Financing Your Education
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
A doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California, Berkeley is an investment in a rewarding career and in yourself. Numerous programs – from fellowships and loans, to fee reductions and loan forgiveness – create paths to finance the cost of your graduate studies.
UC Berkeley Fellowships and Awards
Over $1.5 million in fellowships and awards are made annually by UC Berkeley to our current students.
Domestic non-residents will receive an additional $5,000 in the first year of study to augment Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST). It is expected that US citizens and permanent residents will successfully apply for California residency by their second year of study.
International students will receive an additional $5,000 in their first year to augment Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. In their second through fourth years, international students are responsible for the full cost of Nonresident Supplemental Tuition.
You do not need to apply for Departmental Awards. They are automatically applied to all students in good standing.
For more information and resources for international students, please contact UC Berkeley’s International Office.
Subject to funding availability, GOP & OOA awards provide a $10,000 stipend ($5,000 per semester), tuition and in-state fees for the first year (only). This is in addition to the departmental award and $5,000 towards Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (described above).
Eligible applicants (including US citizens, permanent residents, and AB540 applicants) who wish to be considered for these awards should submit additional documentation and information as described in the application for admission. This award supplants the Departmental Award in year one of the OD program.
Potential to bring to one’s academic career the critical perspective that comes from a non-traditional educational background or one’s understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education; Communication skills and cross-cultural abilities to maximize effective collaboration with a diverse cross-section of the academic community; Demonstrated significant academic achievement by overcoming barriers such as economic, social, or educational disadvantage; Potential to contribute to higher education through understanding the barriers facing domestic minorities, students with disabilities, and other members of groups underrepresented in higher education careers, as evidenced by life experiences and educational background (e.g. attendance at a minority serving institution, ability to articulate the barriers facing minorities in science and engineering fields, participation in higher education pipeline programs such as UC Leads, Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), The Leadership Alliance or McNair Scholars; Academic service advancing equitable access to higher education for women and racial minorities in the fields where they are underrepresented; Leadership experience among students from groups that have been historically underrepresented in optometry; research interests focusing on underserved populations and understanding issues of racial or gender inequalities (e.g. research that addresses issues such as race, gender, diversity, and inclusion, health disparities, educational access and achievement, political engagement, economic justice, social mobility, civil and human rights, and other questions of interest to historically underrepresented groups).
The UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office works closely with students to make a priceless UC Berkeley education an affordable reality. We suggest reviewing the types of aid that are available, eligibility requirements, and our financial aid calculator to learn more about financial aid. Graduate students interested in using federal loans or earning federal work study to help fund their education must fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA school code for UC Berkeley is 001312. Additionally, Optometry students are eligible for the Health Professions Student Loan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
To be considered for an HPSL, Optometry students need to include parent information on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), regardless of their independent status for all other programs.
OD students also have many additional outside scholarship opportunities throughout their four years in the program. The following list is not exhaustive and students are encouraged to seek out additional opportunities that may be available. Examples include the military based scholarships, such as the Air Force, Army, and Navy Optometric Scholarships, veteran’s educational benefits, and those administered by the American Optometric Association (AOA).
Eligibility for veteran’s educational benefits is determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), not by UC Berkeley. You may apply for veterans’ educational benefits online through Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP).
OD students have three possible options for lowering their cost of attendance: become a California resident, registering for ‘In Absentia’ status (Year 4), and waiving the student health insurance plan.