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Graduate awards are usually given on the basis of past academic performance and or financial need. Financial aid for graduate and professional schools is offered in three basic forms:
Grants and scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need and/or academic performance. This "gift assistance" does not obligate the recipient to repay the award. Check with religious organizations, foundations, labor unions, businesses, or town and city groups for scholar-ships based on achievement, ethnicity, hobbies, or talents. Armed forces may also offer financial opportunities. Your employer may have an educational reimbursement program.
Fellowships and assistantships are available through your department of study and/or they may be funded by the state. These types of awards may cover part or all of your tuition and provide stipends. There are a number of private fellowship offerings available based on merit, area of interest and minority status. Apply with national fellowships such as the Fulbright Mellon, National Research Foundation, and/or National Science Foundation.
Loans are available through a variety of private and government sources. Student loans must be repaid. Student loans feature lower rates of interest and/or deferred payment options. Apply for loans at each institution to which you have submitted an application for admission through the Financial Aid Office. Also, check with banks, credit unions, or educational loan organizations for private loans.