Funding for Graduate Students

While most U.S. federal financial aid is restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, international graduate students may apply to other funding sources. For a U.S. university to issue an I-20 or DS-2019, international students must provide evidence of the ability to pay for all tuition and living expenses.

Graduate Funding Opportunities at WMU 

  1. Graduate appointments 
  2. Grants and fellowships
  3. Awards and scholarships 

Graduate Appointments

WMU provides opportunities for fellowships, associateships and assistantships for students planning to pursue graduate study. Collectively, these awards are known as graduate appointments. Graduate appointees are first and foremost students. As such, their most important task is to complete their degree requirements in a timely fashion; this is the primary expectation of the University. International graduate students should contact their academic department directly to inquire about the availability of graduate appointments. Information is also provided by the Graduate College and the University’s Career and Student Employment Services website

Graduate appointments are funded through state appropriations and federal, state, local and private grants for three principal reasons. First, employment of graduate students in teaching, research, and non-teaching positions during their graduate education encourages and supports their participation in these major functions of university life and thereby strengthens the quality of the students’ educational experience. Second, appointments provide direct financial support to outstanding students who are essential to the development of quality graduate programs. Third, graduate students provide valuable and necessary services to the university in their roles as appointees. 

Applications for graduate appointments are due by February 15, and appointments are usually made by April 1 for students planning to enroll in the fall semester. Appointments are often renewable, except for Graduate College Fellowships and Dissertation Fellowships.

International students with a graduate assistantship should contact their department to inquire about special funding to cover the International Student Fee. Academic colleges, not the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, disburses applicable funds to international students who hold a graduate assistantship.

Learn more about graduate appointments  

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Grants and Fellowships

The following grants and fellowships are available through the WMU Graduate College:


  • Graduate Student Research Fund
  • Graduate Student Travel Fund


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Awards and scholarships  

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education and can be awarded upon various criteria that might include academic merit and demonstration of financial need. Two common scholarships awarded to graduate students are:

  1. George and Beatrice Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize
  2. Western Michigan University Dames Endowed Scholarship

For complete information about all options, visit or call the Graduate College at (269) 387-8212, or visit the Graduate College’s website.

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