Financial Aid

Sources of graduate funding at Penn State include the Graduate School, academic departments, student financial aid and external agencies.  Most students at the Hershey campus are granted admission and provided support by their graduate program.  There are services available at The Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration to assist continuing graduate students locate and apply for fellowships from external agencies.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate research assistantships are provided for qualified students.  Assistantships also cover tuition.  Fall and spring assistantship and summer support amounted to $21,500 during the 07/08 academic year.  At the Hershey campus most assistantships are half-time and require the student to register for 9-12 credits.  Applicants should write or call the person in charge of their graduate program for information regarding current assistantship levels.

This level of support is sufficient to allow students to devote full-time effort to graduate studies and research. A graduate assistant may not accept concurrent employment inside or outside the University without permission from the Department Head and the Graduate Academic Program Chairperson.

Fellowships and Traineeships

Recipients must be superior students and meet University criteria in order to be considered eligible for an award. Fellows and trainees are required to carry at least 9 credits of course work each semester or the equivalent in research, receive stipends that vary with the awards, and usually receive grants-in-aid of tuition. They may not accept employment during the period of their appointments (except with special permission for training purposes). In some cases, a recipient will be expected to engage in research in a broad field specified by the individual Fellowship or Traineeship. There is no sharp distinction between a fellowship and a traineeship. Scholarly excellence is always a major consideration and usually the most important criterion in selecting fellowship recipients. Other considerations, in addition to scholarly excellence, may be taken into account in awarding traineeships.

The Graduate School Funding Programs

Academic Computing Fellowships

In 1987, Penn State established an innovative Fellowship program in computing applications. The program is for doctoral students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who have a background and strong interest in computing applications within their disciplines.  Through participation in the Fellowship program, and the utilization of computers, they will help develop and disseminate new methods for problem solving within their disciplines.

Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program

Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards are generally assistantships granted to incoming students as part of the University's comprehensive educational opportunity program. The graduate admission application serves as the Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards application. Students must be nominated by their program for consideration within their college. The Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program competition is open to incoming graduate degree candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications will be evaluated on scholarly promise and upon receiving a commitment from the student's graduate major program to support the student

Graham Endowed Fellowship

The Graham Endowed Fellowship will be used to give Penn State a competitive advantage in recruiting outstanding graduate students.  The fund will provide supplementation awards of up to $4,000 per year to highly recruited students who are given assistantships, departmental fellowships, or who are recipients of external assistantships or fellowships. If justification is provided awards will be made up to two years. The Graduate School's University Graduate Fellowships and Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program and the GEM master's program are not eligible for the Graham Endowed Fellowship funds.

University Graduate Fellowships

These prestigious fellowships are awarded to scholastically outstanding incoming graduate students by the Graduate School, through individual colleges.  The 07/08 fellowship provides payment of tuition and a base stipend of $15,800, which at the Hershey campus is supplemented by department/program funds.  Applications must be submitted through the applicant's graduate major program and must submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.

Useful Links