Your Guide to Doctoral Program Financial Aid (2023)

A doctorate is a big financial undertaking, but you shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the initial cost of enrolling in a PhD program. These prices are usually just estimations and don’t necessarily reflect the final out-of-pocket expenses. To ensure that the doctoral program meets your academic and budgetary aspirations, it’s imperative to look into all of your options and apply accordingly.

Aspiring doctoral students may not be completely aware of the different financial assistance options available for graduate school. But with scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loan packages, tuition fees can be lowered significantly. By combining and carefully selecting these options, a doctoral degree may become surprisingly accessible. This guide will help you learn about your options for paying for your doctorate degree.

Doctorate Cost Factors

Tuition fees are just one component of the cost of pursuing a doctoral degree. In addition to tuition, potential expenses include books, course materials, supplies and equipment, technology fees, and other miscellaneous costs. It’s important to understand all of the financial requirements related to your chosen program in order to plan ahead and create a budget that covers all of your expenses. Let’s take a look at some of the costs you should factor into your doctoral degree funding plan.

Tuition

The priciest component of your degree will be tuition. The cost per credit or course varies among graduate programs and disciplines. You’ll also find that tuition rates for online courses and traditional on-campus courses will often differ. Whether you plan to be an online or on-campus student, be sure to check with your department or the graduate school to ensure that you’re getting the correct tuition rate information for your delivery format. Tuition rates may be different for in-state and out-of-state learners, so be sure to check out residency requirements when looking into doctoral programs that are outside of your current state.

Dissertation Fees and Related Expenses

Many schools require doctoral students to pay fees for the processing and filing of their dissertation or final project. A lot of programs will use a third party publishing company, such as ProQuest, to host your documents online. You can expect to spend about $135 in dissertation filing fees if you submit your work on time. Some schools charge late fees if students fail to submit the final master copies of their work within the allotted time frame, usually based on when you pass your final exams or dissertation defense.

Research Expenses

Most doctoral programs require you to complete a traditional dissertation or final project to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area of your field. Research credits are often required to access university resources and services related to your dissertation, such as library materials, faculty guidance, and potentiallab equipment. Some doctoral programs will offer discounted research credits for a limited time period before requiring students to pay full tuition rates after a certain deadline or grace period. Additionally, some universities may charge filing fees or require completion of other administrative tasks necessary for graduation. It’s important to understand all the costs associated with your PhD program in order to effectively plan ahead when preparing financially for your degree.

Books and Supplies

As a doctoral student, you’ll still be purchasing books and some materials that you needed during your undergraduate program. Unlike your undergraduate coursework, you’ll probably be buying five to 10 books per class as opposed to one large textbook for the whole semester. As an advanced graduate student working in a specialized area, you might also need to purchase computer software or specialized equipment. With this in mind, the cost of books and supplies for each class will vary depending on the syllabus, the nature of the course, and what is commonplace for doctoral-level students in your field.

Transportation

Depending on your program and field of study, you may need to consider the cost of travel for regular in-person meetings, commute to campus if attending traditionally, and even transportation for research that may take you far from your school’s home base. For example, if you are conducting fieldwork or gathering materials from distant locations, costs associated with plane tickets, hotel stays, and even car rentals will have to be taken into account when budgeting for your PhD. It’s important to understand all the potential transportation costs when researching doctoral programs in order to stay informed and build an adequate funding plan ahead of time.

Insurance

Many full- and part-time doctoral students purchase health insurance through their institution. It is often mandatory for graduate students to have health insurance. While it may come at a significantly cheaper price than through private insurance or the healthcare marketplace, it is still a cost you should factor into your doctoral degree expenses. The University of Nevada-Reno, for example, reports their graduate students’ healthcare costs to be $3,800 annually.

Online Doctorate and PhD Program Costs

Deciding which field to pursue for a doctorate can help narrow down the potential tuition costs you may be facing. While tuition prices can vary greatly between institutions, here is an overview of the average tuition for common doctoral degree programs, allowing you to determine what kind of price range might be involved in your particular area of study.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Price range

$21,000 to $86,000

Price factors

EdD programs often require students to complete 60–70 credits, which can range from $350 to $2,025 per credit. Depending on the school, you may encounter additional costs including dissertation fees and the cost of “dissertation research” placeholder credits. You may also be expected to attend and participate in conferences or seminars. Getting an EdD at a private school such as the University of Southern California may look more expensive because of the sticker price, but grants, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid can bring the price down.

