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Find Online Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) Degrees with Financial Aid

Are you eager to pursue your MFT but hesitating because of the cost? Use this guide to explore financial aid opportunities for your online MFT degree so you can focus on learning without breaking the bank.

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Author: Kyra Sutherland

Kristin Marino

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You’ve built a foundational career after earning your bachelor’s degree and are now ready to dive into a master’s of marriage and family therapy program. Perhaps you want to specialize in a particular area, such as working with clients who have substance use disorder and are in treatment programs, or maybe you want to focus on helping family units become stronger. Whatever your interest, you know that getting a master’s degree is your next step to becoming certified as a licensed therapist. You also know that graduate school is expensive, no matter which school you go to or which degree you pursue.

The Pew Research Center found that higher education costs are one of the primary reasons why students don’t finish or even start college degrees, and graduate degrees tend to be even more expensive than undergraduate degrees. This is partially because graduate students are not eligible for Pell grants from the government and only qualify for unsubsidized loans and grad PLUS loans. Both begin accruing interest from day one rather than deferring interest until six months after graduation, which is the case with undergraduate subsidized loans.

We’ve found solutions to help make your career goals a reality. We’ve researched schools that give out and accept financial aid in various formats. It is possible to get your MFT degree without subjecting yourself to years of debt. Read on to learn how to tackle graduate school financing.

Profiles of Top Online MFT Programs with Financial Aid

Let’s start by highlighting several schools that offer MFT programs and give out and accept financial aid in various formats. We searched for ones with online components so you have more flexibility in approaching your studies. Please note that this is not a ranked list.

Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University offers a 100% online MFT program that prepares students for licensure and a rewarding career. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and requires the completion of 60 credit hours. The program can typically be completed in three years. You’ll gain practical training in couple, family, and child therapy, mental illness, and substance abuse and addiction counseling, emphasizing assessment and diagnostic processes. You’ll be able to specialize in one of four concentrations, and you’ll participate in an internship with 100-plus hours of supervision.

If you earned your undergraduate degree at ACU, you’re eligible for a 20% alumni discount on tuition. Scholarships are also available strictly for online students. New online students, whether pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree, are eligible for a tuition lock, which means you won’t have to pay increased tuition throughout your degree. The current cost per graduate credit hour is $650.

Loma Linda University

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Loma Linda University has an online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy that can be completed in 2.5 years. The course curriculum includes both synchronous and asynchronous course formats, and you’ll complete your required practicum hours in your local area. The degree is COAMFTE-accredited and approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. You can start your degree in September with other new students.

If you want to pursue a Play Therapy or Drug and Alcohol Counseling certificate during your program, Loma Linda offers a tuition waiver for the certificate of your choice. Additionally, you can check to see if the Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) provides financial aid for students pursuing a degree in marriage and family therapy. Historically, HPSP has provided financial assistance to students receiving education or training in a direct or indirect healthcare services discipline to supply adequate personnel for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Touro University Worldwide

Logo of Touro University Worldwide, featuring a blue shield with a "T" and a torch at the top. The words "Touro University Worldwide" are written in blue to the right of the shield.

Touro University Worldwide also has a COAMFTE-accredited master’s in marriage and family therapy available online. You can choose to pursue one of three tracks—the MFT clinical track (72 credit hours), the Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC) track (90 credit hours), or the nonclinical track (54 credits, not COAMFTE-accredited). Courses are given in an eight-week format, and you can transfer up to 12 credits toward the program.

TUW practices locked-in tuition, meaning the tuition you pay at the beginning of your degree will stay the same throughout your program, even if school-wide tuition rates increase. As of the 2024-2025 academic year, the graduate tuition rate per credit hour is $525. Students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so the school can determine eligibility for financial aid packages that could include grants, loans, or work-study positions.

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Top Types of Financial Aid for MFT Students

Now that you know MFT programs exist with various financial aid opportunities, let’s look at the most common forms of financial aid you may come in contact with. These are all likely familiar to you already.


