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Student Funding Policies

All students in The Graduate School receiving financial support must be registered full time during the quarter(s) in which they receive funding, including summer. Questions about the following policies should be directed to the Graduate Student Funding team.

Regulations Governing Recipients of University Assistance

Newly admitted applicants must use the online application tool to officially accept or decline the University's offer of admission. The act of accepting admission also signifies the acceptance of the University's financial award.

All recipients of University funding must meet the following conditions. If any of the conditions specified below are violated, financial assistance may be withdrawn by The Graduate School.

  1. Submit to The Graduate School official transcripts listing all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework undertaken and degrees awarded.
  2. Continuously register as a full-time graduate student.
  3. Maintain at least a "B" average each quarter.
  4. Keep records free of incomplete grades.
  5. Refrain from remunerative work, unless a request for permission to work is approved by The Graduate School.
  6. Notify the Graduate Student Funding office and home department (via email) of other sources of support, such as an external award, traineeship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, School of Professional Studies teaching, or other fellowship. In cases where alternative funding is available, The Graduate School's financial award may be adjusted.
  7. Be aware that funding beyond five academic years is not guaranteed by TGS, but the program to which you are being admitted may have other policies.
  8. Adhere to all regulations as stipulated on The Graduate School website, in the University Student Handbook, and their graduate program's handbook.

The following documents pertain to all applicants for and recipients of any type of University assistance:

Permission To Work

Fully funded PhD and MFA students are expected to be full-time students conducting their studies and research. On occasion another funding opportunity may arise. When that situation occurs permission to receive remuneration must be requested. PhD and MFA students may work no more than 20 hours per week from all sources, including assistantships.

Graduate Student Permission to work Request Form is required when students are receiving additional pay if any of the following conditions are met:

  1. The graduate student’s service exceeds 10 hours/week.
  2. The graduate student’s period of service exceeds one month.
  3. The requested compensation is greater than or equal to $600.

If any of the above conditions are met, complete the online form and submit. The form should be submitted BEFORE the work begins.

If you receive an error message when accessing the link, please clear your cache and try again. If the problem persists, please reach out to the Graduate Student Funding team for assistance.

TGS External Award Policy

Graduate funding is a collaborative effort between students and Northwestern University. The Graduate School (TGS) strongly encourages every student to apply for funding from a source external to the University sometime prior to the end of their fourth year. While TGS understands that some disciplines and students may have fewer opportunities for external funding, we still expect PhD students in all programs to pursue external awards. Such awards offer students opportunities to hone grant writing skills, secure funding, enhance their curriculum vitae and make invaluable academic contacts for the future.

To encourage and reward the pursuit of external funding opportunities, TGS will provide the following to students enrolled in PhD programs in the School of Education and Social Policy; the Bienen School of Music; the School of Communication (social sciences and humanities programs); and Divisions II and III of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (the social sciences and humanities), Mathematics, and Statistics.

The provisions listed below apply to those awards that provide student comparable stipend support. Therefore, awards such as the doctoral dissertation research improvement grants (DDRIG), which provide only research and travel support, are not eligible for the support listed below.

  1. A 1:1 match up to an additional four quarters of support to be used through the summer of the 6th year of support for graduate students who are awarded and accept an external competitive award within their first five years of study; and
  2. A stipend supplement of $500 per month for the duration of the external award to students through their fifth year.
  3. A stipend top-up to the TGS base stipend if the external award stipend is lower to students through their sixth year.

For students enrolled in MFA programs, The Graduate School will determine on an ad hoc basis to provide the stipend supplement of $500 per month and/or a stipend top up to the TGS base stipend if the external award stipend is lower.

VA Pending Payment Policy

For Northwestern students using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 GI Bill®1 (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, the University will not prevent enrollment, assess a late fee, deny access to resources available to other students, or require they secure additional funding while payment from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is pending to the University.

To qualify for this provision, students may be required to:

  • Produce the VA’s Certificate of Eligibility by the first day of class;
  • Provide written request to be certified;
  • Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Last Updated: August 19, 2022
Questions? Contact TGS Graduate Student Funding