Doctor of Nursing (DNP)

Price range

$10,000 to $65,000

Price factors

The cost of your DNP program will vary depending on location, if you’re fully online, and how many in-person clinicals are required. Traveling to and from your clinical site, whether by car or public transportation, should be factored into your overall financial equation for this degree. Incoming students who possess a master’s degree will need approximately 35–45 credits for graduation, depending on the program. Duke University, for example, requires only 35 credits for the DNP program, but it’s still on the higher end for cost at $1,838 per credit ($64,330 in total).

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Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Price range

$12,000 to $140,000

Price factors

The cost of a DBA program will vary depending on whether you choose an online or on-campus program, because many online programs charge the same tuition whether a student is in-state or out-of-state. Your cost may also be lower if you’re able to transfer some credits. The University of Maryland Global Campus charges $1,087 per credit for in-state and out-of-state DBA students but doesn’t accept transfer credits, for example. Most DBA programs take 40–50 credits to complete.

PhD in Computer Science

Price factors

You’ll need approximately 30–90 credits to complete a computer science doctorate program. The price for this program depends greatly on how long it takes to finish. While some candidates who already hold master’s degrees may be able to finish the doctorate in two years, others may take three years or longer. Like most PhD students, you’ll probably need to write a dissertation. The time you spend researching and writing your dissertation for a PhD in computer science can drastically affect how much you’ll spend on the degree. Programs recognize this and some charge accordingly. Harvard University’s computer science doctorate program, for example, costs $49,448 for the first two years of study. Beyond those two years, reduced tuition is charged at $12,858 per year.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Price range

$45,000 to $106,000

Price factors

The cost of DPT programs often vary greatly for residents versus non-residents. DPT students with resident status at the University of Nebraska, for example, will pay about $45,700 in tuition, while non-residents pay $88,500 in total. DPT students at Baylor University pay $17,098 per semester regardless of whether they are from in state or out of state. Programs must typically be completed in about three years.

PhD in Psychology

Price range

$33,000 to $90,000

Price factors

The cost for a PhD in psychology hinges in how long you spend in the program and whether you attend in state or out of state. Since PhD in psychology programs prepare you for a variety of jobs including those working directly with patients, there’s a lot of training required in addition to a dissertation. After you write the dissertation, you’ll need to complete an internship or practicum. Depending on the program, ongoing tuition expenses, living expenses, and unpaid internship scenarios can affect the overall price of your education.

PharmD

Price range

$20,000 to $150,000

Price factors

Doctoral students in pharmacy can expect to pay $5,100–$50,000 per year in tuition. For students looking for a program that costs about the average amount, the University of California San Francisco offers a PharmD program at $11,442 per year, though additional fees can double this amount. Most programs require three–four years of work, depending on how well you’re prepared and which types of classes you completed as an undergraduate.

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Price range

$23,000 to $82,000

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Price factors

The range for DSW programs varies, with more affordable schools’ programs coming in at $23,000 in total, while others cost around $82,000 for the entire program. Barry University’s DSW program is one of the most affordable out there, which costs about $22,850 in total. Similar to other degree programs, the cost of your DSW program can be affected by your location. Rutgers University, for example, requires in-state DSW learners to pay $8,868 per semester, while out-of-state students pay $15,072.

Program Cost Resources

  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, “Aggregate Program Data.” CAPTE offers a breakdown on average costs for in-state and out-of-state DPT programs.
  • Personal Finance for PhDs Podcast: This podcast offers regular episodes for students interested in learning about strategies for saving and paying for school and includes some non-traditional advice for the financially savvy out there.
  • SallieMae, “How America Pays for Graduate School.” This report reveals what graduate students are choosing to study and how they are paying for their programs.
  • The Professor Is In: This well-known blog offers some advice on funding your PhD program and how to prepare for and deal with debt from earning your degree.
  • Urban Institute, “The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay.” Whether you’re interested in pursuing a degree in an academically focused area or want a doctorate to explore other specialized endeavors, this guide by Urban.org will give you a good idea of what you’ll pay based on years of data gathered from other graduate students.

Steps for Creating Your PhD Financial Aid Plan

One of the best ways to make sure you have considered all of your financial aid options and covered all your bases is to make a financial aid plan. Based on your research, financial and academic needs, and advice you’ve gathered from your prospective schools, build a step-by-step agenda that works for you. Here’s several essential steps you should include.

