Financial aid for graduate students may be available in the form of assistantships, fellowships, or student loans.  The first step to be considered for financial aid at the University of Iowa is to be admitted to the University. Admission information is available on the Office of Admissions website.

Graduate students are primarily offered student loans, but there may be additional funding available through the Graduate College & specific graduate departments.

Graduate students may be eligible for financial aid if they are enrolled at least half-time (five semester hours during the academic year or three semester hours during the summer session) in a program leading to a degree at The University of Iowa. Students admitted as nondegree students may be eligible for some of the programs listed below.

To apply for financial aid funds that are awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA), you must follow the application procedures provided in our Step-By-Step Process web page.

Types of Graduate Student Financial Aid Awarded by UI OSFA

Half-Time or Full-Time Status Requirement

In order to be eligible for the Federal Direct Student Loans and/or the Work-Study Program, or to maintain deferment status on the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Family Education Loans, or Federal Direct Student Loans, federal financial aid regulations state that a graduate student must be registered at least "half-time," and in some cases "full-time." The University of Iowa definition of half-time for a graduate student is a minimum registration of five semester hours. If you are registered for less than five hours, and you are working on your dissertation or thesis or are doing research toward fulfillment of your degree requirements, you may be considered a half-time or full-time student.

Federal regulations state that a half-time or full-time graduate student is "carrying a half-time or full-time academic work-load as determined by the institution according to its own standards and practices." If you meet these requirements, obtain from your academic department the Half-Time Equivalency Form. Your department will need to complete the form and submit it to the Registrar's Office. This form must be on file at the Registrar's Office before any financial aid can be applied to your University account.

Although your academic department may consider you a half-time or full-time student, this does not mean that the Office of Student Financial Aid will use half or full-time tuition to determine your cost of attendance. Your cost of attendance is based on the actual tuition that you will pay. When applying for financial aid, be sure to inform the Office of Student Financial Aid of your actual registration hours.

Special Note to Fellowship, Research and Teaching Assistantship and Scholar/Trainee Recipients

If you are receiving departmental or Graduate College tuition assistance, a fellowship, and/or scholar/trainee income, your financial aid eligibility may be affected.

Nonresident financial aid recipients who receive resident classification for tuition purposes as a result of their fellowship and/or assistantship appointment may have their financial aid decreased due to the difference in cost of attendance for resident and nonresident students.

  • Departmental or Graduate College tuition assistance is considered financial aid and; therefore, will reduce your financial need during the academic year in which the assistance is received.
  • Fellowship income is considered a financial aid resource since you are not required to work in the same way as a student receiving an assistantship.  Fellowship income will reduce eligibility for financial aid.
  • Research (RA) and Teaching (TA) Assistantship income will not affect your financial aid eligibility because the income is considered employment earnings.
  • Scholar/Trainee recipients who are employed may or may not have the income count against financial aid, depending on whether or not they are required to work to receive payment.