Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

Graduate Studies encourages all incoming and current graduate students to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) as well as the Sonoma State University Scholarship Program. Please check application deadline carefully.

Opportunities for Graduate Funding are listed below and include, but are not limited to:

Contact the Graduate Studies Office for more information about any of these programs:

State University Grant

Students must submit a FAFSA in order to be considered for a State University Grant. Awarded to eligible students who are California residents or have AB540 status, pay the Undergraduate, Credential Program, or Graduate/Post-baccalaureate Tuition Fee, and have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less. Funds are limited and priority is given to students with the earliest FAFSA application dates, although other factors can play a role in availability of funds. Students enrolled in a degree or certificate program through Extended Education are not eligible for the SUG, because Extended Education course fees do not include the Tuition Fee.

Eligibility for receiving the SUG is limited by total units completed in a student’s degree or credential program. For master’s students in majors that require 30 units for graduation, the maximum for completed units is 38. For credential candidates, the maximum for completed units is 30. (Note: programs that exceed 30 for the master's degree have proportionally higher unit maximums.)

For initial credential and first master's students enrolled half-time or greater, the amount of the SUG generally equals the Tuition Fee charged each semester. For initial credential students, half-time or greater enrollment means 6 or more units. For master's candidates, half-time or greater enrollment means 4 or more units. For more information on mandatory registration charges, visit the Student Charges/Fees page on the Seawolf Service Center website.

Sonoma State University Scholarship Program

Please see the Sonoma State University Scholarship Office page for details. Note that your accurate completion of the scholarship application form will ensure you are considered for every scholarship for which you qualify.

Graduate Equity Fellowship

The Graduate Equity Fellowship program seeks to increase the diversity of students completing graduate programs at Sonoma State University, who plan to pursue doctoral programs, and are considering university faculty careers. It provides fellowships for economically disadvantaged SSU students, especially for those who are underrepresented among graduate degree recipients in their areas of study, and promotes faculty mentoring and research opportunities.

The intent of the fellowship is to minimize the debt burden and time to degree by replacing loans with grants. Eligibility includes admission and full-time enrollment in a graduate program, demonstrated financial need, and an academic standing of 3.0 GPA.

A call for applicants via students' SSU email addresses will be sent to to current and incoming grdauate students in May of the spring semester of each academic year. For general guidelines download please download the Program Guidelines. Please note that Guidelines are updated each year so please check the guidelines the semester in which you are applying. 

GA/TA Tuition Waiver Program

Fee waivers are granted each academic year to eligible students who are hired by their departments as either Graduate Assistants or Teaching Associates. Criteria also requires that students be in classified standing, full-time enrollment, maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 units of coursework with no grades below a B, and are making satisfactory progress toward the graduate degree. Students who are underrepresented in their fields of study are given priority in the selection process.

Nomination forms are circulated each spring semester. Departments wishing to award fee waivers submit nominations to the Graduate Studies Office through their school deans. Departments are notified of awards and students receive letters of confirmation in the summer months prior to the academic year in which the student is receiving the fee waiver.

The GA/TA tuition waiver waives the State University Fees (i.e. Tuition Fees). Campus-based fees and Non-Resident Tuition fees are not waived by this waiver. 

Sally Casanova – California Pre-Doctoral Program

The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages, placing special emphasis on those who enter doctoral programs at UC campuses. Applicants work closely with a CSU faculty sponsor to develop an overall plan leading ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program.

Those who are selected as Pre-Doctoral Scholars will be awarded $3,000 to be used as outlined in the above-mentioned plan, which may include application fees, test fees, membership in professional organizations, and travel to doctoral granting institutions or professional conferences. Up to $500 in additional funds may be provided to the faculty mentor for joint travel. The program also provides summer research internship opportunities at doctoral granting institutions. Students participating in the summer internship component are matched with professors according to their areas of interest.

Eligibility:  Junior, senior, and graduate students in the CSU, especially those from environments where university teaching is not a common career goal.

To Apply: The online application usually becomes available in mid-November and campus deadline is typically in late February. For complete application instructions and current deadlines, visit the California Pre-Doctoral Program web page.

For current information on SSU procedures and deadlines, contact the SOURCE office (707-644-2264), or by email,

CSU - Chancellor’s Office Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP)

The purpose of the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) is to increase the pool of individuals who show promise of becoming strong candidates for CSU instructional faculty positions by providing financial assistance to doctoral students with the motivation, skills, and experience needed to teach the diverse student body in the CSU. It is a competitive program directed by the California State University but open to doctoral students across the country.

Through this program the California State University offers loans and faculty sponsorship to full-time doctoral students who are interested in a teaching career at a CSU campus. Specifically, the program provides:

  • Loans of up to $10,000 per year up to a total of $30,000
  • Loan Forgiveness: 20 percent of the loan is forgiven for each year of full-time postdoctoral teaching in the CSU.
  • Part-time postdoctoral teaching in the CSU may also be considered for partial loan forgiveness.
  • Faculty sponsorship from a CSU faculty member.

For details on eligibility, selection criteria and the role of the faculty sponsor, visit the CSU systemwide FLP website.

For an application or to discuss the program, contact Dr. Deborah Roberts

Community-based Graduate Assistant program

Sonoma State University’s Office of Graduate Studies is establishing a Community-based Graduate Assistant (CGA) program to provide exceptional opportunities for SSU students from several participating graduate programs (contact your program coordinator to see if your progam is developing a CGA). The CGA offers paraprofessional experience and financial support through partnerships with community institutions, agencies, and businesses.

The CGA program is designed to:

  • Assist in recruiting an academically talented and diverse array of students to graduate study at SSU;
  • Provide SSU students with graduate-level paraprofessional experiences through employment with community partners;
  • Enhance financial support that assists graduate students in the timely completion of their degrees
  • Provide community partners with a cost-effective means of employing individuals with graduate-level skill sets and education and training them for real-world career pathways.

CGA Activities

Each graduate assistant will work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, with an option to work full time during 4-10 weeks of the summer. Activities of CGAs are expected to be associated with the use of graduate-level skills, knowledge, and dispositions in a manner that enhances the programs and projects of the community partner. In addition, graduate assistants are expected to maintain full-time enrollment in their graduate program.

CGA Benefits

Each CGA would receive a tuition waiver for Fall and Spring semesters (but only renewable in Spring upon successful review of contracted deliverables the prior semester). In addition, each graduate assistant would receive a stipend associated with their work commensurate with the CSU salary schedule for Graduate Assistants.

Golden State Teacher Grant program

The Golden State Teacher Grant program (GSTG) is for students who are currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program to earn a credential in the high need field of special education and commit to teach at a priority school, in California for four years, within five years after completing a teacher preparation program.

GSTG awards of up to $20,000 are available to eligible, currently enrolled students in California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved teacher preparation programs within a California institution of higher education.   College and University campuses will use their own selection criteria and procedures to identify eligible students. For more information and to apply visit:

School and Department specific funding

Schools and Departments may have opportunities for additional funding for graduate students. Please check with your advisor or Graduate Coordinator for funding opportunities. 

American Association of University Women

For more information and to apply visit: