Financial Assistance

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Applicants with outstanding academic credentials and appropriate experience are considered for financial assistance to support their graduate studies. Application for financial assistance may be made by indicating on the admission application the desire to be considered for financial aid. Credentials submitted with the application are used in making decisions regarding financial aid. U.S. and international applicants receive equal consideration for most awards. The ability to communicate in English is an important consideration in the competition for financial aid.

The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and the University of Illinois offers two types of financial assistance: graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.

Both fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and many include a waiver of tuition and coverage of some university fees. Stipend rates and the value of waivers may be obtained from the department upon request. The stipend and fee waiver may vary in amount according to the nature of the appointment. In addition, students who are supported with qualifying governmental or privately funded fellowships that do not include a waiver may be considered for a waiver of tuition and some fees.

To be eligible for financial assistance that includes a tuition waiver, applicants must:

  • Indicate on the admission application that they wish to be considered for financial aid
  • Be admitted to and enroll in the Graduate College

Recipients are selected on the basis of:

  • Academic performance
  • Disciplinary interests, experience, goals / objectives
  • Recommendations / references
  • Results of the GRE and English proficiency (if applicable) examinations
  • The writing sample (Ph.D. students)
  • Match with donor intent (if applicable)
  • Timeliness of application

The department is unable to provide financial aid for all deserving candidates. Awards are made on a competitive basis. It is particularly important for applicants interested in financial aid to apply early and complete all application steps in a timely manner.

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate fellowships are financial awards designed to reward the most outstanding applicants. Fellowship recipients have no service requirement and can devote full attention to their studies and research. They must register for a full-time course of study.

The Department offers fellowships funded by internal resources including generous gifts to the Department, or by successfully nominating students for competitive College and Campus Fellowships. The Graduate College Fellowship Office maintains a listing of fellowship opportunities.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships require the student to assist faculty in teaching, research, or outreach activities in connection with the financial award. The service time expectations are proportional to the appointment and usually do not exceed 20 hours per week (one-half time) on average.

Assistants appointed for teaching must have a good command of English. To be eligible for a teaching assistantship, all non-native English speaking graduate students must provide evidence of spoken English language proficiency by submitting

  • a TOEFL (iBT) speaking sub-section score of at least 24,
  • an IELTS (academic test) speaking sub-section score of at least 8, or
  • a Test of Spoken English (TSE) or SPEAK test (administered by the University of Illinois) score of at least 50.