Federal Aid for Graduate Students

Federal Grants

The government provides grants based on your financial need. To determine your eligibility, you must complete the FAFSA form and get your Student Aid Index (SAI) score. The lower your SAI score, the more likely you are to qualify for federal grants.

The amount of grant money depends on your SAI and if you are a full-time or part-time student. To keep getting this aid, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements each term.

federal work study

Federal work-study is a financial aid program that lets you earn money by working part-time on campus or with a qualified off-campus employer.

To be eligible, you need to complete the FAFSA application. If you qualify, you'll see a work-study award amount listed on your financial aid offer letter.

Important: This award is not cash credited to your student account. It is just the maximum you are allowed to earn through a work-study job. If you’re hired for a job, you will receive paychecks to your personal bank account based on the hours you work, which can be used to pay tuition or other expenses.

You can search and apply for open work-study positions through the student employment website. Jobs may range from office work to research assistant to campus services. The work-study program is a great way to offset college costs while gaining valuable experience.

teach grant

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires you agree to complete a teaching service obligation as a condition for receiving the grant, and if you don't complete the service obligation, the TEACH Grant will be converted to a loan that you must repay, with interest.

HRSA Nursing Scholarship

USF has received a $3.25 million grant to provide scholarships to 25 nursing students through June 2025. The goal is to increase diversity and get more nurses working in underserved communities.

You may qualify if you are an African American, Latinx, or Vietnamese student who faced economic or educational challenges.

The scholarship is $13,000 per semester or $26,000 per year. To apply, you must:

  • Be a current or incoming full-time nursing student
  • Have at least a 2.9 GPA
  • Have at least 2 semesters left in the program
  • Have at least $26,000 in unmet financial need
  • If you meet the criteria, you'll get an email inviting you to apply. The application includes short essays about your situation and how the funds would help your nursing goals.

If selected, you must reapply each year and keep a 2.9 GPA. You'll be matched with a mentor and must meet monthly. After graduating, you must work in an underserved healthcare setting.

Federal Loans

Federal student loans are loans offered by the federal government to help students pay for college. After you graduate, you’ll pay back the money you borrowed, with interest. Federal loans are available to students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial need is not always required. Federal loan interest rates are typically lower than private loan rates, meaning you’ll have less to pay back after you graduate.

Learn more about origination fees and interest rates

Learn more about federal loan limits

Types of federal loans

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Are non-need-based loans thus the interest will begin accruing on these loans immediately after disbursement and will continue for the life of the loan. Please be aware: Repayment for federal student loans typically begins after you are no longer enrolled at least half time and/or when you complete your program, whichever comes first
  • Graduate PLUS Loan: Graduate students can apply for PLUS loans to help pay for the cost of attending USF. The annual limit is the student's Cost of Attendance, as shown in MyUsf Student Self Service, minus any estimated or accepted financial aid. PLUS, loans require a credit check and sometimes a cosigner for approval. Interest begins to accrue on PLUS loans immediately after disbursement.