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Financial Aid for Graduate Study
Andy Neo

Financial aid can be categorized into two main types: need based and merit based.
Need Based Aid: Need based aid generally consists of loan, grant and work study programs. These programs are administered according to federal and state regulations and are generally open to students who meet specific financial need standards.
Merit Based Aid: Most assistance available to graduate students is merit based. Merit based aid is awarded by some criteria which measures performance or potential in graduate school. This may be an objective measurement by grades and test scores or may be measured subjectively by one professor's opinion. Examples of merit based aid include teaching assistantships, research assistantships, tuition waivers, and grants.
Need based aid is generally administered by a central financial aid office, while merit based aid awards may be administered by a separate office (i.e., "Graduate Fellowships and Grants Office"), and remains in the hands of the specific departments. Each may have its own forms and procedures. A certain amount of financial aid is allocated to the academic departments. This can include a set number of tuition waivers, teaching assistantships and so on. The departments determine how the financial aid is allocated among their students.
Sources of funds include universities, private foundations, U.S. government agencies and civic organizations.

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