PLU Office of AdmissionGraduate Programs

It's all about value...

Because you are pursuing your graduate degree there is one thing we know about you already - you understand the value of education.  You are among the very top percentile in the world to pursue this level of education, and whether earning your master's degree is motivated by a career move, a promotion or a passion for the exchange of ideas and high level thinking, earning a PLU master's degree is an investment in you and your life as a global citizen.  PLU graduate programs provide an outstanding educational experience with lifelong value. You will graduate with a prestigious, accredited degree and will have mentors, peers and fellow alumni who will support you throughout your career.  

At PLU our goal is to create a partnership that is financially feasible for you to pursue your studies. Financial assistance from PLU, federal and state financial aid programs, student resources, payment options and careful planning help make PLU affordable.

Financial Aid 101

As you look at graduate programs, there are four types of funding resources you should look into:

  • Institutional Resources (scholarships, grants, fellowships from the university to which you are applying)
  • Federal or State Resources (loans or grants)
  • Outside Resources (non-profit organizations, foundations, etc. that fund graduate students)
  • Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs (not an initial source of funding, but options for mitigating federal loan debt.)

If you'd like to download a single document that lists all PLU institutional resources, and gives information on federal student loans, outside resources and loan forgiveness programs, you can download the Financial Aid 101 document.   If you have any questions about PLU institutional aid, you can contact us at

Institutional Funding

PLU Graduate Scholarships

To demonstrate PLU's commitment to graduate education, scholarship funds are available for the following programs:


PLU Alumni Tuition Discount*

The PLU Grant provides a 10% discount on tuition for PLU graduates who enroll in a PLU master’s level degree or approved master’s level certificate program.  Restrictions apply to those students who are also PLU employees.  The discount begins immediately upon admission. *Please note that the 10% PLU alumni discount is not availible for the DNP program.

PLU School of Business Scholarships

The School of Business has scholarship opportunities available for graduate students (some are for both undergrad and grad students). Students who meet the minimum criteria for a specific scholarship are encouraged to apply.  Applications, essays, and resumes should be thoughtfully designed and tailored to the individual scholarship. Only those applicants who meet the criteria will be considered.

Clifford and Lydia Arntson Award in Entrepreneurship Application 

Gladys M. Knutzen Memorial M.B.A. Scholarship Application (Graduate)

Gundar King Endowed Scholarship Application (Graduate)

Murray-Danielson Management Award Scholarship Application

PLU Business Network Scholarship

Dr. John A. & Virginia Saffell Endowed Scholarship Application (Graduate)


PLU School of Nursing Scholarships for Continuing Students

The School of Nursing may offer limited scholarship opportunities for admitted graduate students who have successfully completed one year of the program.  For more information, contact


PLU Graduate Fellowships

The graduate fellowship program offers graduate students an opportunity to participate in academic and administrative activities that will enhance their graduate education experience, as well as provide financial assistance.  A limited number of fellowships are available for each program during the academic year.  In general, fellowships involve a time commitment of five to fifteen hours per week, and can contribute $2,000 to $5,000 towards tuition.

To find out more, email:


PLU International Graduate Student Scholarships

Full-time international graduate students can be eligible for between $4,000.00 and $7,500.00 in scholarship, renewable for the duration of the graduate program.To find out more, click here.


The Yellow Ribbon Program at PLU

Pacific Lutheran University is proud to partner with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to offer a total of 200 full-tuition, Yellow Ribbon Scholarships to qualified veterans or their dependents.  PLU has rich history of working closely with the military community and is excited to provide greater access to private higher education through this important program.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Educational Enhancement Program is component of the Post-9/11 Act of 2008.  This partnership between the VA and PLU offers qualified veterans or their dependents full-tuition scholarships to enter either undergraduate or graduate programs at PLU.  In the coming academic year, PLU will offer unlimited Yellow Ribbon Scholarships for graduate students. 

To find out more, visit:

Federal and State Resources

Federal Financial Aid

With more than $60 billion earmarked for student loans, the federal government is committed to helping you attend graduate school.  It all begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


To apply for federal and state financial aid, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). An analysis of your FAFSA determines how much you and your family can afford to contribute to your education. A variety of factors are taken into account: family income, total savings, family size, and the number of household members in college at the same time.

How to submit a FAFSA

You may submit the FAFSA in one of two ways:

  • Complete the FAFSA on the Web at You will be provided a confirmation number and an opportunity to create your own Personal Identification Number (PIN) which you can use immediately to sign your application.  This is the recommended and most accurate way to complete the FAFSA.
  • Request a paper FAFSA from the US Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Complete and mail the FAFSA using the envelope included with the form. This processing takes approximately two to four weeks.  

When completing the FAFSA, be sure to indicate that you want the results of your analysis sent to PLU (use code 003785).   Keep copies of everything you submit.

Which application to use

To receive financial assistance for enrollment in fall 2014 or spring of 2015 use the 2014-2015 FAFSA, for  summer or fall 2015, the 2015-2016 FAFSA application will be availible on January 1, 2015.

  1. Apply for the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA)    PLU School Code 003785
  2. If you do not have federal PIN, Apply for a PIN - your federal signature

The information from your FAFSA application will be electronically sent to PLU's Office of Financial Aid. They will work with your Student Services Center Counselor to send you your Offer of Financial Aid.

Direct Loans

Direct Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools.   A maximum of $20,500 per year is available to most eligible registered graduate students. Loans are unsubsidized, meaning that interest will be accruing on the loans from the time of dispersal. 

Direct Stafford Loans include the following types of loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans- With Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the borrower is not required to demonstrate financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Like subsidized loans, your school will determine the amount you can borrow (maximum of $20,500 per year). Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time it's first paid out. You can pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount.

To find out more, visit:

Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree Students

Graduate and professional degree students can borrow a Direct PLUS Loan to help cover education expenses.

  • The terms and conditions applicable to PLUS Loans for parents also apply to PLUS Loans for graduate and professional students. These terms and conditions include a determination that you (the applicant) do not have an adverse credit history. 
  • Unlike parent PLUS applicants, you (the student applicant) are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, before you can receive a PLUS Loan, your school must have determined your maximum eligibility for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

Additional loan types provided under the Direct Loan Program, include Direct Loans (for undergraduate and graduate students), Direct PLUS Loans (for parents), and Direct Consolidation Loans (to combine federal education loan debts into a single loan).

To find out more, visit:

Federal Nursing Loans

Students accepted for admission into the PLU School of Nursing and enrolled at least half-time in the nursing program  may be considered for a low interest, federally funded Nursing Loan.  Federal Nursing Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5% and a repayment grace period of  nine months after graduation (or less than half time enrollment, whichever comes first).  For more information, click here.

Federal Grants

Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.

Teach Grant Program

Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of between $4,000-$8,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. If, after reading all of the information on this fact sheet, you are interested in learning more about the TEACH Grant Program, you should contact the financial aid office at the college where you will be enrolled.  By filing out the FAFSA, and applying to a teacher certification program, you are automatically considered for this grant.  There is no separate application process.


In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant you must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students (see below for more information on high-need fields and schools serving low-income students). As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, you must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which you received a TEACH Grant. IMPORTANT: If you fail to complete this service obligation, all amounts of TEACH Grants that you received will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. You must then repay this loan to the U.S. Department of Education. You will be charged interest from the date the grant(s) was disbursed. Note: TEACH Grant recipients will be given a 6-month grace period prior to entering repayment if a TEACH Grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

To find out more, visit:

Washington State Conditional Loan Scholarships

A conditional loan scholarship is a loan that can be forgiven in exchange for teaching service in a designated shortage area.  The Washington State Legislature approves funding each year and typically announces the number of available funds, if any, and loan conditions towards the end of July.  There is no application process for the student to go through--if you are enrolled in a teacher certification program that meets the "Alternative Routes" designation--you will be considered.  Amounts are between $4,000 and $8,000 and the higher amounts typically go to high need subject areas--STEM, SPED, and ELL.  Similar to the Federal Teach Grant, the state requires the recipient to teach full-time in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. 

To find out more, visit:

Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs

Teacher Loan Forgiveness
If you are a teacher and also a new borrower (i.e., you did not have an outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan on Oct. 1, 1998, or on the date you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after Oct. 1, 1998) and have been teaching full-time in a low-income elementary or secondary school or educational service agency for five consecutive years, you may be able to have as much as $17,500 of your subsidized or unsubsidized loans forgiven. Your PLUS loans cannot be included. For more information, go to Teacher Loan Forgiveness. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, see Perkins Loan Cancellation for teacher cancellation in that loan program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you are employed in certain public service jobs and have made 120 payments on your Direct Loans (after Oct. 1, 2007), the remaining balance that you owe may be forgiven. Only payments made under certain repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments. You must not be in default on the loans that are forgiven. For more information, go to Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
The following Federal Perkins Loan Program cancellations apply to individuals who perform certain types of public service or are employed in certain occupations.
For each complete year of service, a percentage of the loan may be canceled. The total percentage of the loan that can be canceled depends on the type of service performed. Depending on the type of loan you have, and when that loan was taken out, you may be eligible to cancel part of or your entire loan if you have served as one of the following:
•    Volunteer in the Peace Corps or ACTION program (including VISTA)
•    Teacher
•    Member of the U.S. armed forces (serving in area of hostilities)
•    Nurse or medical technician
•    Law enforcement or corrections officer
•    Head Start worker
•    Child or family services worker
•    Professional provider of early intervention services

