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Funding Graduate & Professional School

Getting money for graduate and professional school is often an easier proposition than you might think. The money is out there; the challenge is finding where. Start researching options early.  Money for graduate study comes in a variety of forms. The following is a list of types of awards and application procedures. Keep in mind that deadlines for financial aid applications are frequently earlier than regular admission deadlines, so be sure to research your options well in advance.

Graduate Fellowships
Fellowships are a form of scholarship that allows graduate students to further pursue their field of study in a much more hands-on manner. They are available to both Master’s and Doctoral students. A fellowship will often pay for a student to leave their current job, at least temporarily, in order to study and research on a full-time basis. This is especially applicable to students pursuing degrees in the sciences, as they require hands-on learning the most. Graduate fellowships can also be considered tuition awards, meaning that they award full tuition for the duration of your graduate studies. The end result of the fellowship is typically a journal article, report, conference or some sort of meeting on the findings you have discovered during your studies. Graduate fellowships allow students to take their learning to a depth that classroom learning simply would not allow. Be sure to ask each program to which you apply for information on financial aid. Ask if other offices might have information (Financial Aid Office or Fellowships Office) as well. Opportunities are available, but you must find them.

Graduate Assistantships
Assistantships are provided by the university in return for service or work, typically on a part-time basis (20 hours per week). Awards may be based on financial need, academic merit or appropriate experience. Additionally, the amount of the award may provide a full- or partial-tuition waiver, a monthly stipend or both.

Types of Assistantships
  • Teaching Assistants: teach undergraduate courses on a part-time basis. A Teaching Assistantship is valuable experience for those planning a career in college teaching.
  • Research Assistants: carry out research assignments under the supervision of faculty members. Sometimes, a research assistantship can be used to meet requirements in a degree program.
  • Residence Life, Counseling and Student Affairs Assistants: do a combination of administrative work and counseling or advising. Residence Life Assistantships often require that you live in an undergraduate residence hall. They usually offer room and board, in addition to a tuition waiver and possibly a stipend. These assistantships are frequently tied to programs in psychology, counseling, student personnel or social work.
Additional Financial Aid Sources
  • Administrative internships: these are provided in return for administrative services and are great experience for those planning a career in education administration.
  • Basis of award: financial need, academic merit or appropriate experience.
  • Amount of award: some provide a full- or partial-tuition waiver, a monthly stipend, or both.
  • Loans: loans are available through banks, government agencies and special loan funds at the university.
  • Military: funding is available in exchange for future military service.
  • Employers: some employers have reimbursement programs for employees who continue their education in a field related to their employment.
  • Professional organizations: chances are that group has scholarship opportunities available to its members interested in pursuing graduate study.
  • North American Interfraternal Foundation: awards a number of scholarships to former fraternity and sorority members (honors organizations included) pursuing graduate school.
Financial Aid Resources
  • Annual Register of Grant Support 2010, 43rd ed. Information Today Inc. 2010
  • Cash for Grad School: The Ultimate Guide to Grad School Scholarships HarperCollins 2004
  • Dan Cassidy's Worldwide Graduate Scholarship Directory, 5th ed Career Press 2000
  • Directory of Financial Aids for Women 2012-2014
  • EPA's National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship Program United States Environmental Protection Agency 2006
  • Financial Aid for African Americans, 2003-2005 Reference Service Press 2003
  • Financial Aid for Research and Creative Activities Abroad, 2002-2004 Reference Service Press 2002
  • Free Money for Graduate School, 4th ed. Checkmark Books 2000
  • Getting Money for Graduate School 2003 Thomson Learning 2002
  • Graduate School Funding Handbook, 2nd ed. U Pennsylvania Press 2002
  • Grants Register: The Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide, 22nd ed. Palgrave's 2005
  • Grants, Scholarships, and other Financial Resources, 2 vols. Infobase Publishing 2007
  • How to Find a Scholarship Online McGraw-Hill 2001
  • How to Pay for Your Degree in Education & Related Fields Reference Service Press 2004
  • Magic Search Words-Scholarships: Strategies and Search to Discover the Best of the Internet
  • Money for Graduate Students in the Arts & Humanities, 2003-2005 ed. Reference Service Press 2003
  • Money for Graduate Students in the Biological & Health Sciences, 2003-2005 ed. Reference Service Press 2003
  • Money for Graduate Students in the Physical & Earth Sciences, 2003-2005 ed. Reference Service Press 2003
  • Money for Graduate Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2003-2005 ed. Reference Service Press 2003
  • Paying for Grad School Without Going Broke, 2004 ed. Princeton Review 2003
  • Peterson's Scholarships, Grants, and Prizes Thomson Peterson's 2007
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