The cost of education has reached an ever high and students aspiring to pursue their higher education in the US may find it impossible to cope without some financial assistantship. Through financial assistantship the student can hope for the University to cover his education costs either partly or fully. Therefore graduate students typically rely heavily on fellowships or assistantships, especially if you’re pursuing a high-need area like nursing or teaching, but these aren’t available to everyone and don’t always cover a graduate student’s living expenses. A number of scholarship providers are then willing to help graduate students finish the last leg of their educational journeys by providing a bit of extra funding. Consider all of the options you already would when you were funding your undergraduate education – essay scholarships, merit-based awards, student and career-specific scholarships – but expand your search to organizations and sponsorship opportunities. Already lodged in a profession? Find out what incentives your employer offers for employees pursuing an advanced degree. Many employers offer some form of tuition reimbursement, possibly up to 100 percent. While you’ll probably need to remain at that company for some time once you’ve complete your graduate degree, it could be a good deal if you were planning to do so anyway. Do your research, because you don’t necessarily need to add to that student loan debt you incurred during your undergraduate career.
Colleges know graduate school is expensive, and many are here to help. In addition to traditional grant and fellowship opportunities to graduate students interested in being teaching assistants or pursuing research, some universities aid their alumni through tuition discounts on graduate programs and additional certification and training. St. John’s University allows laid off alumni to attend its graduate programs at half price. Manchester College allows students who fail to find a job within six months of graduate a year of free coursework. You may be surprised by what your alma mater can offer you, so explore all of your options.
Many organizations will offer graduate scholarships to those pursuing a particular field. Nursing and teaching funding for graduate students is the most plentiful, but other career paths could be just as rewarding if you look hard enough. The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) awards the annual Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship to students enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Each scholarship is worth $5,000, and alongside other awards for those pursuing healthcare fields, the ACHE awards 20 scholarships each year. Be sure you’re not only looking to your college for graduate school funding opportunities, especially if you’re interested in a high need or growing field.
If you’re pursuing a field of study where research is particularly important, you could be eligible for a generous amount of funding from both your college and organizations in your field of study that lead research you’re probably interested in. The National Science Foundation offers a Graduate Research Fellowship Program offers opportunities to graduate students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Fellows are expected to become experts who can contribute to research, teaching, and innovations in science engineering. Consider research fellowships if you’re interested in improving the research base of your chosen field.