To find out more about any of the federal loan, grant, or loan forgiveness programs, go to:, or

Outside Resources--Scholarships & Grants

If you can take the time to research outside sources of funding, it can help you to limit the amount of federal loans you may need to take out.  Here are a few resources that we find helpful.   You may also look up our Lecture Series webpage, as PLU often hosts lectures around how to find outside scholarships, how to write grant proposals as an individual, etc.

Employee Benefits
Some employers will pay a certain percentage of a graduate degree.

Foundation Center Database

You may go to the UW T campus library to access the database for free, or you can subscribe for 20/month and search from home.   Typically we do not recommend that you pay for sources of scholarship/grants, but this is the exception, as we feel it's a great resource.  You can search for funders by category. 

Even if you don't subscribe, there are many resources, webinars, etc. there to guide you in the search process. and

King County Library--Redmond

Michigan State University Library

Word Docs with many Links for Scholarships

List of Scholarships for Service Members

List of Scholarships/Fellowships

Excel Doc with links for Scholarships/Grants/Loan Forgiveness for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

List of Scholarships for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

Service Member/Veteran’s Benefits
The Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-911 GI Bill offer benefits to service members or their dependents.  In addition, there are many non-profit groups who offer scholarships or grants to service members or dependents as well.

List of Scholarships for Service Members

Other Scholarship Databases


The College Grant Database

There are outside resources we have identified that benefit those looking into PLU Graduate or Doctoral programs:


The Washington Nursing Commission offers a list of scholarships

Click here for a link to the WNC scholarship page

or Download the WCN Scholarship document

Excel Doc with links for Scholarships/Grants/Loan Forgiveness for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

List of Scholarships for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

A comprehensive list of outside scholarships and loans may be found at the The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)website.

Military direct-commissioning programs for the nurse-corp:

If you or your spouse has served in the military post 9/11, you may be eligible for full tuition scholarship through the Yellow Ribbon Program. 

Washington State Higher Education Board

The Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board has a loan repayment program for those entering the Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Service Administration:

HRSA Advanced Education Traineeships
Grant-funded stipends from the Health Resources and Services Administration intended for students who plan to seek employment in areas that “will substantially benefit rural or underserved populations, or help meet public health nursing needs in state or local health departments.”

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program
Loans funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration grant are awarded to students enrolled in a full-time program of study specifically preparing them for careers as Nurse Educators. Following graduation, loan recipients may cancel up to 85% of the NFLP loan over four years for serving as a full-time nurse faculty member at a school of nursing.

HRSA Nursing Scholarship Program

Here is a list of several other outside scholarship sources for nurses:

The American Legion Eight and Forty Lung and Respiratory Disease Nursing Scholarship

Johnson & Johnson Scholarship Search Engine

Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization

National Student Nurses' Association

Pierce County Nurses Association

Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Information

Washington Center for Nursing

Health Careers Foundation

Minority Nurse Association

National Association of Hispanic Nurses

Marriage and Family Therapists

Many outside sources cover those in the healthcare industry, which includes mental health.

Click here for a database of healthcare scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness programs. 

Creative Writers

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has an ongoing commitment to support graduate students making extraordinary contributions to their fields of study and recognizes the importance of providing assistance to those striving for excellence. We are proud to announce two new graduate funding opportunities: the Graduate Arts Award and the Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship.

The Foundation's new Graduate Arts Award is for up to $50,000 per year for up to three years to college seniors and recent graduates with significant financial need who will pursue a graduate or professional degree in the visual arts, performing arts, or creative writing. To be eligible, candidates must be nominated by the faculty representative at their undergraduate institution.

To find out more, visit:

Satisfactory Academic Progress--Federal Financial Aid Standards

When students accept financial aid at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), they also accept the responsibility for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The policy at PLU is to allow students to continue to receive financial assistance as long as they are in “good standing”. To do otherwise could cause a severe hardship on students who devote their efforts to achieving satisfactory progress.

This progress is based on the following criteria:

  • The numbers of credit hours students enroll in per semester,
  • Term and cumulative grade point average,
  • Length of enrollment at PLU and,
  • Any transfer courses accepted by PLU.

To find out more about Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, please click here.