Step
1

Narrow Down Your Programs of Interest

Your doctoral program will be a defining component of your career, both in terms of how you’re branded as a professional and what kind of jobs you’ll be able to pursue after graduation. Locate programs that serve your personal and academic needs with the understanding that you’ll need to be more professionally minded than you were when looking into undergraduate programs. Be efficient with your time by knowing exactly which field you’d like to pursue. This will help you make more accurate comparisons between curricula, expected costs, and what the school can offer you, as opposed to weighing the options of, say, a PhD in psychology vs. a doctor of social work program.

Step
2

Fill out the FAFSA

All students, whether they think they qualify for government financial aid or not, should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many financial aid experts consider this to be one of the most important things you can do as a student. The FAFSA is not only good for aid consideration from the government. Most states and colleges use the information collected from student FAFSAs to figure out which students they’ll help fund and how much money they can offer them each year.

Step
3

Apply for School-Based Aid

Internal funding options for graduate students will vary among schools. It’s important that you have an open line of communication with your department and financial aid office to make sure that you’re aware of internal scholarships, merit- or need-based awards, fellowships, and other internal sources of funding that might be available to you.

In addition to internal scholarships, be sure to check with your prospective schools about graduate assistantships that may be available through your department or the graduate school. While you might be automatically considered for these positions, it’s best to find out if there’s any additional applications you need to submit to receive consideration.

Step
4

Compare Programs and Financial Aid Options

Choose a school based on what it can offer you in your specialized area and how much it costs. Just because a school is considered “affordable” doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a sub-par education. On the contrary, there are many great programs out there with valuable educators at accredited programs across the country. With that in mind, pick a school that looks like you’ll be able to afford without taking on too much student debt.

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Many doctoral programs today offer substantial funding for their students. If you have a strong academic record and show serious promise in your field, you might be able to locate more affordable programs at traditionally more expensive schools simply because of the amount of institutional support you can receive.

Step
5

Apply for Outside Financial Aid

Apply for as many scholarships as you can, provided they’re eligible for graduate students, you’re a strong applicant, and you have the time to do so. Applying for scholarships should be free, so do not pay to have your application considered for any kind of financial aid. Additionally, as a doctoral-level student, you’ll likely find many fellowship opportunities out there that fit your area of interest. There are a large number of external fellowships that can come from non-university sponsored sources. For your financial aid plan and scheduling, bear in mind that these external fellowships require separate applications.

Step
6

Determine if You’ll Need Loans

After considering your internal and external funding options, especially what your prospective schools might offer you in terms of an assistantship or scholarship, you can determine if you’ll need some extra cash to fund your education and cover your living expenses. If you still need additional financial support, student loans may be the solution. It’s important to remember that when taking out a loan you are responsible for paying back all of the money borrowed plus interest, so make sure not to take out more than necessary. Federal student loans should always be considered first before turning to private lenders.

Step
7

Determine Duration and Reliability of Financial Aid Offers

Determine the duration and reliability of any financial aid you receive. For example, you might be offered an assistantship but only be guaranteed funding for one year with the option to reapply for subsequent years. While this is still a good offer, you can really plan on having funding for only that single year. Departmental sources of funding can change from year to year, so this is a common situation. You might receive an offer that guarantees you funding for multiple years. In some cases, you’ll know for certain that you’ll have funding for the entire duration of your doctoral program. Whatever you encounter, be sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of your financial aid offers.

Financial Aid Resources

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences: This professional association provides some excellent insight into funding opportunities for doctoral degree-seekers in the humanities.
  • Federal Student Aid, “Graduate School Preparation Checklist”: The U.S. Department of Education offers a checklist to help students get financially ready for graduate school.
  • PhD Project: The PhD Project is a network of professionals dedicated to helping Black, African-American, Latinx, and Indigenous students attain doctoral degrees in business, pursue careers as business professors, and become mentors of the next generation of business leaders. Their site connects students with a wide variety of funding sources.
  • ProFellow, “3 Tips for Applying to Fully Funded PhD Programs”: Fully funded programs are out there, but you need to stand out from the rest of the applicants when applying. Learn how to apply and stand out.
  • SaveTheStudent.org: This guide offers a detailed look at loan options for doctoral students in 2020.

Where to Look for Financial Help

There are several good places to search for funding for your doctoral degree. You’ll need to be in close contact with your prospective schools to see what kind of internal funding could be coming your way. Some forms of financial aid for doctoral students may come into play much later in their education than they expect at first. Take a look at some of the common paths to getting good financial help in your doctoral program.

