Finding Grad School Grants and Scholarships

By Ashley Paskill on May 18, 2022

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For college students, one of the biggest concerns is trying to figure out how to pay for things like tuition, books, and living expenses without going into too much debt. This is especially true as a grad student. You may have some debt from undergrad that you do not want to add to, or you would like to stay as debt-free as possible. Luckily, aid such as scholarships and grants are available for grad students, and these forms of aid do not need to be paid back. While there are plenty of grants and scholarships available, knowing where to find them is half the battle.

Online databases

There are various databases such as Fastweb, CollegeBoard, CollegeNet, and Scholarships.com that have scholarships and grants listed that you can apply for. You can search for ones that fit your needs and background. These sites even have systems in place where you can fill out information about yourself and they will tailor your scholarship list to fit the ones that you are most likely to be a candidate for based on a number of factors.

Federal aid

Just like in undergrad, you will want to apply for FAFSA to help find financial aid. While some of this aid may be offered in the form of a federal student loan, you may also receive a grant. If you have enough grant and scholarship money to cover your expenses, you do not have to accept loans if you do not want to. These offers come in based on financial information from you and your parents or guardians and can be worth varying amounts based on your need.

Scholarship lists

Some writers, such as Uloop’s own Amanda Cohen, have compiled lists of known grad school scholarships to apply for. Unlike the databases, you will likely have to read through them and make sure you understand the eligibility and application requirements, but if you are a good fit, go ahead and apply. These sorts of lists can be found using a simple internet search.

Image: maitree rimthong: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-putting-coin-in-a-piggy-bank-1602726/

Professional associations

If you belong to a professional association for your field, you may be able to find scholarships through them. They should be listed on their website, or you can contact the organization directly. These organizations want their members to stay educated with the latest resources and methods, so they give out financial aid to those who qualify to help ease the financial burden.

Check with your school

More likely than not, your school has scholarships for students, either set up by alumni or by donations from others. Check with the financial aid department of the school you are going to and see what options are available to you. If you had really good grades in undergrad, they may even offer you a scholarship to pursue your grad degree. Set up a meeting with a financial aid advisor to review your options and learn about what kinds of scholarships and grants the school offers.

Social media

It may seem silly, but social media may be able to help your hunt for grad school financial aid. There is a subreddit on Reddit that is dedicated to college financial aid, including grad school. You can either scroll through the options or post a request, listing your school and degree. People can respond with scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for based on your specific needs and circumstances. This method is a little bit more unconventional, but it may open you to financial assistance you may not have found any other way.

Community resources

Again, this is a method that is a bit different from the traditional databases, but many local organizations and community resources can aid you in your quest for scholarships and grants. Grange groups, the Rotary Club, and other local organizations may offer financial aid for grad students. If you are unsure where to start, consider asking your local government or even posting on social media groups for your town or community. Letting people in your community know you are looking for financial aid for school will help you find resources you may not have found otherwise.

National/international scholarships

There are national and international scholarships that you may want to apply for. These include the Rhodes scholarship and Fulbright grants. It may be tempting to not try since these tend to be competitive, apply anyway. You may be surprised and receive some aid through these resources. Check to see what is available where you are going to be studying and apply from there. With these scholarships, make sure you apply early as applications are due well before your grad school application is due. While these aid types are limited and competitive, you may be able to get a full-ride scholarship for grad school, so it is worth a shot.

Grad school is expensive, between tuition, books, and living expenses, so finding grants and scholarships is a great way to limit your debt and help finance your education when you are unable to work a full-time job during your studies.

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