Fully Funded Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) Programs
With potential salaries reaching into the six figures, those who have completed Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) programs can expect to have fulfilling, challenging jobs that provide for a comfortable lifestyle.
But getting the degree, which is a requirement in every state for professional psychologist licensure, can be a tall order. The programs are rigorous and challenging, and paying for the degree can mean taking out loans that can quickly add up to $150,000 or more.
Though they are few and far between, some Psy.D. programs provide full or partial tuition remission for all students admitted to the program. Let’s take a look at those schools as well as other methods of funding a psychology doctorate.
Programs With Full or Partial Funding
Finding Psy.D. programs that offer full or partial funding to all students is quite rare. In fact, there are currently only two examples of institutions where this is the case — Baylor University and Rutgers University.
Baylor, based in Waco, Texas, is the world’s largest Baptist university, and its Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1976.
All students admitted to the Psy.D. program at Baylor receive full funding for up to five years. Psy.D. students still are required to pay student fees for the duration of their education, and this generally ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 per year. Teaching assistant positions are also available for a small number of students, with annual awards averaging out to about $5,000 per year. Baylor’s Psy.D. program is highly selective, with only five to seven students admitted per year.
The Clinical Psychology Psy.D. at Rutgers, based in Piscataway, New Jersey, includes robust financial support for the limited number of students admitted each year. While some students’ Psy.D. degrees are fully funded through combinations of scholarships and work-study programs, not all students will qualify.
Still, most students in the Psy.D. program will receive at least partial financial aid that will reduce the amount of supplemental loan-based funding they’ll need to complete their degrees. The Psy.D. program at Rutgers earned APA accreditation in 1977.
Paying for a Psy.D.
According to the most recently available national data published by the APA, the median annual tuition cost for a doctoral psychology program at a private college or university was just under $34,000. Costs were considerably lower at public institutions, with in-state tuition being around $11,000 and out-of-state tuition rising to $24,000 per year.
It’s more common for public colleges and universities to provide full tuition waivers for doctoral students, though it’s quite unusual for Psy.D. programs even at public universities to cover tuition for all Psy.D. candidates. Notably, Rutgers is a public university, and not all of its Psy.D. students receive fully covered tuition.
Graduate and professional education is notoriously expensive in the United States, and few students are able to complete their degrees without incurring some debt. In the APA’s most recent study of psychology graduate debt, about 90% of Psy.D. students graduated with debt. Among those who took out loans to finance their education, the median amount of loan debt for Psy.D. students was about $200,000.
SEE ALSO: Best Accredited PsyD Programs for 2020
Funding Other Psychology Doctorates
For those who want to complete the educational steps necessary to earn state licensure as a clinical psychologist but who want to do so without incurring massive amounts of debt, considering a Ph.D. might be sensible.
A Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) degree will have many of the same academic aspects as Psy.D. programs, with most of the coursework being more or less identical. And Ph.D. students are much more likely to receive funding. In fact, most Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs include at least partial funding in the form of tuition remission and paid assistantships.
SEE ALSO: Best Online PsyD Programs
Those considering psychology doctorates in other areas like school psychology or counseling psychology may have a more difficult time getting funding. That’s because one of the main mechanisms for providing funding is the use of paid assistantships. These arrangements are more common in the clinical psychology space than in other focus areas because colleges and universities often use their doctoral clinical psychology programs to staff operational mental health clinics. Often, students’ main source of funding is working in these clinics.
Few psychology doctoral students will finish their educational journey without needing to spend down their savings or incur debt. More than 90% of Psy.D. graduates and about 77% of Ph.D. students in the field will graduate with debt. This is why it’s so important for students to consider all their options and pursue programs where they are likely to receive full or partial funding.