Institutional Aid

Many schools offer incoming PhD students some type of financial aid, which can be either merit- or need-based. Most institutions will require you to complete a FAFSA, as well as a CSS Profile, which collects detailed student information used by colleges to award aid from sources beyond the government. It is important to take advantage of any financial aid options offered by your school in order to reduce tuition costs and other expenses associated with your doctoral program. Cornell University provides a video on their financial aid site that walks you through the steps of completing the CSS Profile.

Scholarships

Scholarships are essentially free money for school that you don’t need to pay back. They’re usually based on academic merit, but not always. Scholarships for PhD and doctoral students are typically harder to come by than those reserved for undergraduate and master’s students. This is, in part, because doctoral students are more likely to have some kind of institutional funding arrangement than those at lower levels.

Doctoral degrees are also highly personalized in terms of area of study or specialization and often take a significant career- or research-oriented shift toward the latter half of the program. At this point, doctoral students typically seek out funding to support those specific endeavors in the form of grants or fellowships.

Grants

Similar to scholarships, grants are also gift aid money that do not need to be repaid. Grants may be based on financial need, reserved for graduate students in specific demographics, or based on the field you’re studying. The federal government offers a handful of grant opportunities for graduate students, which you can examine in more detail here. Keep in mind that the popular federal Pell Grant is usually awarded to undergraduate students.

Grants can also come from the state, internal university programs, organizations or corporations, and more. They might also require recipients to participate in very specific academic and research activities in order to receive the grant money.

Fellowships

Fellowships for doctoral students can come from either internal or external sources. They are typically fully or partially merit-based and are often “full funding” packages. This includes the cost of tuition and usually an additional stipend to help learners cover living expenses. Depending on the source of the fellowship, there may be some guidelines or requirements that recipients need to follow in order to remain eligible for the financial support. Some obligations might include teaching responsibilities, similar to a teaching assistantship. In other cases, you might need to produce some kind of research or project that’s related to your field of study.

Fellowships might also be for shorter periods of time, such as one year of study during coursework or one year of dissertation writing or research. ProFellow offers some excellent details on doctoral fellowships and how to make sure all your bases are covered when you apply.

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Assistantships

Assistantships are internal funding opportunities provided by departments or universities’ graduate schools. These usually entail duties such as serving as a professor’s teaching assistant or working in an administrative role in an office on campus. Assistantships are often one year long and require time management of part-time work while completing other academic studies and research. As such, they are great sources of extra funds for doctoral students looking to reduce tuition costs or other expenses associated with their program.

Assistantship requirements and what they offer you in terms of financial support will vary among programs. For the most part, they often require 15–25 hours of work per week, cover some or all of your tuition, and may come with an extra stipend to help you cover living expenses.

Federal Student Loans

Loans provide financial support for school, but you’ll need to pay them back with interest. There are four types of federal student loans: direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, direct plus loans, and direct consolidation loans. Graduate students can pursue any of the four except for direct subsidized loans. As a graduate student, you can borrow up to $20,500 each year through direct unsubsidized loans. On top of that, you can get direct plus loans to cover the remainder of your college expenses should you need it, but your school will help you determine how much you can borrow in this case.

The details you’ll need for federal loans can be found on the government student aid website, but you’ll also want to be in touch with your school’s financial aid office to make sure you’re on the same page.

Private Students Loans

Private loans can provide you with substantial financial aid, but the money needs to be repaid with interest. In most cases, students will get better interest rates through federal student loan programs than private student loans. Private loans come from banks, state-affiliated organizations, credit unions, or individuals. The terms and conditions of these loans are set by the lender and will vary in each case.

Sometimes graduate students will take out a smaller private loan after they’ve maxed out their federal loan opportunities. Interest rates tend to be higher with private lenders, and they usually don’t offer any kind of income-based repayment plans or loan forgiveness opportunities.

Tuition Reimbursement: Employer

If you’re currently employed and seriously exploring going back to school for graduate training, there might be some funding opportunities right under your nose. About 60% of employers offer some kind of tuition assistance, but only about 5% or less of eligible employees take advantage of it. Your company may offer you up to $5,250 per year, which is the largest amount allowed by the IRS, to help defray the cost of tuition in your doctoral program. The Washington Post’s coverage on employer tuition reimbursement can help you explore the ins and outs of this potential financial aid option.

