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Financial Aid

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Undergraduate financial aid

Undergraduate financial aid is handled through the Stanford University Financial Aid Office, which provides comprehensive information on financial aid alternatives for undergraduates. The School of Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering Department do not handle financial aid inquiries for undergraduates.

Stanford Undergraduate Admissions also has an FAQ section that answers some common questions about financial aid.

Graduate financial aid


The Mechanical Engineering Department selectively awards several fellowships to entering graduate students. To be considered for assistance as an entering student, you must submit the Application for Stanford Graduate Fellowship. These fellowships are typically reserved for PhD students.  

Graduate fellowships

The School of Engineering and Department Fellowships are awarded to entering ME graduate students. Awards are based upon merit, including undergraduate academic performance and research potential. Recipients receive eight to 10 units of tuition per quarter and a quarterly stipend, for anywhere from three to five quarters. These fellowships are typically reserved for PhD students.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

This Stanford scholarship program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars and separately apply to the department where you would like to study.

Research assistantships

Research assistants typically receive eight to 10 units of tuition coverage and a salary in exchange for 20 hours of work per week. Some students opt to work fewer hours per week, and their salary and tuition benefits are adjusted accordingly. For the PhD program, incoming students are awarded RA positions based upon the information provided in their admissions application. Current students typically contact faculty members to arrange research assistantships.

Teaching/course assistantships are offered primarily to continuing students and to a very limited number of entering graduate students. TA/CAs typically provide recipients with tuition coverage of eight to 10 units and a salary, requiring 20 hours of work per week. Reduced hours (10 hours per week) may also be available, with salary and tuition benefits adjusted accordingly. TA/CA-ships are offered by faculty members who have been allocated the necessary funds to hire a TA/CA.

Students who have been offered an assistantship should refer to the ME Graduate Handbook (SUNetID required) for details on how to get paid.

Graduate student loans

Permanent residents and U.S. citizens can apply for need-based loans. Information regarding student loans and application packets can be obtained by calling the Stanford University Financial Aid Office at (650) 723-3058.

PhD Students

All SoE PhD students who are in good standing relative to their PhD program requirements should be funded to the department’s PhD standard. In all departments, this is at least equivalent to Stanford’s 20-hour-RA salary plus tuition to cover the department’s required enrollment (summer enrollment requirements vary by department).  Arranging for this funding is the responsibility of the department and the faculty PhD advisor, and can include fellowships, research assistantships, training grants and teaching assistantships.

Often, our PhD students apply for and may receive individual fellowships which can reduce the department’s or advisor’s cost of funding.  In these cases, the guarantee of funding to the student will include the fellowship award and additional support from the department/advisor to reach the department-standard level.  For educational purposes, departments and advisors may encourage their students to apply for such fellowships and provide resources to strengthen their applications; however, no department or faculty member may require students to obtain external individual funding or to “self-fund” as a condition of admission, entry to or continuation in the Ph.D.