Options are available

A myriad of options are available to you to help offset the costs of your graduate education. Many students are eligible for aid and 90% of all graduate students at Berkeley receive some form of financial support. Where do you start, and how do you identify what’s right for you?

  • Fellowships and awards typically cover educational and living expenses
  • Grants usually cover expenses related to specific projects or needs
  • Need-based loans can supply additional financial support
  • Academic student employment at Berkeley provides some of the most competitive compensation and benefit packages in public institutions

You’ll want to explore and apply for as many options as possible that match your needs, eligibility, and area of study. Before you start, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)(opens in a new tab) and submit by the priority deadline. Filling out a FAFSA does not obligate you to take out a loan. However, UC Berkeley’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office (FASO) often uses the FAFSA to ascertain eligibility for federal (and other) awards.

Options for Financial Support

1. Investigate Fellowships, Grants and Awards


2. Thinking about loans?

Graduate students can apply for need-based loans through the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO). You’ll need to complete a FAFSA and submit by the priority deadline even if you are not sure you will need or want any aid from the FASO. That way you’ll ensure timely processing, the best financial aid package, and eligibility for other Federal funding. You can decide later whether to accept or not.

Only U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for funds administered by the FASO. Otherwise you will need to apply via the California Student Aid Commission’s California Dream Act Application. Berkeley Graduate Dream Act Aid provides loans to make college more affordable for students who complete a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) and qualify for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption. Consult the Graduate Award Guide for more information, or submit your inquiry online.

Funding from your department may impact your total loan eligibility, so alert your departmental Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) or Cal Student Central if you receive additional funding. Federal regulations related to academic progress apply to students with loans, so be sure to talk to your GSAO or to FASO staff about enrollment and attempted unit requirements.


3. Consider academic student employment

All students, including master’s and professional students, are eligible for a range of employment opportunities, including positions as Graduate Students Instructors, Readers, Tutors, and Graduate Student Researchers. Many of these academic student appointments come with the benefit of partial or full tuition remission. Graduate students are encouraged to consider other job opportunities too. Learn more about the benefits of academic student employment.

Departments post open positions before the start of each semester, so stay on the lookout for opportunities in departments where you might be interested. 


4. Double check

Certain awards or funding from your department may impact your total loan eligibility, so alert your departmental Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) or Cal Student Central if you receive additional funding.

In addition, many professional degree programs are exempt from most state and campus funding programs. Check this list before you apply.

Where to go for help

  • Your GSAO is your primary resource for department-specific funding information. 
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO) and FAFSA for loans. 
  • For basic needs support, like food and stable housing, contact the Basic Needs Center.
  • Whether you’re funding your education with fellowships, grants, scholarships, loans, or academic appointments (or all of the above), the Graduate Division’s Student Funding Advisors  are available to help.