Military Student Aid

Through the GI Bill and other education benefits, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps those who have served in a branch of the military help pay their tuition, choose an educational program, obtain career counseling, and more. These benefits may also extend to qualified family members of veterans. The VA website provides helpful information on the post-9/11 GI Bill, the GI Bills for active duty and selected reserve members, and other VA education benefits for advanced training, certification, and education assistance programs.

Expert Advice on PhD and Doctorate Financial Aid

Your Guide to Doctoral Program Financial Aid (1)

Dr. Deniece Dortch is committed to getting students into and through college successfully. Hailed as a graduate school expert by NPR, she is the creator of the African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative and a visiting assistant professor at George Washington University. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Teachers College at Columbia University, SIT Graduate Institute, and Eastern Michigan University.

Q: What’s one the best resources a prospective PhD student can use to find funding opportunities?

Dr. Dortch: Funding opportunities are sometimes discipline specific. Talk to faculty within the department in which you are applying to ask about funding opportunities or the admissions team at the institution in which you are seeking funding. They are best equipped to discuss with you the types of opportunities available to you. A good place to start is the website of the university in which you’d like to apply.

Q: Are there any lesser known resources out there that graduate students often miss and are actually worth spending some time looking into?

Dr. Dortch: Yes, there are lesser known resources. Depending on the field of study and research interests, students should research their field specific association websites and look for scholarships and grants there. For example, for those interested in library sciences, try the American Library Association. Those interested in education should go to the American Education Research Association. If you are interested in the advancement of women and girls, try the American Association of University Women. I have mentioned only a few but there are plenty of associations that offer scholarships and grants to students at different stages of their academic journey.

Q: If a student realizes that their program does not offer any assistantships, what can they do to make sure they can afford to enter school and earn their degree?

Dr. Dortch: In the instances where students do not receive assistantship, they will have to find external funding sources. A good place to search is by beginning with their local librarian. Librarians are aware of and have access to a host of databases that may cover the types of grants, scholarships, and other funding opportunities.

In addition, many employers offer tuition assistance programs. These programs may have parameters such as one needs to be employed full-time or be employed for a particular length of time to take advantage. I have seen many students secure employment at institutions and then take advantage of the tuition benefit to further their career. When I was a graduate student, my non-profit employer paid for one class per semester for me, so as a result, I acquired fewer loans.

Q: What advice would you give to PhD and other doctoral students who decide to take out loans for school? Are there more financially friendly paths than others? Where should they look to weigh their options?

Dr. Dortch: Remember that while taking out loans for your education is an investment in yourself, try not to take out more than you actually need. Create a budget to determine what your expenses might be and incorporate some of the hidden expenses that doctoral students do not account for such as the cost of membership fees for associations and conferences registrations, travel (in a post-COVID situation), technology, and other research associated costs.

Another possibility, if your particular program allows, is attending school part-time or selecting a program that would allow you to keep your full-time job. While utilizing this option may lengthen your time to degree, doing so will allow you to take out fewer loans and potentially provide you with more financial freedom in the end.

Q: If a student is not offered enough institutional aid or receive the scholarships they were hoping, should they try to defer and try again next year?

Dr. Dortch: This is a tough one. Students aren’t usually privy to all of the reasons that they were not offered enough aid. Sometimes it will depend on how the students fared against the other candidates and other times, the institution just is not as competitive when it comes to funding. In a COVID era, institutions are definitely tightening their belts where funding is concerned. Deferring a year may or may not change your status or the funding allotted to your application.

I would suggest that students interview with multiple schools and weigh your offers before making a decision. Honestly, sometimes this requires that a student attend an institution that needs you more than you need them. That means attending an institution that might have a strong reputation but located in a place that may not be in your top five places to live. Therefore, sometimes to get a quality education at an institution that provides the most funding, one may have to sacrifice the comforts of home. So, if you are able to, apply broadly.

Pay attention to the news. Who knows what Dr. Jill Biden may do with her platform. Fellowships and grants can come from unexpected places.

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Q: Are there mistakes that you’ve seen students make in the past when it comes to applying for or using financial aid? If so, how can future doctorate students avoid making those same missteps?

