Finances for graduate programs

All graduate degrees

You can do this!

We understand that finances can be one of the main challenges when making decisions about graduate school, and we want to encourage you that this can be done!

The information and resources below will help you get started, and we invite you to contact Ginger Cheney, our graduate student finance counselor, with your questions and concerns.

Budgeting for your dreams

Budgeting for your dreams cover     


You may download our brochure for a handy summary
about affording graduate studies at Southern.

Download brochure

Tuition and budget for 2021-2022

This is an estimated budget for a typical semester (or summer) with a full-time load of 9 hours.

  • Master's-level tuition for 2021-22 is $660 per credit hour.
  • Doctorate-level tuition is $875 per credit hour.

Budget Estimates for one semester in 2020-2021

Tuition $5,940 $7,875
Books and supplies $500 $500


View additional information for international students » 

Monthly payment plan

Southern offers a monthly installment plan so you may spread the cost of tuition over the semester. Sign up for a payment plan »


The first step in exploring financial assistance options is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), online at »

Stafford Loans
Graduate students registered for a minimum of five credit hours per semester may qualify for a Stafford Loan. Two types of loans are available.

  • Unsubsidized loans aren’t based on financial need, and interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed, although repayment does not begin until after graduation.

GradPLUS Loan
These are low-interest, federally backed student loans that are guaranteed by the U.S. government. These loans are similar to private student loans (below), but with the benefit of having fixed interest rates.

Private Loans 
Personal loans are available from lending institutions nationwide. For advice on which loans may be right for you, you may talk with Southern’s graduate finance counselor at 1.800.SOUTHERN or 423.236.2877.

Scholarships and financial assistance

The first step in exploring financial assistance options is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), online at »

  • Tax Credits. You may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit when filing your taxes, and claim up to $2,000 per student. For more information, contact your tax adviser or consult the IRS booklet "Tax Benefits for Education," available online at »
  • Employee Programs. Many employers have programs set up to help their employees obtain a graduate education. You may check with the human resources department at your organization.

Graduate assistantships

The following departments offer graduate assistantships. If you have questions, please contact the graduate counselor for your school.

  • School of Business—Graduate Assistant Verification  Download PDF
  • School of Nursing—Clinical Lab Assistant  Download PDF
  • School of Nursing—Graduate Teaching Assistant  Download PDF
  • School of Social Work—Graduate Assistant  Download PDF

Cost of living in Chattanooga

You may find that Southern’s location helps you save on the overall costs for graduate school because Chattanooga’s cost of living is less than the national average. You can learn more about living expenses in the Chattanooga area at » 

Learn More


Questions about finances?

I am happy to talk with you about graduate-student finances and I look forward to working with you! Please feel free to call or email with your questions anytime! 

Ginger Cheney

Graduate Student Finance Counselor