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. Global Education Graduate Merit Scholarship (2024)
  4. Other 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  

Grants and Fellowships

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


  • Graduate Student Research Fund
  • Graduate Student Travel Fund


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.

Global Education graduate Merit scholarship - fall 2024

The Haenicke Institute for Global Education awards the Global Education Graduate Merit Scholarship to international students admitted Fall semester 2024. The Global Education Graduate Merit Scholarship is a scholarship awarded to international graduate students based on the criteria of merit and the student’s total estimated cost balance. Scholarship applies only to WMU academic tuition.

Scholarship Value:

Up to $10,000 per year (disbursed in two installments for fall and spring semesters) 

Maximum Duration:

Up to four semesters or until graduation, whichever comes first

Deadline to Apply:

February 15 (Complete application includes transcripts, test scores (including GRE/GMAT) as required by the program/department, recommendations, writing sample, statement of purpose, copy of resume/CV, financial statement and signed sponsorship letter/affidavit of support, proof of English Proficiency, and copy of passport or government identification). A separate application for scholarship is not needed.

Award Notification:

April 1

Acceptance Deadline:

April 15

Note: Terms of acceptance are provided in award letters.


Initial F-1 or J-1 international graduate student applicants admitted for Fall 2024

Minimum GPA: 3.5/4.0 (WMU will convert all international grading systems to a 4-point scale)


Visa holders other than F-1/J-1 international student

Students fully funded for tuition through Governmental/NGO scholarships or fully funded WMU assistantships.

International graduate students applying for and enrolled in fully online degree programs (programs comprised of all online courses)

Terms and Conditions (effective Fall 2024):

The Global Education Graduate Merit Scholarship is a scholarship awarded to international graduate students based on the criteria of merit and the student's total estimated cost balance.  The Global Education Graduate Merit Scholarship offers annual award of up to $10,000 per year disbursed in up to 4 semesters for international graduate students admitted Fall 2024.

Award Duration

Up to four semesters or until graduation, whichever comes first.

Scholarship Payments

Scholarship will be credited to your student account in two equal installments for fall and spring.  Scholarship disbursement is contingent upon full time enrollment. 

Scholarship applies only to WMU academic tuition.  This is not a cash payment scholarship.  In the event the account balance of the student's tuition is less than the scholarship award amount on the date of fund disbursement, then the remaining scholarship value is forfeited for that semester.  If the student is funded from another scholarship source, then that scholarship will apply first, and the HIGE Global Education Graduate Scholarship will apply last toward the remaining tuition balance, if any.

Scholarship funds will cover only academic credits, not any ESL/CELCIS credits during a Pathway Program.  

Note: International graduate students enrolled in fully online degree programs (programs comprised of all online courses will not be eligible for the scholarship.

Payment Adjustments After Drop/Add Period:

If your enrollment drops below full time after your scholarship has been paid, your scholarship for that semester will be canceled and billed back to your WMU student account. See exceptions herein for students with approved SEVIS Reduced Course Load.

Renewal Criteria

The scholarship will be automatically renewed to the next year if you:

·         Earned a minimum of 3.0 GPA during the previous academic year
·         Maintained full time enrollment in each of the fall and spring semesters (or approved SEVIS RCL)
·         Continued to hold active F-1 or J-1 student status
·         Continued to hold nonresident status for tuition purposes
·         Are not otherwise fully funded by a scholarship through third parties or a full assistantship award

The scholarship is usually posted approximately a week prior to the beginning of the semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Please monitor your semester grades, and the total credit hours you had successfully completed in each academic year. If you are NOT maintaining the required GPA or credit hour requirements, the scholarship will be suspended. You will have one opportunity to explain your deficiency and appeal for re‐instatement of your scholarship. Following is the appeal process:

·         You must contact International Student and Scholar Services (I3S) to learn the procedure to submit an appeal form
·         An appeal committee will review the documents. You will be notified of the committee’s decision approximately one week after the appeal form and supporting documents are received in the I3S office.
·         If you choose not to appeal, your appeal is denied, or you choose to stop attending WMU for a fall and/or spring term, your scholarship will not be reinstated.

Changes in Enrollment

Please notify International Student and Scholar Services of your plans in writing if you will be:

·         Enrolled in less than 6 credit hours for academic reasons (i.e. approved Reduced Course Load for dissertation track, graduation semester or other extenuating circumstances)
·         Taking a leave of absence for one or more fall/spring semesters.
·         Scholarship re-instatement may be approved upon return from Leave of Absence only if the absence was for unavoidable official reasons or due to medical problems.

Termination of Scholarship

You will no longer be eligible for this scholarship if:

·         You leave WMU or transfer to another college or university or are academically dismissed
·         You fail to meet any of the renewal criteria above
·         You fail to timely return to WMU on completion of a mandatory government military service for which you applied and received an approved absence from I3S. (Requests for notice of departure for absence must contain a beginning and end date for consideration for approval by I3S. Failure to timely return by the next semester will result in termination of the scholarship).

Terms and Conditions Subject to Change

Eligibility and award amounts as published here represent currently approved scholarship amounts. However, Western Michigan University reserves the right to amend the scholarship terms and conditions without prior notice, upon approval by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Awards of scholarships are contingent upon available funds.

Global Engagement Component

By accepting this award you become eligible to participate in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education’s (HIGE) global engagement promotion and recruitment activities, for which you will be contacted by the HIGE staff.

other scholarships

 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