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Financing Your Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is a significant investment in your future, and financing your education is a critical factor to consider. GSE master's programs are largely self-funded. Most master’s students at Stanford GSE require financial support, funding their program with a variety of sources including personal savings, loans, external fellowships, family funds, and funding from governments. Below you’ll find information about financing your master’s program.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition varies among master’s programs and depends on the units taken by the student.
In addition to tuition expenses, a master’s program involves other living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation. The sum of tuition and non-tuition expenses constitute the standard cost of attendance. As you consider applying to graduate school, you can use the charts below—plus any additional expenses you might have—to create your financial plan.

Estimated Cost of Attendance 2024-2025**

The tuition and non-tuition expenses of the cost of attendance are set by the university on an annual basis. 

**Please note this is the standard estimated cost for a single student living on campus. Parts of the below cost of attendance are fixed, and others are variable. For example, cardinal care may be waived and if you are commuting from around the bay area, you can spend more or less than these estimates. The fixed parts of our cost of attendance are tuition and the health service fee. 

Financial aid from the GSE

Financial aid from Stanford University

External fellowships

There are many funding opportunities offered outside of Stanford. The GSE admissions team has compiled an external fellowships and grants document for you to explore, though you should plan to do your own research into external funding as well. International students can find additional sources of funding on the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Funding for U.S. Study website.

U.S. veterans

Stanford is committed to providing benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Provision of the Post 9/11 GI Bill® to students in degree-seeking programs. GSE students who qualify for Chapter 33 benefits at the 100% level, may be eligible for additional funding through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Please note that for GSE students receiving tuition fellowship funding, the Yellow Ribbon match may reduce and in some cases replace institutional grants and scholarships. Instructions for activating Veteran’s Affairs educational benefits for enrollment at Stanford are on the Office for Military-Affiliated Communities web page, Activate VA Education Benefits at Stanford.

International students

To meet immigration regulations, international students must show proof of adequate financial support to cover the length of time of their graduate program. While international students are not eligible for U.S. federal loan programs, they may qualify for private/alternative loans. Many lenders, however, require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-sign the loan. You can find information and tools to help you choose private loan programs most frequently used by Stanford students here. A comprehensive list of private loan programs is available at

Of all the funding and financial aid options listed above, international students are eligible for:

  • Dean's fellowships
  • Other GSE funding options
  • Private (non-federal) loans
  • Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS) program
  • External fellowships

Resources for enrolled students

The GSE and Stanford University offer various forms of financial support to enrolled students.

GSE resources

Once master’s students matriculate, there are a variety of resources available to support academic work and unanticipated needs.

Travel fellowships are awarded for travel associated with paper presentations at conferences during a GSE master’s student’s academic program.

GSE Student Emergency Fund assists graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses causing financial hardship. This fund is meant to support those who cannot reasonably resolve their financial difficulty through fellowships, loans, or personal resources.

ICE/IEPA MA Fund supports academic and professional development (e.g., MA paper research, conferences) in the field of international comparative education.

Stanford University resources

Cardinal Care subsidy: The university’s Cardinal Care student health insurance plan is managed by the Vaden Health Center. The Financial Aid Office administers an automatic university-wide subsidy program for graduate students.

Graduate Student Aid Fund: The Financial Aid Office assists a limited number of graduate students with university fees such as the Campus Health Service Fee and Cardinal Care Insurance when those fees cause significant hardship.

Emergency Grant-In-Aid Fund assists graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses (e.g., medical or dental) causing financial hardship.

Graduate Family Grant provides need-based funding for graduate students with dependent children. Funds may be used flexibly to cover expenses such as childcare, healthcare, insurance and rent.

Graduate housing loan offers temporary financial support to graduate students for off-campus housing move-in costs, such as first and last month's rent and security deposit.

Paid internships: Internships may be for pay or course credit, but not both for the same work. Programs that require students to complete an internship may provide paid opportunities. Approval from your program director is required.

Additional hourly work: Students may work for pay as "casual labor" at Stanford for up to eight hours a week, provided work does not adversely impact the academic program. Approval from your program director is required.

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