Most universities offer financial aid to students based on the merit. There are several factors like SOP, GRE score, undergraduate GPA,recommendation letters that are taken into account while considering the financial aid application. The type of assistance offered depends on the graduate program, department and the university. for e.g, there are more chances of financial aid in Engineering and Biological Sciences program than in Management and Humanities program.
Tuition Waiver/ Scholarships
Some students may receive tuition waiver wherein the student is exempted from the tuition expenses. However other expenses have to borne by the student.If a student possess outstanding academic ability then he may get full scholarship that would pay for student entire living expenses.
Some students also receive financial aid in the form of assistant-ship like TA, RA wherein a student has to work for 20 hours a week. The work involves teaching undergraduate students and carrying out research.The student gets the stipend along with tuition allowance. To be eligible for assistant-ship, you need to demonstrate strong teaching and research abilities. If you have teaching experience in the subject offered at an undergraduate level, there are more chances of getting teaching assistant-ship. Similarly if you have research interest in a field parallel to the department and faculty then your chances of Research assistant-ship increases. You need to find out the faculty carrying out research in your area of interest and then demonstrate that you possess in-depth knowledge of the subject and have excellent research skills. Search on the university website and contact the professor by mail. As a T.A you can earn a stipend between 7500$- 15000$. In addition to financial reward, you will gain in-depth subject knowledge. Also you will get to work with the faculty members and your interaction with them will increase.This will add to your future success.
The responsibilities of TA may include one or more of these:
1. Teaching or assisting a professor in a course
2. Holding lab sessions
3. Holding office hours and meeting with the students
4. Grading undergraduate student papers and exams.
Research Assistant-ship, requires a student to assist a Professor in his research activities.The opportunity to conduct research in close partnership with faculty is very beneficial to the student, and often leads directly into thesis research.
There are more chances of getting financial aid if a student has
1. Excellent GRE Score.
2. Outstanding SOP.
3. Impressive Recommendation letters.
4. A proof of the paper that has been published.
5. Teaching experience or research experience.
6. high undergraduate GPA.
Even if you are not able to get assistant-ship at the time of admission, you can get it after a semester or two. So , if you have funds available to cover expenses for an year, you can plan to pursue education abroad.