Graduate Studies

Financial Support for Graduate Students

USM offers a variety of financial support to help students pay their graduate education. For selected students, funds may include graduate assistantships, tuition waivers, and scholarships.

Guide to Financial Support

Graduate students at the University of Southern Maine can finance their education in a variety of ways, including federal financial aid, scholarships, and external tuition support. This is a guide to financial support provided by the Office of Graduate Studies at USM and other important sources. Please note: If you intend to apply for scholarships or financial aid, you will need to complete the FAFSA

Graduate students receiving financial support from federal or university resources must be matriculated in a graduate degree program at USM, enrolled in at least six graduate credits that apply toward your degree (500 level or above) and must also maintain a 3.0 GPA each semester the award is utilized. In addition, students must meet the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements in order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid, as outlined on the Student Financial Services website: You must be offered admission to a USM graduate degree program before an offer of support can be made, and you must be matriculated before the support is disbursed. 

Note: Note: students enrolled in Online Maine programs are not eligible for USM scholarships.

Graduate students can apply for Federal Student Aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at beginning October 1st for the following academic year. Graduate students are offered Federal Direct Loans from the Department of Education. Students may also indicate that they are interested in work-study funds on the FAFSA to be considered for Graduate Aide Work Study funding.  The Federal Student Aid offer is initially based on the enrollment plan of 9-11 credits per semester for the fall and spring. Each academic year students should navigate to MaineStreet to Accept/Decline Awards to review and accept what they would like from the financial aid offer.  Then, students should report if their enrollment plan differs from the standard 9-11 credits per semester, or if they are taking summer courses, for the financial aid package to be adjusted.  Students should report scholarships and tuition assistance from USM or outside sources, as this may impact federal aid eligibility.  If a student is awarded tuition assistance part way through a semester, that tuition assistance may reduce student loan monies already processed.  Please connect with your assigned financial aid counselor for questions about the impact of tuition assistance:


Graduate Assistantships are funded by resources from the Office of Graduate Studies, academic departments, grants, contracts, and non-academic departments. Academic programs and others hire new and continuing students to fill positions through their established selection processes. Graduate assistants may be hired to perform research, assist with teaching, or engage in other meaningful work that supports the scholarly mission of USM. Graduate assistantships may be awarded in 10 hour increments with the following minimum stipend requirements: 20 hours/week - $9,000 per academic year ($1,000/month), 10 hours/week - $4,500 per academic year ($500/month). Some positions may also include a scholarship. Find more information HERE.

The easiest way to identify which schoalrships you are eligible to apply for is through USM's scholarship portal. Here you can find both internal and external scholarships, special interest scholarships, program-specific scholarships and more. 

Note: Accelerated online programs in TESOL, Special Education, Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Education are not eligible for USM scholarships.

August 15

Payment or enrollment in a payment plan for fall

October 1

FAFSA application period begins for federal financial aid for the next academic year
Deadline to waive USM Student Health Insurance Plan for current academic year

January 5

Payment or enrollment in a payment plan for spring

May 10

Payment or enrollment in a payment plan for summer


View financial aid package for next academic year
Accept/decline new financial aid package and report enrollment plan


Apply for department specific graduate assistantships with academic programs, and non-academic department assistantships through the Office of Graduate Studies website


Apply for scholarships through the scholarship portal

Office of Graduate Studies Scholarship Opportunities

The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) awards several scholarships each year. Both new and returning students are eligible to apply, however there may be additional eligibility criteria for some awards.

This award is for degree-seeking graduate students at USM. Scholarships are awarded in variable amounts of up to $3,000 per academic year, and are based on a holistic review taking into consideration financial need, academic performance, and contributions to the USM community. 

To qualify, students must:

  • be a matriculating student in a master's or doctoral degree at USM
  • be in good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • be enrolled in at least 6 graduate credits per semester

The application for the 2021-2022 academic year is closed.

In order to receive the Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship students must be matriculated in a graduate degree program that prepares students for careers in mental health -- which may include, but is not limited to, nursing, counseling, and social work.

Eligible recipients shall: 

  • Be a Maine resident
  • Have demonstrated financial need
  • Be matriculated in a graduate degree program that prepares students for careers in mental health -- which may include, but is not limited to, nursing, counseling, and social work


  • 2nd year graduate students with demonstrated commitment and potential
  • Students who plan to work in the public sector (community mental health) rather than the rivate sector
  • Students participating in classroom setting rather than distance learning