Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants
Though it is often more difficult to find master’s-level funding opportunities that are not specific to a school or state, they do exist. Below are scholarships, fellowships and grants for students pursuing a public administration degree. None of these opportunities require repayment, but you may come across grants and fellowships that require repayment of the money they award if you do not complete your program of study.
As you search and apply for aid, keep your academic and career goals in mind; you may be able to find scholarships or fellowships that seem tailored to you. Contact the financial aid offices of the schools you are considering for more information on the specific forms of aid they offer.
Some professional, governmental and student organizations make it possible for schools and programs to apply for grants that allow them to provide small scholarships to students. Most of these must be applied for by heads of departments, but there may be some designed for graduate students who wish to travel for study or complete research for a thesis or dissertation. Competition for grant money is usually very high, and eligibility requirements are strictly adhered to. If you pursue a grant, be sure to read and follow all instructions.
- Editor's Picks
Women's Overseas Service League Scholarships for Women
- March 1, 2016
Women who wish to advance their public service careers by obtaining a degree are eligible to apply for WOSL’s scholarships. Awards range between $500 and $1,000, and they can be renewed for a second year. Applicants must plan to enroll at least part-time in an accredited program of study.
Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund
- January 2016
Applicants for this fellowship must be U.S. citizens enrolled at one of the participating schools for a graduate degree in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences. Awards can be used to either cover tuition and living expenses, or students may apply the funds towards research or the publication of a work on Armenian history.
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program
- August 31
Open to students pursuing an MFA in one of the supported fields, including public administration, applications for this fellowship are reviewed and selected by a panel of appointed experts. Awards cover the cost of tuition and living expenses for up to four years or until degree completion.
Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship
- February 20, 2016
This program, funded by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), awards $7,000 to a minority student enrolled in a public administration, governmental accounting or finance program, among others. Applicants can be upper-level undergraduates or graduate students. They must submit a career plan outlining a goal to work in governmental finance upon completing their education, as well as transcripts, resumes and letters of recommendation.
Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship
- February 20, 2016
GFOA offers individuals enrolled part-time in a graduate program that prepares them to work with governmental finances a chance to apply for this $7,000 scholarship. Applicants must have at least two years of work experience with a local or state government. They are required to submit letters of recommendation from their employer and academic advisor or dean, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a current resume and a proposed career plan.
Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
- TBA for 2016
Open to students applying or admitted to a two-year graduate program, this fellowship awards up to $37,500 to cover tuition and expenses. The fellowship can be renewed once.
Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Office Scholarship
- May 31
Applicant must be a resident of Minnesota who is a high school senior or college student pursuing a future career in law.
Addison & Ruth Dewey Scholarship
- May 31
Applicant must be a Capital University graduate pursuing a degree in law. Financial need must be demonstrated.
Joseph A. Brunetto Award for Excellence in the Study of Law
- May 31
Applicant must be a graduate student at the Capital University Law School. Preference given to a Bexley High School graduate who received an undergraduate degree from Capital University and/or who is from Bexley, Ohio.
- May 31
Applicant must be a Business major pursuing a master's degree in Business Administration at Monmouth University graduate school and who did not attend Monmouth for their undergraduate degree.
- March 31
Applicant must be a high school senior or graduate from the state of Nevada who is seeking a law oriented degree. Minimum 3.0 GPA, student aid report, and transcript required. Letters of recommendations and resumes are encouraged.
The most common and easiest to find financial aid for graduates are loans. Students, through private loan agencies or the federal government, are able to cover more of their educational costs when they take out loans. The downside of this is that loans for graduate students are often unsubsidized, and they begin to accrue interest the moment they are used. This interest, if not paid while in school, is added to the total cost of the loan upon graduation.
Though the first step to finding federal loans, even for graduate students, is to fill out the FAFSA, what you qualify for will be different from the loans you may have received as an undergraduate. Below is a breakdown of the types of loans many master’s students take on to pay for their education.
All loans must be repaid, either in part or entirely; that is the nature of loans. However, through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, matriculated master’s students make regular monthly payments on their loans for ten years, or 120 payments. After this period, if they worked full-time for governmental, public service or nonprofit organizations, they may be eligible to apply for the PSLF program and have the remaining amount forgiven.
Loan Comparison Chart
|Eligibility Requirements||No previous federal loan defaults; Must attend school at least half time|
|Amount Available||Up to $20,500/year; $138,500 for entirety of degree|
|Interest Rates||Tied to 10-year treasury note + 3.6%; Maximum of 9.5%|
|Repayment||6 months after leaving school|
|Forgiveness||After 20-25 years; 10 years for public servants|
|Eligibility Requirements||Must attend school at least half time; acceptable credit|
|Amount Available||Full cost of graduate study, including living expenses|
|Interest Rates||Tied to 10-year treasury note + 4.6%; maximum of 10.5%|
|Repayment||Deferred until 6 months after school or after attendance drops below half time|
|Forgiveness||After 10 years if employed in nonprofit or government|
|Eligibility Requirements||Must qualify as low-income student; income cut-off varies by school|
|Amount Available||$8,000/year; varies according to college|
|Repayment||9 months after leaving school|
|Eligibility Requirements||Based on credit|
|Fixed Rate/Subsidized||No/No (Usually)|
Teacher, Graduate or Research Assistant Jobs
Many schools allow graduate students to work with professors as teacher or research assistants. In these positions, students may be called upon to teach an undergraduate class, grade papers, help prepare lecture materials or assist with research. It’s common for schools to reduce tuition for TAs and RAs, as well as pay them a monthly stipend.
While this is a viable option for lowering the cost of your master’s degree, keep in mind that you will still be required to complete all coursework on top of fulfilling your TA or RA duties. It might not be possible to take on one of these positions if you already have a job.
The best way to find TA and RA opportunities is to talk to the professors in your department or the career services office on your campus.