If you are planning to get a master’s degree, then there’s a good chance you may also be looking into graduate school scholarship opportunities.
The reality is, a bachelor’s degree is already expensive. But getting a graduate degree for both part-time and full-time students can be a financial challenge, even at the low end of the scale.
According to FinAid.org the cost can be anywhere between $30,000 and $120,000. How much you pay will depend on the state you want to go to school in, the school you want to go to, and the field of study of the degree you are working toward. Each state’s department of education has different laws.
Here are a few current examples:
- MBA University of Washington: $68,676
- MBA Columbia University: $114,309
- MBA University of Tennessee: $40,114
- MBA Ohio University: $35,980
That’s per academic year for students who live in the respective states.
Clearly, where you decide to get your advanced degree is going to impact that cost. And as all of us are now aware, some are willing to go to extremes to get into specific universities.
Unless you come from a wealthy family, chances are you don’t have that kind of cash floating around for higher education. You may need to think about finding a student loan. And, if you or your family can bear the burden of even one of the best student loans available, looking for different funding opportunities, such as graduate school grants and scholarships is just a reasonable thing to do.
Miscellaneous Student Expenses and Fees
As if the above amounts aren’t enough, be aware there are a host of other ancillary expenses that need to be paid.
You may need money to cover the cost of the following:
- Academic advising or tutoring
- Extra expenses for student services
- Graduation fees
- Lab fees
- Library fees
- Parking expenses
- Student kits
- Sustaining fees
- Technology fees
- Thesis fees
- Travel and accommodation expenses
Again, depending on the school and location these fees can be hundreds of dollars a year or more. Thankfully, some schools are very transparent about these fees.
Types of Graduate School Scholarships
Unfortunately, scholarships at a graduate level aren’t as common as undergraduate degree scholarships, but they are available. And while many graduate students rely on assistant-ships and some sort of fellowship program, these specific scholarships often don’t cover the student’s cost of living, and they aren’t available to everyone.
Of course, there is no such thing as free money, however, there are a number of providers that are willing to foot at least some of the bill in order to help students finish their graduate studies. Most scholarship programs accept part-time and full-time grad students with financial needs. But besides financial need, there are multiple other requirements. Some scholarships are dedicated to minorities, such as Native American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Latino/Hispanic.
Students looking for graduate scholarships still have some of the options that were open to them when they were undergrads. These are:
- Career and student-specific graduate scholarships
- Essay scholarships
- Merit-based awards
However, there are other options to consider. For example, if you’re already in a career or profession, check with your employer. Ask if they have any incentives or stipend for employees enrolled in a degree program — if they are an employer paying student loans you could take advantage of this benefit and reduce the student debt.
Here are a few examples of graduate scholarships and financial aid opportunities for graduate students:
- College-based awards
- A career-specific graduate scholarship award
- Research fellowship programs
- Professional organizations
- North American Interfraternal Foundation
- The Fulbright Program
Graduate Fellowship and Scholarships: How to Find Them
So I think we’ve clearly detailed the need for graduate program grants and scholarships, but before you begin working on your letters of recommendation, how is a student supposed to find them?
Fortunately, there are several excellent resources that can help in the search.
› 1. The Graduate School Scholarship Search
The Graduate School Scholarship Search is a relatively new tool—released March 2018—from Sallie Mae, that provides student loans based out of Delaware.
Billing it as the new “go-to destination for graduate school scholarships,” this tool is available to both current and prospective graduate school students. The tool houses an impressive collection of approximately 850,000 graduate scholarships totaling more than $1 billion.
The tool is easy to use. Interested students simply register at no charge and then fill out an online profile they can update and change at any time. From there, searching for an applicable grad school scholarship fund is easy.
When the search is complete, you are presented with a list of relevant scholarships that match your criteria, along with all of the FAFSA application requirements, award amounts, and deadlines.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Graduate School Scholarship Search will continue to search for new matches and send you updates if any are found.
The tool’s list of graduate school grants and scholarships also includes fellowships and covers an array of disciplines which include business, education, engineering, health and nursing, law, and medical.
Awards range in size from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
As an added bonus, anyone who registers for the Graduate School Scholarship Search will be automatically entered into a monthly Sallie Mae $1,000 Sweepstakes, where winners are selected at random.
- The tool includes 850,000 graduate scholarships totaling more than $1 billion
- It’s easy to use
- The search continues to update and notify you when new matches are found that meet your criteria
- All disciplines are covered
- You are automatically entered into a monthly Sallie Mae $1,000 Sweepstakes
› 2. Fastweb
As one of the best and most trusted scholarship services available to students today, Fastweb is something of a database on steroids. It’s a subsidiary of Monster.com, first going live in 1995.
They have proven themselves to be the place to go when doing:
- Scholarship searches
- College searches
- Jobs and Internships searches
And since the service has a long history, it does offer more than the service listed above. To the tune of:
- More than 1.5 million available scholarships
- Scholarships valuing more than $3.4 billion
The process is also simple. Create a Fastweb account, provide the asked for details about your GPA, your major, and any hobbies, then begin your search for graduate school grants and scholarships that match your requirements.
From there, Fastweb will provide you with a list of scholarships that match your profile. Once you find what you are looking for you can work on your scholarship applications.
In addition, Fastweb offers more than the ability to search. A rich Resources page also offers links to articles on a variety of topics relevant to current and future students.
› 3. Unigo
While Unigo is another searchable database for graduate school scholarships, it’s also something more. They provide multiple resources to Ph.D. students, graduate students, college students, and high school students.
Unigo goes a step further than some of the others by offering their own scholarships, and not in trifling amounts. Some of the graduate school scholarships they offer amount up to $10,000 simply by applying for their awards.
Unigo has awarded approximately $500,000 in scholarships. What kind of scholarships do they offer? They offer up something a little—okay, a lot—different from most.
Check out these offerings:
- $2,500 – Superpower Scholarship
- $1,500 – Flavor of the Month Scholarship
- $1,500 – Make Me Laugh Scholarship
- $2,000 – Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship
Learn what those are all about and their other scholarships here.
› 4. GoGrad
GoGrad offers a simple interface that allows you to search for graduate school scholarships. But you also have access to helpful tips and resources that can help you navigate the application process, and on how to pay for your education. You can find several useful insights into finding and getting scholarships, grants, and even federal financial aid.
You’ll find details on how much each scholarship is awarding, who is awarding it, when the application deadline is, and any application requirements.
And if you’re looking for something a little different, you can source scholarships specifically geared to:
- Military veterans
- The LGBTQ community
› 5. Scholarship America
Scholarship America was founded in 1958 with the goal of helping American students advance through the education system by helping to support them with financial aid.
Initially called Dollars for Scholars, the aim was to have every person in a community donate a single dollar to an educational fund, helping to educate the children of that community.
From that idea, Scholarship America was born, and today they are the largest private-sector nonprofit educational support system in the United States.
Once a student creates an account, they can apply for a variety of scholarships, programs, and initiatives. Funding through Scholarship America is in part contributed by those in the community, such as businesses and individuals who want to assist in providing financial help for students and their families.
By means of these donations, Scholarship America has helped to distribute more than $3.7 billion in scholarships.
Finding Grad School Grants & Scholarships
Clearly, there is a lot of help out there for any who are seeking financial assistance in the form of grants and scholarships.
Hopefully, the information shared above will be enough to help you choose the right search tool for your situation and circumstances.