Graduate scholarships & other ways to pay for college
Earlier this year, I posted a blog giving students advice on where to find graduate scholarships and it seemed to resonate with many students. Several have contacted me seeking additional information on how to fund their graduate degree programs, so I thought it might be time to delve deeper into the subject. One student, Christian, asked:
“It doesn't seem like there are many scholarships for graduate students available. Is that true? Is it worth looking for scholarships? Are there other sources of funding I should be thinking about?”
These are all very good questions, Christian. Yes, graduate scholarships are not as readily available as scholarships for incoming college freshmen and undergraduate students, but that doesn't mean they don’t exist. Graduate students just have to do a little more research and think outside the box when it comes to finding free money for college.
In fact, there are a variety of funding sources that students should consider. Tiffany, our scholarship specialist, breaks down some of the options in this short and informative video. In short, students should start with these resources when searching for graduate scholarships and other financial aid to help cover tuition, fees, and other college expenses.
Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Students may be eligible to receive college funding from their current employers. Typically, students must work a minimum number of hours and meet certain grade requirements to earn this incentive. For more information on this type of financial assistance, students should check with their HR departments.
Students entering a graduate degree program that requires research may be eligible for scholarships or grants. These are often called research fellowships, but students may also receive funding as a research assistant. Students should check with their colleges' research departments to see if they are eligible for this type of financial assistance.
Professional Member Organizations
Many degree programs offer students the opportunity to join professional member organizations that correspond with their intended career paths, for example, PRSA for public relations majors or the ABA for law students. Many of these organizations offer student members scholarships to help pay for their degrees. Of course, one of the best ways to locate free money for a graduate degree program is for students to conduct a scholarship search. They can Google their major, such as ‘chemical engineering scholarships’ or save themselves time by using a good, online scholarship search tool. Students should start researching graduate scholarships during the last two years of their undergraduate program to ensure they have adequate funding available. For those who are returning to school after a break, I suggest starting no later than eight months before beginning a graduate program. It may seem like graduate scholarships don’t exist, but they are out there. You just need to know where to find them.