  • Mistake #1: Waiting too long to apply for financial aid. Students will often miss priority deadlines because they have neglected to complete the FAFSA early.
  • Mistake #2: Not asking for enough money. Even if a student receives funding and sometimes that funding is not enough, pay attention to whether or not the funding is for nine or 12 months. If your funding package is for nine months, you may have to take out loans for the summer, so make sure that you get enough in loans to cover your summer expenses.
  • Mistake #3: using financial aid for expenses that are not school related. A friend of mine used their financial aid to purchase a washer and dryer for their parents and they did not live with their parents. While a washer and dryer is not the same as spending the money on a vacation, try to use the money for expenses that support your needs.

Q: Beyond tuition, what kinds of expenses out there should our readers plan to encounter when entering and completing a doctoral program?

Students can expect a host of expenses that may supplement a student’s education that university websites do not post. For example, doctoral students are required to conduct research and there are associated costs to conducting independent research such as travel costs, food costs, incentives for participants, technology costs, transcription service fees. Then once the data is collected and analyzed, there are costs associated with presenting that research to the masses such as conference registration fees, association membership fees, and transportation and lodging expenses. Most students submit their work locally, regionally, nationally or internationally and depending on what region of the world they intend on presenting their work dictates how expensive those particular expenditures may be. Students have to account for the cost of books, and course related fees.

One last thing to consider is that ultimately the students have some agency in how long it takes to graduate. Meaning, once students have completed their courses, passed their comprehensive exams and defended their dissertation proposal, the student determines how long the individual research process takes. During this time, students may have to take out loans in an effort to maintain student status. Be careful during this time because this is the moment where many of those costs that I mentioned earlier begin. It is easy to get off track, lose momentum, and stop your education altogether. Just remember to stay the course and remind yourself that you are almost done.

FAQs

Does FAFSA help with doctoral programs? ›

Just as with undergraduate school, filing a FAFSA is the first step in getting financial aid for graduate school. Most grad students are considered independent, which means you may not have to provide your parents' financial information on the application. Grants and loans are both available to graduate students.

Will financial aid pay for a doctorate? ›

Prospective PhD candidates have an abundance of financial aid options to help fund their graduate studies. Typically, students are fully funded by a combination of sources, including scholarships, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or student loans.

Should PhD students do FAFSA? ›

All students interested in educational loans are required to apply for financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application. Both applications are free. Whether or not students think they are eligible, we encourage you to apply for financial aid each year.

Do all PhD students get funding? ›

Do All PhD Students Get a Stipend? Not all PhD students get stipends. However, most students in traditional programs do get stipends because these are full-time programs that require full-time attention, if not more. It's very difficult to keep a job of any kind and be in a full-time doctoral program.

What is the student loan limit for a doctorate degree? ›

$138,500 for graduate or professional students-No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study. Notes: The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

How do most people pay for a PhD? ›

In a fully funded PhD program, the student typically receives full tuition reimbursement and a stipend to help cover the cost of living while pursuing the degree. Programs have varying funding requirements.

How much does a PhD cost? ›

On average, the total cost comes out to $32,846 per year, including tuition and living expenses. Students typically take 4-8 years to finish a Ph. D. program, so a doctoral degree can cost anywhere from $131,000-$263,000 before grants and assistantships.

Is Johns Hopkins PhD fully funded? ›

What kind of funding is available for PhD students? All admitted PhD students receive a scholarship that covers tuition and stipend funding for a limited amount of time unless they decline this in their application.

What is the downside of FAFSA? ›

Cons: The financial aid drops drastically from the second year onward. Students who can't afford to cover their ongoing tuition from their family's private funds turn to private student loans. Private loans have higher interest rates. This increases a student's total loan debt considerably.

Why do PhD students get funding? ›

PhD Stipends

Most PhD programs expect students to study full-time. In exchange, they're usually offered a stipend — a fixed sum of money paid as a salary — to cover the cost of housing and other living expenses.

Can PhD students take out loans? ›

Graduate students, including PhD students, can take out federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans to pay for their program. As unsubsidized loans, your interest will accrue and capitalize (be added to your principal) while you're in school — unless you make voluntary interest payments.

How much is a PhD stipend in the US? ›

A stipend is a non-repayable grant provided to doctoral students to help support their studies. What is the PhD stipend in USA? PhD students in USA can earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year depending on their institution, field of study, and location.

What percentage of PhD students get funding? ›

60 percent to 90 percent of students in PhD programs.

