One of the biggest obstacles to prospective doctoral students is figuring out how to fund their education, but luckily there are several resources you can turn to in order to find financial aid. The federal government, private educational and financial institutions, and colleges and universities are all potential sources for doctoral funding, sometimes depending on certain subject and student-specific criteria. Don’t let finances stand in the way of pursuing your doctoral degree; check out these financial aid options that are available to doctoral students.
The best form of financial aid for pursuing any degree is definitely scholarships and grants. These are funds given to you to pay for your education that don’t have to be paid back, meaning you can complete your education while maintaining a clean financial slate. The federal government offers a few grants that require specific criteria, such as an agreement to teach in a primary or secondary school, but most scholarships and grants come directly from the college or university where you’ll be pursuing your doctoral degree. Upon acceptance, the school should inform you of any that you’re eligible for, but it never hurts to ask the financial aid or department office if there are any that require a specific application. Additionally, there are a number of student and subject-specific grants and scholarships available from private institutions. Online search sites like CollegeScholarships.org can provide valuable information on grants and scholarships that fit your particular field or need
Another common way that doctoral students help to defray their education costs is through fellowships and assistantships. These are like grants and scholarships in that they don’t require repayment, but they generally have some sort of service attached, such as teaching or research. These are available through the college or university that you are attending.
Competition for grants, scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships is fierce and it’s possible you may not get enough funding to cover all of your financial needs. The federal government offers Perkins and Stafford loans to help manage the difference. As a last resort, private banks offer student loans as well, but the terms generally aren’t quite as manageable as federal loans.