Physical Therapy Scholarships & Financial Aid

Most students need financial assistance to fund a graduate education. Unfortunately, there are fewer scholarships and grants for graduate education compared to undergraduate. That means that most students borrow money to help pay for their education while in our PT program. This short document will give you some of the basics of borrowing money to fund your studies in the PT program. You can find more information on the web or by contacting the Financial Aid office at Rockhurst at 816-501-4600.

“Cost of Education”
Students are eligible to borrow enough money each year to cover the “Total Cost of Education”. This is the sum of tuition and fees plus an estimate for books, room & board, transportation and personal living expenses. 

Although it is possible to borrow up to the cost of education, we strongly encourage you to borrow only as much as you absolutely need to fund your education and don’t take on extra debt if at all possible.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, the total estimate for tuition, fees and books for students in the Rockhurst PT program was approximately:

First year students: $32,000
Second year students: $30,000
Third year students: $18,000

The estimated total cost for a year of room and board, transportation and personal expenses was $12,300 in 2011-2012.

Student Loans
Graduate students typically borrow money to support their education through the federal Stafford loan program and the federal GradPLUS loan program.

Students can borrow up to $20,500 per year through the Stafford program. Since this is less than the total cost of education for the first two years in the PT program, most students borrow additional money from the GradPLUS program during those years.

Money borrowed through the Stafford program is loaned at fairly low interest rates. Interest begins accruing while the student is in school, but student is not responsible for paying any of the loan or interest back until after graduation. Loans through the GradPLUS program are similar in that they have fairly low interest rates and accrue interest without an obligation to begin repayment until after graduation. 

(The Stafford program used to differentiate between "subsidized" and "unsubsidized" loans. Subsidized loans did not accrue interest while the student was in school. However, the federal government recently eliminated the Stafford subsidies, so all Stafford loans now accrued interest while the student is in school.)

For more information on these two programs, see:

Also, become familiar with:

This is the web site that you’ll use to track information, sign electronic authorization forms and do loan counseling.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
If you’ve never applied for financial aid before, you’ll need to submit a FAFSA so that Rockhurst can verify that you are eligible for financial aid. You can start the process online at:

Financial aid for your first semester at Rockhurst (summer) will be covered by “last year’s” FAFSA, while financial aid for fall, spring and next summer semesters will covered by “this year’s” FAFSA. For example:

• Summer 2012 will be covered by the FAFSA submitted in 2011 (for the 2010 earnings year)
• Fall 2012, Spring 2013 and Summer 2013 will be covered by the FAFSA submitted in early 2012 (for the 2011 earnings year)

"External" Scholarships
FastWEB (Financial Aid Search Through the Web) is the largest and most complete scholarship search on the Internet. It provides free access to a searchable database of more than 400,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants and student loans. Students are encouraged to seek scholarship funds from outside of Rockhurst.

"Internal" Scholarships and Non-Loan Financial Aid
At this time, our department only offers a few “internal” scholarships. Most are in the neighborhood of $500 to $2,500 dollars and none are available prior to beginning the program.

Departments within the School of Graduate and Professional Studies have limited assistantships available to students.

Be Smart – Be Frugal – Plan Ahead
Our Financial Aid office encourages students to take out as little Financial Aid as possible since you’ll eventually pay it all back…with interest! We encourage students to think ahead about how much they will have to budget each month after graduation to make loan payments. Web sites like and have calculators to help estimate monthly payments as long as you know:

• How much money you have (or will you have) borrowed
• How many years you will have to pay off your loan(s) (typically anywhere from 10-25 years)
• How often you will make payments on your loan(s) (typically monthly)
• What interest rate you will pay on your loan amount(s)

To answer questions about what criteria are needed to renew federal, state, and institutional awards download the Scholarship & Award Guidelines and Satisfactory Academic Progress (PDF) document.

Find Out More

Office of Admission and Financial Aid
1100 Rockhurst Road
Kansas City, Mo. 64110
(816) 501-4600
(800) 842-6776