University of Illinois System

Pay for College Without Loans 

Funding Graduate Education

There are multiple methods of funding a graduate degree. Understanding your options can really help you make a plan for funding your graduate education. Most graduate students use a combination of the following types of funding:

  • Student Loans = This type of funding relies on borrowing money to pay for tuition, fees, and education-related expenses, which can include living expenses. The percentage of people using loans for funding graduate degrees has gone up over time, but the amounts can differ by type of degree or major you're pursuing.
  • Assistantships = Depending on what type of program you're in, you could receive a 100% tuition waiver and/or monthly stipend! However, you may have to pay out of pocket for some fees, supplies, or books. This type of funding is considered employment, so tax liabilty and withholding apply to the benefits of this funding option.
  • Scholarships or Fellowships = Look for resources at your university to help with your scholarship or fellowship search. Even though scholarships and fellowships are not considered employment, depending on the IRS rules around those options, you may have to pay taxes on these funds when you file your taxes.

Relevant Blog Article: 6 Considerations for Finding Funding During COVID-19 

SMMC Resources for Graduate Students 

Budgeting & Financial Planning

Credit & Student Loans


University Resources