Do PhD students get summers off? ›

While graduate students don't really stick by a strict semester/trimester/quarter/summer/etc. schedule, it more or less dictates when you can take vacation. I never took more than a day or two off during Spring Break, and my summers were strictly time to get more work done (or to teach a summer class).

Can you have a PhD by 26? ›

It is possible to get a PhD by age 25, particularly if you graduate from college at 21 or 22. If it takes three or four years to get a PhD, you could graduate by 25.

How many Americans have a doctorate? ›

The number of doctoral degree holders has more than doubled to 4.5 million. Now, about 13.1 percent of U.S. adults have an advanced degree, up from 8.6 percent in 2000.

Do doctoral programs have GPA? ›

The minimum GPA for a doctoral program may start at 3.3. In addition to your overall score, the classes you took might be factored in as well. For example, admissions committees might prefer an applicant who took hard math and science classes and earned a 3.5 over one who took comparatively easy courses and got a 3.7.

Which university pays highest for PhD? ›

Four countries with the highest PhD stipend
  • Norway. Average PhD stipend (per annum): US54,935 US dollars. ...
  • Denmark. Average PhD stipend (per annum): US$54,636. ...
  • Switzerland. Average PhD stipend (per annum): US$53,434. ...
  • Finland. ...
  • 4 highest paying degrees for int'l students in the US. ...
  • 4 highest-paying computer science jobs.
Aug 24, 2022

How much does Harvard pay PhD students? ›

All incoming students, regardless of need and background, are awarded a fellowship which includes tuition, single-person health fees, and a living stipend ($47,586 for 2023-2024). In addition, a suite of Scholar Support fellowships are available to increase accessibility for scholars from all backgrounds.

Can you get a PhD without a Masters? ›

Yes, it is possible to earn a PhD without a master's degree. Though the traditional path entails completing a master's program before embarking on a doctorate, some schools and programs offer options to skip the master's entirely. Actually, in select cases, it's the preferred approach.

What is the difference between a PhD and a doctorate degree? ›

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a specific type of doctorate degree that focuses on research in a particular field. It is highly theoretical and involves extensive research to generate new knowledge. On the other hand, a doctorate degree is an umbrella term for any doctoral-level degree.

Is a PhD more expensive than an MD? ›

programs involve a significant investment because of the length of study, but Ph. D. programs that last longer than four years may cost more than many M.D. programs. The price of tuition, textbooks and other resources required also depends on whether students choose to attend a public or private university.

Is PhD cheaper than MD? ›

While pursuing an MD is a costly endeavor (often ranging from $200-400k), PhDs are usually fully funded and most students receive a generous living stipend. With this in mind, one would assume that most students would naturally gravitate to a PhD.

How do I find a fully funded PhD in USA? ›

PhD Funding in the USA
  1. American PhD funding – what you need to know first.
  2. The cost of a PhD in the USA.
  3. Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships.
  4. University PhD scholarships.
  5. Assistantships.
  6. National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
  7. Federal loans for US grad students.
Nov 2, 2022

Who funds PhD students? ›

Universities usually have funding of their own to offer potential PhD students. This might take the form of a small fee discount (often for alumni) or limited grant for living costs. Or it might be a full studentship funded out of the university's own research budget.

How much is John Hopkins PhD stipend? ›

The stipend minimum is equivalent to 12 months at $35,600. Admission offer letters cite specifics for each student and program.

What salary is too high for FAFSA? ›

There is no set income limit for eligibility to qualify for financial aid through. You'll need to fill out the FAFSA every year to see what you qualify for at your college. It's important to make sure you fill out the FAFSA as quickly as possible once it opens on October 1st for the following school year.

What are the 3 most common FAFSA mistakes? ›

You'll have a better chance at receiving money for college if you avoid several common mistakes when filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Such mistakes include not completing the form on time, not filling it out correctly, or forgetting to sign and submit.

What is the most FAFSA pays? ›

Federal financial aid limits
Maximum amount (2022-23)
Direct Subsidized Loan$3,500 to $5,500 per year, depending on year in school
Direct Unsubsidized Loan$5,500 to $20,500 per year, depending on year in school and dependency status
Direct PLUS LoanTotal cost of attendance
Federal work-studyVaries by school
4 more rows
Feb 7, 2023

Why are PhD stipends so low? ›

Speaking from a science and engineering perspective, all academics, including PhD students, postdocs, and professors, are underpaid for how much they work and what they do. The reason is that there is very little public demand for it, and thus there is limited funding allocated toward academic research.

