Allison Lau won't owe a penny to the University of Oregon when she graduates next year with her doctorate in counseling psychology.
Selected as a graduate teaching fellow, Lau paid her tuition fees by teaching multicultural leadership and life skills classes to undergrads. She also received health insurance benefits and a generous monthly stipend.
Commonly called assistantships, most schools hire graduate students just like Allison to teach classes or assist with faculty research projects. The school pays your graduate school tuition and fees, and some will even pay a monthly stipend and provide health insurance. In addition to providing financial aid for graduate school, assistantships also provide valuable experience.
Allison says her experience as a teaching assistant helped her when applying for internships.
“My fellowship was integral in my clinical training as a psychologist,” she says. “Since my positions involved teaching, therapy, and outreach to students, I could totally rack up hours for applying to pre-doctoral internship sites, which are partly based on how much experience I have like this.”
Competition for graduate assistantships in your academic department can be stiff, so you'll want to start researching opportunities early by checking with your school's financial aid office and your academic department.
Similar to research assistant positions, graduate fellowships also pay at least part of your tuition and often provide a monthly stipend to support your research. Most fellowships require you to fill out a lengthy application and submit a research proposal.Popular organizations that provide graduate fellowships include the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. However, you can search for additional fellowships that might fund your research and education at GrantsNet.