How to Pay for Graduate School

Posted: December 09, 2022 | Author: Sayre Davis | Read Time: 5 minutes

How to pay for graduate schoolAttending graduate school can be a life-changing decision and one that should not be taken lightly. One –if not the most major– question that runs through the minds of those considering earning a master’s degree is, “How am I going to pay for grad school?”

While there are few options for funding a master’s degree, opportunities do exist and are well worth exploring. From scholarships to workplace reimbursements below are some of the best opportunities to receive funding for grad school, so you can make an informed decision.

Now – just to be upfront – the funding behind these opportunities is not always available. A grant that was offered this year may not be available next year. In addition, there is no guarantee that all applicants will be awarded the funds (because the money does run out). That said, if you do not apply for these programs, you certainly have no chance of receiving an award, so apply and do so early.

Scholarships for Graduate School

Scholarships are always a favorite because they need not be repaid like loans.

In typical graduate programs, there are few scholarships that students can apply for. However, Southern Utah University offers a scholarship specifically for online graduate students.

SUU has created the Let's Go Scholarship to help students begin their master's degrees. This one-time scholarship provides assistance for Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters (see details for the academic years). It covers up to $1,200 a semester; for up to four semesters. The great news is that most master’s degrees can be completed in four semesters.

SUU anticipates high demand for this scholarship. Funds are limited and conditions apply. Learn more and submit your scholarship application.

Grants for Graduate School

Who doesn’t love a grant? Like scholarships, grants do not have to be repaid. Most folks are familiar with Pell Grants offered by Federal Financial Aid. The thing is, Pell Grants are designated for undergraduate education – not master’s degrees. Finding grants for master’s degrees require a little more digging and are well worth the effort.

Grants are offered by a variety of organizations, such as professional associations, non-profit organizations, foundations, institutions, businesses, etc. Generally, they are also aimed at a particular circumstance: financial need, age, degree program, semester, school year, gender, heritage, career goal and the like.

To illustrate, SUU Online awarded funds from an Adult-Learner Grant funded by the State of Utah. It was aimed at students over age 25 in rural Utah who were pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees in high-demand career fields for the 2022-2023 school year.

In addition to searching for grants with individual organizations related to your desired career field, try some of the databases out there, like, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tuition Reimbursement

For many, working goes hand-in-hand with attending grad school and this may be a major advantage to you. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to their employees to assist them in their educational journey and help them become better qualified for their job.

For many employers, this is a way to offer professional development. For others, it means that employees don’t have to choose between their job and their education.

It is imperative that you check with your human resources representative to find out what education benefits may be available to you. Tuition reimbursement can vary in its funds but it is well worth checking into.

And one other “employer secret” you should know: many universities offer a tuition benefit to full-time employees. So it may be worth pursuing employment with the university of your choice as a way to get your graduate education paid for.

Financial Aid

Another major way that can assist you in paying for your graduate education is Federal Financial Aid. While Pell Grants (that do not need to be repaid) are generally awarded only to undergraduate students, loans are available to graduate students.

Jayson Matlock, assistant director of financial aid at SUU, recommends students apply as early as they can.

"Beginning the process early allows students to identify any gaps in their knowledge that prevents them from completing the application,” said Matlock in a recent Forbes article. “It also enables them to seek guidance from a professional to receive their aid in time."

If you are considering attending grad school, start checking into financial aid now through the Federal Financial Aid website.

Tuition Waivers

Tuition waivers are a little-known option for graduate students. With waivers, the university simply does not charge you tuition. How awesome is that?! At SUU, academic departments have a few of these that they can grant to students, though some conditions may apply.

To find out about waiver availability, you will need to contact the academic department over your degree program.

How to Pay for College Course

An incredible tool offered by SUU Online is a free, self-paced course called How to Pay for College. This online course contains great information for anyone attending college – including those planning on graduate school. It discusses a variety of funding options that are general to any university as well as those that are SUU-specific.

This is a great way to discover even more options as you prepare for your graduate education. Register for this free course.

Additional Financial Resources

There are other types of financial assistance worth pursuing for your master’s degree such as fellowships. Here are a few ideas on how to pay for graduate school without going into debt. These different resources are scattered about, but there are great resources to help such as

And of course, we can always recommend you reach out to the SUU Online Financial Aid Coordinator.

Whatever route you might take, SUU is here to help you succeed in your educational goals, and support you on the path to getting there.

Produced by SUU Graduate Studies

SUU's Graduate School draws from a prestigious heritage and allows students to pursue a quality education. The master's degree programs at SUU offer students the chance to further their professional and educational careers on campus or online.

Tags: Financial Aid Graduate Programs

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