Tuition and Financial Support for Ph.D. Students

As part of our commitment to making Pardee RAND's Ph.D. program accessible and affordable, we offer a range of financial support and benefits:

  • Scholarships and research fellowships that cover the cost of tuition and offer a living stipend
  • Health insurance and other benefits, including paid parental leave
  • Dissertation support and training in grant and proposal writing

We believe that financial barriers should not prevent talented individuals from pursuing a career in policy analysis. That's why we are proud to offer these — and other — resources to our students.

Ph.D. Tuition and Scholarships

Annual Tuition

Year 1Years 2-5

Pardee RAND does not charge any other student services fees.

Tuition Scholarships

All Ph.D. students receive a tuition scholarship each year. This includes a full scholarship in their first year and a partial-tuition scholarship in subsequent years.

Year 1Years 2-5

Some students may be eligible to receive additional funding through philanthropically supported scholarships that are awarded during the admissions process; no separate application is required.

Learn more

Research Fellowships

At Pardee RAND, we believe that hands-on experience is essential for our students to become effective policy analysts. That's why we require all students to participate in an on-the-job training (OJT) program through which they work on RAND research teams.

As the only policy school in the United States based at a public policy research institute, one of Pardee RAND’s key differentiators is the real-world experience our students receive through OJT, conducting policy research as members of RAND project teams, supporting public and private sector clients.

Through their research fellowship, students earn a fixed stipend each year by working a minimum number of days. This fellowship is an academic feature of the Ph.D. degree and enables students to gain valuable experience while also helping them to pay tuition and/or reduce their cost of living.

Research Fellowship Earnings

Year 1Year 2Years 3-5

*Pre-tax. Students may earn more if they work more than the required number of OJT days each year: 75 days in year 1, 125 days in year 2, and 155 days in years 3-5.

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Dissertation Funding and Support

In their fourth year, all Pardee RAND Ph.D. students receive dissertation funding that is applied to their tuition balance. This allows student to focus on their dissertation. Pardee RAND also offers workshops in proposal and grant writing and encourages students to apply for external dissertation funding.

Learn more

Health Insurance and Other Benefits

We offer student health insurance to all enrolled Ph.D. students at no additional cost. Eligible dependents can also enroll in our health insurance plan at a subsidized rate.

Pardee RAND offers other benefits including use of a laptop computer and peripherals, an assigned cubicle workspace, free underground parking, a commuter assistance program, and paid parental leave.

Estimated Cost of Living in Los Angeles

We estimate the cost of living in Los Angeles for a single student to be $28,300 for the 2024-2025 academic year (mid-September through mid-June). This includes the following expenses:

Housing, Internet, and Utilities$16,650
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses (clothing, personal items, mobile phone, recreation/entertainment)$1,980
Required Books, Course Materials, Supplies, Equipment$500
Loan Fees$200

Please note that these are estimates and admitted students' actual costs will vary depending on their individual circumstances. We estimate the annual cost of living for a spouse/partner to be an additional $14,253, and each child would be $7,127.

Estimating the Annual Cost of Attendance

To estimate their total cost of attendance, admitted students should add their cost of living expenses and tuition, then subtract their scholarship, research fellowship, and any other financial aid they may receive.

International students will need to show proof of funds to cover a 12-month period.

We encourage students to carefully consider their financial situation and explore all available resources, including external scholarships, research fellowships, and financial aid loans, to help cover the cost of attendance.

Other Financial Aid

Pardee RAND is authorized to administer federal graduate student loan programs and veteran benefits, as well as facilitate other grant and external funding sources.

Federal Student Aid

Eligible students who need additional financial assistance may apply for financial aid loans through the U.S. government’s William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This includes Unsubsidized Stafford loans and GradPlus loans.

The current annual limit for Unsubsidized Stafford loans is $20,500 and the limit on GradPlus loans is determined by the annual cost of attendance. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens may apply for these loans on an annual basis. An adverse credit history can affect eligibility for GradPlus Loans.

Students who take out federal loans are paid via check on a quarterly basis. Upon the student’s request, RAND will apply all or a portion of the loan disbursement to tuition and remit any remaining funds to the student.

Admitted and current students who are U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens may apply for federal loans by following these steps:

  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A FAFSA must be completed annually. Students should do this as soon as possible before the quarter in which they require financial aid.
  2. Submit a Pardee RAND Financial Aid Request and Disbursement form, available on the Pardee RAND Intranet or from the Admissions office, to notify us of intent to borrow.
  3. Meet with Pardee RAND's Financial Aid Advisor (FAA) to review financial aid regulations and proposed borrowing. First-time borrowers must complete an online entrance interview and Master Promissory Note (MPN).

FAA will originate the loan, processed through RAND Finance. Any tuition will be paid directly to Pardee RAND and the student will receive a check for the balance.

Visit for information on the rights and responsibilities of students receiving federal student loans.

Alternative Student Loans

Alternative loans are a type of non-Federal loan that is provided by private lenders. These loans are designed to provide specialized student loans with reasonable terms for U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, and international students who have a credit-worthy, U.S. citizen cosigner.

Private or alternative loans are not federally guaranteed and should only be considered after eligibility for all other types of aid has been exhausted. While alternative loans can be a good option for some students, it's important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of the loan before applying. The repayment terms of federal loan programs may be more favorable than the terms of private loans. Alternative student loans may not be included in Federal Direct Consolidation Loans and are not eligible for Federal Income-Based Repayment Plan or for Federal Economic Hardship deferments.

External Funding Opportunities

External funding is any funding that does not come from the school or federal or state government. There are many external funding opportunities available to graduate students. These opportunities include grants, fellowships, and scholarships from a variety of sources, including government agencies, private foundations, and corporations.

The following websites may be useful to students in their search for funding opportunities that match their interests and qualifications:

  • A database of grants offered by federal agencies
  • Foundation Center: A database of grants offered by private foundations
  • Fastweb: A scholarship search engine that matches students with scholarships based on their profile
  • ProFellow: A database of fellowships and other professional development opportunities
  • Links to funding opportunities in biomedical research and science education (formerly GrantsNet)
  • National Science Foundation: A federal agency that offers funding opportunities for research and education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields
  • National Institutes of Health: A federal agency that offers funding opportunities for biomedical and behavioral research
  • American Association of University Women: A nonprofit organization that offers fellowships and grants to support women in graduate and postgraduate studies
  • The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans: A fellowship program that supports immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing graduate studies in the United States
  • The Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs: A fellowship program that supports graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are committed to diversity and social justice
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar Program: A scholarship program that supports Hispanic students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of fields. The program provides funding for tuition, books, and living expenses

International students may find these websites useful in their search for funding opportunities to attend graduate school in the United States:

  • Institute of International Education (IIE): A nonprofit organization that offers a range of programs and services to support international education and cultural exchange. IIE's website provides information on scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities for international students studying in the United States.
  • EducationUSA: A U.S. Department of State network of over 400 international student advising centers in more than 170 countries. EducationUSA provides information and resources to help international students navigate the U.S. higher education system, including information on scholarships and financial aid.
  • International Education Financial Aid (IEFA): A database of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for international students studying in the United States.
  • EduPass: A website that provides information on financial aid and scholarships for international students studying in the United States
  • International Scholarships: A website that provides information on scholarships and grants for international students studying in the United States and other countries
  • Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program: A scholarship program that supports students from developing countries who are pursuing postgraduate studies in the United States and other countries

We encourage students to explore these resources and other external funding opportunities to help cover the cost of attendance.