Essentially, there are two ways to pay for graduate school. You can pay them or they can pay you.
Many graduate schools offer merit-based awards such as teaching or research assistantships or graduate fellowships. These are university-based scholarships and they are awarded to the best applicants in an incoming class. Those students who have the highest GPA and GRE scores, the best letters of recommendation, and/or the highest quality research experience (if applicable) are offered free tuition and a small salary (often called a stipend).
Students who receive assistantships are expected to work, on average, 20 hours per week as either a teaching assistant or a research assistant (depending on the graduate program). Talk with the individual department about how they go about allocating assistantships and how strong a candidate you are.
Financial aid is also available to graduate students in the form of federal or state student loans that must be repaid. If you are attending a graduate program full-time, you can take out loans to help you pay.
Reference material on financial aid and scholarships is available in the Office of Academic Advisement Reference Library. Additional information can be found on the Web on the FinAid Web site.