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.

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. 

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 tuition assistance. 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. 

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

January 10

First round deadline for Office of Graduate Studies Scholarship Application

March 10

Second round deadline for Office of Graduate Studies Scholarship Application

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

Graduate Studies Scholarship Opportunites

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. 

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. Students may submit their scholarship application along with the required documents to be considered for all OGS scholarships. Awards are contingent upon annual available funding and range from a one to two year award. Scholarships are awarded in variable cash amounts up to $3,000 per academic year, or in the form of tuition assistance that are awarded in flexible credit increments up to eighteen credits per academic year. Students must be registered for at least six graduate credits and accept the award by the deadline in their award letter for funds to be distributed. Otherwise, funds will be retracted and redistributed. 

In order to receive the Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship students must be matriculated into either the MS in Nursing program, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration or the MSW program; be in the second year of their program with a demonstrated financial need; and be a Maine resident. Recipients must be interested in working in the adult mental health field. This scholarship is awarded for one year.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Southern Maine has generously created the $10,000 Expanding Horizons Scholarship for non-degree graduate students. 

In the spirit of stimulating and supporting lifelong learning, this fund is designed for individuals who want to explore graduate study at USM. 

Ten $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually.

Applications are accepted for the Fall or Spring semesters. To be eligible, applicants must: 

  • have an undergraduate degree
  • be first-time graduate students at USM
  • have not applied or been accepted to a graduate program at USM

To apply, please complete the online application

The deadline for the Spring 2019 semester is January 15, 2019

For questions, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 207-780-4872 or