Why don't PhD students pay tuition? ›

All US PhD programs have “with funding” acceptances that gives the student a stipend for tuition, fees, and cost of living. You can think of a PhD with funding as a job with great educational benefits, so when you apply, you would apply for financial aid at the same time.

How long does it take to pay off a PhD? ›

Post-Graduate Degree

For example, a student pursuing their doctoral degree will take roughly 13 and a half years to repay their student debt from both a public and private non-profit college, whereas a private for-profit institution loan on average takes over 38 years to complete.

Can you be denied a PhD? ›

PhD applications get rejected all the time for many reasons. After so much hard work, this is not the outcome you wanted. But rejection is a part of the PhD application process.

How can I get a PhD without debt? ›

Here are eight tips that can help you get through grad school debt-free.
  1. Find Programs With Research or Teaching Assistantships. ...
  2. Merit Scholarships. ...
  3. Look for a One-Year Program. ...
  4. Get a Part-Time Job. ...
  5. Consider Attending a Public School. ...
  6. Find a Niche Program. ...
  7. Work First, Learn Later. ...
  8. Find a Job With Tuition Reimbursement.

What is the hardest part of FAFSA? ›

For many, the most difficult part about filling out the FAFSA is entering in the financial information. But now, thanks to a partnership with the IRS, students and parents who are eligible can automatically transfer the necessary tax info into the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Are doctoral programs worth it? ›

In most cases, completing a PhD program is enough for others in your field to consider you an expert. Pursuing and completing a PhD shows all future employers you know your industry and you have the fortitude to work hard.

Who pays you for a PhD? ›

The typical stipend is less than what one might earn in the workforce, but it offers some breathing room along the way to a PhD. Stipends can be paid by the university through teaching or research assistantships, or paid by an external source through a fellowship.

Can you do a PhD without a Masters? ›

Yes, you can get a PhD without first obtaining a master's degree. A number of universities offer direct entry to PhD programs from undergraduate or bachelor degree studies. In some cases, specific schools or programs may prefer that applicants hold a master's degree.

Is $100,000 too much for FAFSA? ›

You may have heard the myth that if your family earns a certain amount of money, then you might not be eligible for student aid. But here's the truth: There's no FAFSA income limit, and it's possible to receive financial aid regardless of your family's income level.

Which is easier doctorate or PhD? ›

A doctorate degree is not easier than a PhD. They're different and both take hard work. It would be best to research the area of study you are pursuing. A PhD demands years of original research, while a doctorate degree looks at an existing body of knowledge and looks into theories created by this knowledge.

How much does a PhD increase your salary? ›

Ph. D. holders earn a median income of $97,916 per year, while those with professional doctorates earn $96,772 per year. This amounts to an approximately 25% increase compared to master's degree holders and a 218% increase compared to those with less than a high school diploma.

Which is better doctoral or PhD? ›

Is a PhD Higher Than a Professional Doctorate? No, a PhD is not a higher degree than a professional doctorate. If you're wondering what's better than a PhD, both PhDs and professional doctorates are the highest level of college education that can be earned. Both degrees are doctoral degrees.

Is 30 too late to finish PhD? ›

That being said, it is important to consider how much time you will need to dedicate to your studies, as well as other commitments such as work and family. If you feel like you can manage both, then 30 and above is absolutely not too old for a PhD!

How fast can you pay off 100k student loans? ›

While the standard repayment term for federal loans is 10 years, it takes anywhere between 13 and 20 years on average to repay $100k in student loans. Here are some different scenarios to consider, depending on your financial situation and goals.

How long to pay off $40,000 student loan? ›

Average Student Loan Payoff Time After Consolidation
Total Student Loan DebtRepayment Period
$7,500-$10,00012 years
$10,000-$20,00015 years
$20,000-$40,0020 years
$40,000-$60,00025 years
2 more rows

Videos

1. Miami University - Guide to the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
(Miami University)
2. How to get into Ph.D in the USA as an International Student | Full Funding + Stipend
(WeDesified)
3. "Complete Guidelines on PhD Courses" - By Dr.Devika Bhatnagar
(Dr. Devika Bhatnagar)
4. CV for PhD Application: Resume Guide 🎓
(Kickresume Shorts)
5. How to Study for FREE at University of Toronto | 100% Financial Aid for International Students
(Crazy Medusa)
6. How to get graduate assistantships | Beginner's guide to teaching and research assistantships
(Sachin Pullil)

References

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