Scholarships for marriage and family therapy students can come from many different sources, including the federal and state government (FAFSA), your college of choice (need-based or merit scholarships), the school within your college that manages your degree, and your degree’s specific department. Scholarships can also come from organizations that want to support students pursuing an education in counseling. Other companies offer generalized scholarships for students who meet the eligibility requirements and are chosen from the pool of candidates. A simple search online will bring up dozens of opportunities to sift through. Below are several examples of scholarships tailored toward MFT graduate students.


Grants are similar to scholarships because they don’t have to be paid back. You’ve probably heard of Pell Grants, which are government grants offered to many undergraduate students. Unfortunately, graduate students are not eligible for Pell Grants. However, there is grant money for graduate students, especially those participating in research to further their studies within the marriage and family therapy academic sector. Below are some examples of organizations that offer grants to graduate students pursuing education in marriage and family therapy or related disciplines.


There are not as many beneficial loan options for graduate students as for undergraduate students. Graduate students can (and are encouraged to) fill out the FAFSA application annually. This will give them access to unsubsidized low-interest federal student loans, meaning graduate students will start accruing interest on their loans as soon as they receive the payout. While still a loan, these federal loans are often a better option than taking out private loans, which tend to have higher interest rates and fewer repayment options. The other kind of loans graduate MFT students are eligible for are grad PLUS loans, which tend to have higher borrowing limits than loans offered to undergraduate students.

Financial Aid Checklist for LPN to BSN Students

There are specific steps you’ll need to take as you work on obtaining financial aid. Though every opportunity is different and will have its own requirements, the below steps should give you a good starting point and help you feel more confident in navigating the nuances of the many financial aid opportunities and applications you’ll encounter.

Complete the FAFSA Early

Though grad students aren’t eligible for Pell Grants, getting your FAFSA application in early is essential to give yourself enough time to gather all the information you need. Graduate students are considered independent from their parents, so you’ll need to provide all of your personal financial information instead of your parents’. Completing it early also means you have time to make any necessary changes before the deadline.

Thoroughly Review Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

The last thing you want to do is waste time applying for financial aid that you’re not even qualified for in the first place. Even if you have to create a spreadsheet to keep track of your applications to various financial aid resources, it’s essential to know what eligibility requirements are necessary for every resource you’re applying for. Consider keeping a folder of important information you’ll likely need repeatedly for various applications. Taking time to get organized from the beginning will save you time searching for multiple pieces of information over and over again.

Check Deadlines and Apply Early

Use your spreadsheet to keep tabs on FAFSA, scholarship, and grant deadlines for your marriage and family therapy degree. Sometimes, applying early can give you a leg up in the financial aid selection process. Just like for FAFSA, early applicants also allow themselves time to implement changes to their application and finish up any forgotten requirements if necessary.

Gather All Necessary Documents

There may be various documents that you have to submit as part of a financial aid application. These documents could include transcripts, personal finance statements, essays, letters of recommendation, and volunteer service records. Whenever you have to find or create a new document, save it in an MFT financial aid folder to help you locate it or reuse it for other financial aid applications later on.

Receive Feedback on Supplemental Materials

As you write personal essays or receive letters of recommendation, consider having someone else read over them before you submit them. Having multiple eyes look over a written piece will make it easier to notice mistakes and ensure your message comes through clearly. If you need help with essays or statements of purpose, consider asking those close to you why they think you’d be a good fit for an MFT program.

Review Award Letters

As you receive award letters from the government, your school, or a private party, keep track of who offers you what. If you opted to make a spreadsheet to keep track of your financial aid endeavors, take note of the entity that offered the financial aid, the type of financial aid offered (loans, grants, scholarships, other), the amount offered, any requirements you must still meet to obtain the aid, and the date you need to respond by to accept or decline the financial aid awarded (if applicable). Finally, if you receive scholarships, be sure to write a thank you letter to the organizations that awarded them to you.