Financial Aid Overview

Tuition rates for both undergraduate and graduate programs have risen steadily since the 1980s. And unfortunately, year on year tuition increases and state financial aid cuts have been particularly sharp since 2004. Today’s students are borrowing more and saving less than students who graduated decades before them.

While some level of student debt may be unavoidable, it is critical to thoroughly research scholarships, grants and financial aid awards before enrolling in a program. Don’t forget that public health is a high-demand field that encompasses dozens of different academic fields. Particularly at the graduate level, public health students can often secure a sizable amount of school-sponsored or specialization-specific aid.

Average Tuition at all Institutions, 2012-2013 Academic Year
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Undergraduate & Graduate
Undergraduate $20,234
Master’s $16,435
Doctoral $16,435

Finding a way to pay for college can be daunting. Fortunately, there are multiple funding opportunities you can take advantage of as a prospective student. It is important to take the search for college funding just as seriously as the applications process, to offset expenses with scholarships, grants, teaching assistant roles, and loans that you might qualify for. The following sections describe ways to secure funding through grants, scholarships, and loans, so that you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for school.

Step One: File Your FAFSA

The first and most important step toward securing funding for your bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree is to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you’ve filed a FAFSA and received your Student Aid Report (SAR), you’ll automatically be considered for all major sources of federal student aid, as well as scholarships and grants offered by your school, if it’s a public state university.

Application Timeframe

The FAFSA application period opens each year on January 1st. It’s important to file your FAFSA as soon as possible, since student aid is disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Income Estimations

You can still submit a FAFSA even if you haven’t filed your annual tax return. You can use FAFSA’s Income Estimator to get an approximate value for your adjusted gross income. Once you have filed your tax return, go back and update your FAFSA with the correct information. If you are still considered a dependent, you will also need to obtain income information from your parents and guardians to calculate family contributions.

FAFSA Awards

Completing the FAFSA determines your eligibility for certain federal loans and grants. It also helps you qualify for need-based scholarships at the school or schools of your choice. While scholarships vary from school to school, the types of federal loans and undergraduate grants remain largely the same. We have provided a table that breaks down who is eligible for each type of aid, the maximum amount of funds you can receive from each, how long the grace period for repayment is and what the current annual percentage rate is.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • Undergraduate:
    • $31,000 over course of undergraduate education
    • Payments deferred during enrollment and for 6 months after graduation
    • 3.86%-4.66% interest rate
  • Graduate:
    • Up to $20,500/year
    • Responsible for paying interest during period of loan
    • 5.41%-6.21% interest rate
  • Doctoral:
    • Ineligible

Direct Subsidized Loans

  • Undergraduate:
    • Up to $23,000 over course of education
    • Payments deferred during enrollment and for 6 months after graduation
    • 3.86%-4.66% interest rate
  • Graduate:
    • Ineligible
  • Doctoral:
    • Ineligible

Direct PLUS Loans

  • Undergraduate:
    • Ineligible
  • Graduate:
    • Up to cost of attendance
    • Payments deferred during enrollment and for 6 months after graduation
    • 6.41%-7.21% interest rate
  • Doctoral:
    • Up to cost of attendance
    • Payments deferred during enrollment and for 6 months after graduation
    • 6.41%-7.21% interest rate

Federal Perkins Loans

  • Undergraduate:
    • Up to $5,500/year from school
    • Payment deferred for nine months after graduation
    • 5% fixed interest rate
  • Graduate:
    • Up to $8,000/year from school
    • Payment deferred for 9 months after graduation
    • 5% fixed interest rate
  • Doctoral:
    • Up to $8,000/year from school
    • Payment deferred for nine months after graduation
    • 5% fixed interest rate

Federal Pell Grant

  • Undergraduate:
    • Up to $5,730/year for no more than six years
    • Does not need to be repaid
  • Graduate:
    • Ineligible
  • Doctoral:
    • Ineligible

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant

  • Undergraduate:
    • $100-$4,000/year based on need and available funds at school
    • Does not need to be repaid
  • Graduate:
    • Ineligible
  • Doctoral:
    • Ineligible

Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant

  • Undergraduate:
    • Up to $5,312/year
    • Cannot qualify for Federal Pell Grant
    • Does not need to be repaid
  • Graduate:
    • Ineligible
  • Doctoral:
    • Ineligible

Step Two: Find and Apply for Alternative Funding

The thought of being saddled with student loan debt in order to earn your degree in public health may affect your decision to attend school. Fortunately, there are scholarships, fellowships and grants available to incentivize students to earn advanced education in this high-demand field.

Our scholarship database can help you narrow down your funding options. Filter awards best suited to you by choosing one or more of the following criteria:

  • Area of Study
  • Renewability
  • Minimum GPA
  • Enrollment Level
  • School Sponsorship Status
  • Race
  • State

Remember, most scholarships are school-specific, so it’s important to read all eligibility and application requirement details closely to ensure you do not waste your time on something you cannot be awarded.

Scholarship Finder

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Narrow Your Results

  • Enrollment Levels

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Scholarship information licensed from Wintergreen Orchard House.