The range of financial assistance available at the graduate level is very broad. There are three basic types of aid - grants and fellowships, work programs, and loans - and various sources - the federal government, state governments, educational institutions, foundations, corporations, and other private organizations such as professional associations.
Fellowships & Grants - An outright award of money (called a stipend) based on merit that requires no work or service in return. Competition is very keen.
Teaching Assistantships - Usually a full or partial remission and sometimes a stipend. Requires undergraduate teaching, lab supervision, proctoring exams, or grading papers depending on the level of the student.
Research Assistantships - Similar to a teaching assistantship except the responsibility is to assist a faculty member in research efforts rather than teaching.
Administrative Assistantships - Work in an administrative office on campus as opposed to teaching or doing research.
Residence Hall, Student Personnel, or Counseling Assistantships - Frequently given to Student Personnel, Counseling, Psychology, Higher Education, and Social Work Graduate students. Sometimes include room, board and salary in addition to tuition remission.
GI Bill - Veterans can get assistance for graduate as well as undergraduate school.
Loans - Through banks, government agencies and universities. Usually have lower interest rates.
Military - Can often get support for graduate and professional education in exchange for a commitment to future military service.
Employment - It is difficult to manage both full-time work and full-time graduate study. It may be wise to consider doing one or the other part-time, even if this means it will take longer to earn a degree. Find out whether a graduate co-op program is available; this can give you an income plus practical work experience in the field.