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Rackham Graduate School will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday from 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 25 to 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 29.

The University of Michigan provides many sources of financial assistance to help students meet educational and living expenses. Whether you are a prospective student, a current student, a master’s or doctoral student, we want to make sure you know about the funding available for your graduate education.

The nature of funding varies widely. Opportunities highlighted here range from large competitive fellowships that pay tuition and stipends, to targeted grants that assist with foreign language study, dissertation research, and conference travel, to emergency grants and awards designed to help students manage student loan debt.

Key Types of Funding

Graduate Programs

The graduate program is the most important source of funding for the majority of graduate students. Types of assistance and availability of funding vary by graduate program. Nominations for program fellowships, assistantships, and awards are made through the graduate program.

When you are admitted to U-M, your program may offer you a funding package (this is more common for doctoral students than for master’s students). Funding packages may include fellowships, teaching (GSI) appointments, or other department-level funding. In addition to funds allocated to graduate programs by Rackham, programs may have their own pool of funds from U-M, federal research grants, and other sources to be used specifically for their students.


Depending on the appointment fraction, Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) receive tuition grants under the terms of the University’s collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO). Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRAs) with appropriate appointments receive tuition grants according to University policy.

If you are enrolled in a doctoral program, GSI or GSRA positions may be part of your funding package and your department will contact you about applying for a position. Otherwise, interested graduate students seeking possible GSI/GSSA appointments should visit U-M Careers to view current openings. For GSRA positions, contact departments related to your research interests or degree and ask your advisors if they are aware of any available positions.

Federal Aid for U.S. Citizens

If you haven’t already done so, apply for Federal Financial Aid online by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate students who apply will be considered for Federal Loan and Work-Study programs. For more information, visit the U-M Office of Financial Aid.

Rackham Administered Funding

Rackham distributes more than $50 million in funding to graduate students each year. About three-fourths of that is allocated to graduate programs to support students’ funding packages. The other roughly 25 percent is distributed through Rackham administered fellowship and grant competitions. Students can apply directly for some of these awards, while others require a nomination from your graduate program. Visit the Rackham funding page for information and application deadlines.

External Grants and Fellowships

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to seek funding from sources external to the University of Michigan. Rackham partners with graduate programs to provide cost sharing to ensure that students who compete successfully for selected external awards are better off than would be the case without the external award. Several specific fellowships are included in the funding resources for Master’s and Doctoral students, but the list of additional resources for finding funding provides links to search tools for external fellowships.

U-M Campus Units

There are a number of units on campus that either provide funding directly to students or may be able to connect you to additional funding opportunities. Some specific grants and fellowships are included in the funding resources for Master’s and Doctoral students, while information about relevant units can be found in the list of additional resources for finding funding.

Last updated: May 1, 2018 - 1:53pm