FINANCIAL AID FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS
How to Apply for Graduate Assistance
There are three forms of financial assistance available to graduate students: merit-based, need-based, and non-need based aid. To apply for merit-based aid, complete the appropriate questions on the graduate admission application. The availability of merit-based assistance will vary significantly by field of study. To apply for federal, state, and Rutgers University need-based aid, file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or the renewal application online for faster and efficient processing of your application.
Applicants are encouraged to apply for assistance as early as possible, preferably by March 1, unless the program specifies an earlier financial aid or admissions deadline. You must be formally accepted in a degree-granting program before a decision on financial aid can be made. However, do not wait for formal acceptance to Rutgers University to apply for financial aid. Students who wish to apply for the Federal Direct Loans may apply at any time during the academic year.
Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid
Most graduate students are eligible for some type of federal student assistance, usually in the form of a student loan. The amount of assistance is determined by estimating the total cost of attendance, which includes such items as tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation, and some personal expenses for the period that you are enrolled. The FAFSA form helps us determine your family contribution towards these expenses. The difference between the total expenses and your contribution is what is commonly referred to as your financial need.
At Rutgers University, all graduate and professional students are considered as independent from their parents. United States citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for need-based aid.
Types of Financial Assistance Available
Graduate financial aid is available in three categories: merit-based fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships; need-based grants, loans, and employment; and, non-need based loans. Contact graduate programs and school deans' offices for information regarding specific merit-based award programs. For information regarding need based and non-need based aid, contact your regional Financial Aid Office.
Assistantships: To apply for assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships, check the appropriate response on the Graduate Admissions Application. Contact the program or dean's office for specific information. Notification of academic based awards is made by the program or by the dean's office. Assistantship salaries, tuition, and health benefits vary from program to program.
Fellowships and Scholarships: Nationally competitive stipends plus tuition are available for most programs in the Graduate School–New Brunswick, the Graduate School–Newark, and the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, while other schools and programs have more limited support. Application is made by March 1, unless the program lists an earlier financial aid deadline, through the graduate application for admission. See the section below on fellowships and scholarships available from the
Federal Perkins Loan: Full or part-time graduate students who can demonstrate financial need are eligible. Students must be enrolled at least half-time per semester. Application is made by submitting a FAFSA. Most students receive award amounts that range from $500 to $2,000 per academic year. Funding is limited in this program to yearly campus allocations based on collected amounts from previous Perkins and NDSL borrowers.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan:
Full or half-time graduate students are eligible. Those who demonstrate financial need may qualify for a subsidized loan while other students who do not show financial need may qualify for the unsubsidized loan. To apply, students must complete and submit the FAFSA. Graduate students may receive an amount up to $18,500 of which no more than $8,500 may be subsidized per academic year. The aggregate subsidized loan limit, including undergraduate borrowing may not exceed $65,500. An origination fee of up to 4% is deducted from the loan proceeds. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while students are enrolled at least half-time, during a grace period, or during authorized periods of deferment. The subsidized and unsubsidized loan has a variable interest rate, and is capped at a maximum of 8.25%. Loan repayments include plans for traditional principal/interest payments, extended payments, graduated payments, and income contingent payments. Federal loan consolidation is also an available option. For information on federal loans go to the Federal Direct Loan Programs webpage.
Federal Work-Study: Full- or part-time graduate students are eligible. Students must demonstrate financial need. Application is made by submitting a FAFSA. Eligible students are also required to submit a job application to the Student Employment Office for placement purposes. Graduate students may receive awards ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 depending upon financial need and job assignment. Higher amounts are generally offered to Teaching Assistants (TAs). The program provides jobs on and off campus for eligible students. For information on student employment, go to the Student Employment and Federal Work-Study Programs webpage.
Educational Opportunity Fund: Full-time New Jersey residents with backgrounds of historic poverty and early educational disadvantage may apply for EOF grants. Students who received EOF grants as undergraduates are eligible if their incomes fall within the required range; others must document their eligibility. Application is made by submitting the FAFSA and by completing the EOF question on the admission application. Grants up to $2,500 may be awarded per academic year. If eligible, these grants are renewable for the duration of the student's degree work.
New Jersey College Loan to Assist State Students (NJCLASS): Full or half-time graduate students are eligible to apply. Eligibility may not exceed the student's estimated cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. Application is made via a separate loan application available in the Office of Financial Aid. Borrowers must be creditworthy or provide an acceptable cosigner. There is no interest subsidy. The interest rate may be fixed or variable, and depends on the option selected at the time of application. A 5 percent origination fee is deducted from the loan proceeds. Repayment is 15 years from the date of the first disbursement. A variety of repayment options are available.
PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students: Graduate or professional students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. Requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history, repayment beginning on the date of the last disbursement of the loan, and a fixed interest rate of 7.9 percent in the Direct Loan program, in which Rutgers University participates. Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate PLUS loan. Click here for more information about Direct PLUS Loans for graduate or professional Students.
Alternative Private Loan Programs: Commercial lenders offer a variety of private loans as a supplement to the federal and institutional aid programs listed above. Although too numerous to mention here, loan eligibilities vary substantially. Generally, these loans are unsubsidized and limited to the cost of attendance as determined by the school. The Rutgers Office of Financial Aid does not recommend any particular private loan program. However, further details may be obtained directly from each individual lender. You may also obtain similar information from the Office of Financial Aid.
Who Should Apply
We encourage all graduate students who need financial aid to apply. Despite the fact that the growth of federal aid has slowed, Rutgers University has distributed over $123 million in graduate student aid of various types, including fellowship, assistantship, student loans and employment during the 2006-07 academic year. Rutgers may combine awards from a variety of sources to meet the individual needs of students.
In addition to finding Rutgers University scholarship sources online, you will also find a scholarship search database called FastWeb that will perform a computerized scholarship search for aid sources external to Rutgers University. This service is also provided free of charge.
The university provides special award opportunities to promote the diversity of university programs. These awards include the Biomedical Research Support Program Fellowships; Bunting-Cobb Fellowships for Women in Math, Science, and Engineering; Diversity Advancement Fellowships; National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science Fellowships; Trustees' Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences; and Ralph Johnson Bunche Fellowships for newly admitted students in graduate and professional studies. For more information, call 908-932-8122 and deans' offices.
More information on financial aid can be found by following the links on http://studentaid.rutgers.edu/grad.asp.
Fellowships and Scholarships Available from the Graduate School–Newark
Daniels S. Lehrman Fellowship. Outstanding students in the graduate program in psychology are eligible for the Daniel S. Lehrman Fellowship.
Minority Biomedical Research Fellowships. The Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Program, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, provides fellowships, including tuition remission, for minority students who plan to have research careers in the biomedical sciences. For information, write the Director, MBRS Program, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 241 Conklin Hall, Newark, NJ 07102, or call 973-353-5772.
Master's Tuition Scholarships. These scholarships provide for the cost of tuition. A student seeking these scholarships should apply to the director of his or her graduate program.
Rutgers Excellence Dissertation Fellowship Awards. This award is issued by departments of the university through the Graduate School–Newark on the basis of exceptional academic merit, as evidenced by scholarly promise, and the students must be on their final year of graduate study. These awards usually are supplemented by the graduate program for three additional years of support, often as teaching assistantships.
Norman Samuels Fellowship. This award is issued through the Graduate School–Newark. The fellowship was established to honor Provost Emeritus Norman Samuels. It provides one-time awards to attract outstanding doctoral applicants. Each recipient will be named a "Norman Samuels Fellow."