing so early, a student reduces the risk of having aid adjusted mid-year or after funds have been received.