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Financial Aid for Prospective Graduate Students

Financial Aid Information for Prospective Graduate Students

Financial aid for graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is available in the form of:

  • Teaching, research, graduate, and pre-professional graduate assistantships (including those funded by Federal Work Study)
  • Fellowships (including traineeships)
  • Grants
  • Loans

How to Apply

Submitting the APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE GRADUATE COLLEGE places you in the candidate pool for consideration for all fellowships administered by the Graduate College along with fellowships and assistantships offered within the department to which you are applying. The application includes basic information about you as a candidate, your personal statement, letters of reference, and transcripts. Some programs may request additional information as part of the application.

To Be Considered for Fellowships or Assistantships

Departments have different application deadlines, and some occur as early as the end of December. You should check with your prospective program for its deadline. Be sure that your application is complete and all reference letters arrive on time.

Fellowships are awarded only to full-time degree-seeking students admitted on full-status (minimum GPA). All awards are contingent upon sufficient funding being available. Fellowships are financial aid awards that provide a stipend with no expectation of service in return. A traineeship is a research fellowship providing educational training in a particular disciplinary area. Most fellowship and traineeship awards also cover tuition and selected fees. Fellowships may be awarded by the graduate program,  the University, or an external organization.

Graduate student assistantships provide graduate students with financial resources that help defray the expenses associated with completing their graduate degrees. Students may hold teaching, research, graduate or pre-professional graduate assistantships. Descriptions of the duties related to each type of assistantship can be found at on the Academic Human Resources website

Students who hold assistantships also experience educational and professional benefits. The responsibilities and benefits of assistantships vary, but in general, students gain further instruction in techniques in their fields; hone their research skills; acquire pedagogical experience necessary for an academic career; develop professional skills, including leadership, interpersonal effectiveness, and performance evaluation; and have collegial collaboration with advisors that result in joint publications.

Teaching, research, graduate, and pre-professional graduate assistants receive stipends for services rendered to the University. Most assistantship appointments between 25% and 67%, inclusive, for three-quarters of the academic term provide coverage of either the full tuition or the base-rate tuition, depending on the graduate program of enrollment. Such appointments also carry coverage of several fees, along with dental and vision insurance at no charge.

Assistants who have a waiver-generating appointment in the spring semester are automatically granted a waiver of tuition and the service fee for the succeeding summer term if they choose to enroll and do not receive a summer waiver-generating appointment. For a complete listing of all fees assessed, see the Office of the Registrar's website. While stipend levels vary  from one program to another, the campus establishes a minimum stipend for assistantships. More information can be found at the Academic Human Resources website. Teaching assistants and graduate assistants are represented by the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).