Financial Aid at Eastman

Returning Graduate Students

Graduate Award Program

The Eastman School of Music provides financial support to its graduate students primarily through the Graduate Award Program, a merit-based system of financial aid. Eastman’s Graduate Award program is able to provide in-depth professional training for graduate students and receive valuable services in return. Graduate applicants, who are not only highly recommended in their major, but who also are highly recommended for a graduate award, receive the most merit-based financial support from Eastman. The graduate awards are processed through the Graduate Studies Office.

A graduate award normally consists of a stipend (salary for the work done) and a tuition scholarship. A small number of awards are tuition scholarship only. Admission to a graduate program does not guarantee a graduate award.

For further information, please contact Eastman’s Office of Graduate Studies

Applying for a Graduate Award

Graduate Award tuition scholarships and/or stipends are awarded through the Office of Graduate Studies. If a student currently has a Graduate Award for the 2021-2022 academic year, a questionnaire regarding the renewal of that Award will be sent to a student’s UR email address in January. Student should respond to the Office of Graduate Studies. If a student does not hold a Graduate Award for the 2021-2022 academic year and wishes to be considered for one for the 2022-2023 academic year, that student should consult the chair of the department in which he/she would like to hold an assistantship for application procedures.

All Graduate Students must complete the 2022-2023 Graduate Student Aid Application and submit the completed form to the Eastman Financial Aid Office. Graduate tuition scholarships will not disburse and any other institutional or Federal aid cannot be processed until the Financial Aid Office has received the Graduate Student Aid application.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cost of an Eastman Graduate Degree

Please note that graduate awards do not roll over from year to year.  Students must re-apply every year through the process described above.

Federal Aid Programs

The Graduate Award Program is unable to meet the financial need of all our graduate students.  Eastman’s Financial Aid Office helps graduate students, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, apply for federal financial aid (Federal Direct Loans & Federal Work Study) to help with their educational expenses.

International graduate students, although not eligible for federal financial aid, may apply for a private loan for financial assistance beyond the graduate awards with a U.S. Citizen or eligible permanent resident as a co-applicant.

Federal Work Study

The Federal Work-Study program provides full-time graduate domestic students an opportunity to earn money towards educational expenses through on-campus and off-campus employment. The hourly pay for each position is determined by the University of Rochester pay rate based on the type of work and the skills required. Most Federal Work Study eligible students at the Eastman School of Music obtain employment within the school.

Students are responsible for seeking available positions on campus if the student wishes to earn work-study funds. Available positions are posted to JOBLINK.

The number of hours a student can work will be determined by the class schedule, supervisor, and the amount of FWS funds offered to a student on the financial aid package. Students must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for work-study.

Federal Loans

Our Loan Information page has more in-depth information about each of these loan programs.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a low-interest educational loan for students attending school at least half-time (6 credits). This loan has a fixed interest rate and an origination fee is subtracted at the time of disbursement. Interest will begin to accrue on the loan after disbursement. The government does not pay the interest; the student can choose to either pay the interest while in school or have the interest added to the loan principal to be repaid later. If not paid, the interest will accrue and be capitalized back into the loan. There is a 6 month grace period before repayment begins after graduation. Eligibility for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on need and a student can qualify regardless of income.

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program provides a credit-based loan at a fixed interest rate and allows graduate students to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid awarded. An origination fee is subtracted from the requested loan amount at the time of disbursement, so the dollar amount disbursed will be less than the amount borrowed. Repayment on the principal and interest can be deferred while the graduate student is enrolled in college. However, interest will accrue and be capitalized back into the loan.

How Do I Apply for or Renew My Financial Aid for 2022-2023?

A completed 2022-2023 Graduate Student Aid Application should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by May 1, 2022.

Graduate tuition scholarships will not disburse and any other Institutional or Federal aid cannot be processed until the Financial Aid Office has received the Graduate Student Aid Application.

Completing the FAFSA

Domestic Students (US Citizens or Permanent Residents) need to complete the 2022-2023 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Eastman’s FAFSA Code: 008124.  The Eastman FAFSA Application deadline is May 1, 2022.

How will I receive my 2022-2023 Financial Aid Notification?

An email will be sent to you by the Eastman Financial Aid Office with a link to your financial aid notification on ESM FAOnline.

Your financial aid notification will not be offered to you until your completed Graduate Student Aid Application has been submitted and your processed FAFSA is received electronically by the Eastman Financial Aid Office.

We will begin to review financial aid files for Graduate students in June.

What is Verification?

Verification is the process of confirming the information you provided on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as required by Institutions participating in Federal Financial Aid programs. Not all students are selected for verification.  If you are selected, in order to comply with Federal regulations, we may ask you to provide information that verifies the data you provided on your FAFSA.

What Other Funding is Available?

Outside Scholarships

We encourage students to search and apply for outside scholarship funding throughout their degree program. Receiving the greatest amount of outside scholarship funding requires students to consider scholarships beyond the music realm (clubs, religious organizations, ethnic groups, foundations or fellowships, etc.) and to keep the search broad. Please visit our Forms and Links page to begin your search.

State Educational Loans

Some state governments offer an educational loan program. These programs:

  • are available to both undergraduate and graduate students (and possibly to parents and relatives), as long as the student is matriculated and enrolled at least half time in a degree program.
  • are credit-based and offer interest rates and terms which are very competitive with alternative loans.
  • may have both fixed and variable interest rates available, depending on the state.

To learn if your state has a loan program contact your State Education Agency through the Department of Education’s Educational Resource Organizations Directory.  Read carefully the loan criteria and contact your State Education Agency with questions.

Private Alternative Loans

Some students choose to borrow a private loan to cover a portion of the cost of education not already paid for by scholarships and federal loans. We encourage students to exhaust all federal loan options prior to applying for a private loan. The federal loan programs generally offer lower interest rates and fees than the private loans.

If a student chooses to pursue a private loan, we recommend comparing the costs associated with various lenders before completing an application. Interest rates, fees, repayment periods, and other benefits can vary significantly between lenders. Often these loans are based on credit-worthiness and approvals are not automatic. The website provides some comparative information regarding private loans. When selecting a loan through a comparative website, be sure to go to the lender’s website to ensure the most up-to-date information about the loan.

The Eastman School of Music does not maintain a preferred lender list. As such, the University has no agreements or relationships with any lenders and does not receive any benefit, financial or otherwise, from the use of private loans by students. For more information on the University’s policies, please see our Student Loan Code of Conduct & Policy on Private Lending.

Special Circumstances

If a graduate student’s financial circumstances have changed drastically due to unemployment, medical expenses, loss of personal funding (Social Security or Child Support), etc., then the student should contact Eastman’s Office of Graduate Studies via email at The name of the student should be included in the Subject Line of the email.