When it comes to scholarships, those applying to graduate schools often feel left out. But grad school applicants can and do receive free financial aid for higher education via graduate degree scholarships. But applicants should understand that the process of reaping those benefits outside of student loans is trickier than what a high school & undergrad applicant endures.
For many people considering graduate school, funding options are an essential influencer of whether or not they apply. That’s because, as often is the case, undergraduate schooling places many people in debt. Due to this, those with freshly minted undergraduate degrees often move into the workforce to begin earning income.
Financial help for West Virginia graduate students eases the burden of debt. It helps a student choose between part-time or full-time attendance. It can cut down on what’s owed following graduation.
Eight out of 10 graduate students borrow money. So it stands to reason that grad school scholarships would indeed be sought after by most students.
Grad School Scholarships Are Less Plentiful (But Available)
By now, you probably already realize that grad school scholarships are in high-demand. Grad school scholarships exist and many students at the graduate level leverage them as a way to cut down on future debt for their advanced degree. But some people wrongly assume they can’t get one, so they delay their grad school application.
Funding Usually Is Niche
Grad school scholarships rarely encompass broad studies. Instead, these scholarships typically focus on specific areas of study.
Take the Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship, for example. This scholarship, funded annually by the American College of Healthcare Executives, has the following eligibility requirements:
- A full-time student enrolled in a healthcare management graduate program
- Entering your final year of study with expected graduation date within a 12 month period
- Demonstrated financial need
- US or Canadian citizen
- Not a previous recipient
- Bonus (but not required) if you are a Student Associate of the ACHE
This isn’t something unique to grad school scholarships, but it is something you need to be aware of before applying for them.
Make sure you read the finer print and understand all of the requirements before taking the time to apply.
Oh, and if you are interested in enrolling in our healthcare MBA program, this may be a great scholarship opportunity for you!
Alternatively, if you are a minority student, the Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship is available under similar qualifications from the ACHE.
Funding Rarely Covers The Entire Tuition
Grad school scholarships, as stated prior, don’t work in the same capacity as undergraduate scholarships. Not only are there fewer of them, but you’ll get less (much less) in financial funding.
Often, grad school scholarships are more in line with $3000 or $5000 infusions. You already know that won’t cover the full grad school tuition.
Funding Should Compliment University Cost Savings
Above, I note three important grad school scholarship distinctions:
- Grad school scholarships are less plentiful
- Grad school scholarships are less money
- Grad school scholarships are study-specific
That’s a heavy load of naysaying.
But in reality, it simply means that prospective grad students should aim to decrease all related spends. Such an economic approach begins with grad school tuition costs.
Two Popular Grad School Scholarship Types
If you want free grad school money and you’re open to diverse career paths, consider one of these programs.
Scholarships For Graduate Students In Education
The education space yields wonderful opportunities for those who advance their education. A graduate degree in education can help bolster opportunities, plus, it’s one of a handful of opportunities with increased scholarship chances.
While grad school scholarships for teachers aren’t plentiful, they are more available than many other careers. Several can be specifically applied for within West Virginia, and there are several others available nationwide.
Graduate School Scholarships in Social Work
Social work graduate scholarships should make a shortlist of considerations if free money is of high concern.
Now that we’ve broken down grad school scholarship logistics, let’s explore popular ways to get free money.
7 Graduate Degree Scholarship Opportunities
Hazel Ruby McQuain Scholarship
A West Virginia specific grad school scholarship, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Scholarship helps those residents seeking grad school funding in the state. However, outside state funding is available pending the school is accredited.
You can learn more about the Hazel Ruby McQuain Scholarship program here.
Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program
Another West Virginia-based scholarship available to graduate students specifically seeking a degree in teaching, the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholarship is meant to assist West Virginians interested in obtaining a teaching certificate and committed to the pursuit of a teaching career in West Virginia’s public schools.
Due to limited funding, priority is given to junior, senior, and graduate students. Another thing to keep in mind for this scholarship is that awards are contingent upon annual funding of the program by the West Virginia State Legislature.
Get the full details on applying for the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship program here.
When it comes to scholarships, Scholarship America provides billions annually. While the bulk of their scholarships target undergraduate students, they remain a qualified provider for undergraduate funding nationally.
By using Fastweb, you’ll immediately gain access to a plethora of grad school scholarship opportunities. You’ll need to create a free account. You’ll put in your education history, achievements, and personal information. The Fastweb database will leverage your profile information to pair you with potential funding opportunities.
Like the programs listed before it, Unigo provides mostly in the undergraduate scholarship space. But fear now, they also boast a large graduate school scholarship opportunity database.
Employer Funded Grad School
Companies that want to compete need to acquire and maintain talent. Many companies have built-in grad school funding opportunities as a way to attract new talent. For companies that don’t, an employee should ask to discuss such funding opportunities with the employer.
Believe it or not, your chances at employer-funded grad school money is higher than you think. In 2017, a report by US News reported a 2017 Society for Human Resource Management survey revealing that 50% of employees were offered at least some free graduate school funding.
Clearly, the company paying for your education will likely desire that the graduate studies be related to your position or potential future position with that company. This makes sense considering that the company is investing in your future.
Clearly, by working, you likely extend your time in grad school. But you also serve to pay off tuition at an expedited pace. Overall, this is a great strategy for increasing your viability as an employee while keeping debt cost at a minimum.
Become a Member of PRSSA
After you complete your undergraduate degree, you can apply for a PRSSA membership. PRSSA will cost around $60 a year, but you can then apply for one of their graduate program scholarships.
Graduate school scholarships are considered rare air compared to undergraduate ones, but the truth is, you can find them if you take the time to explore a variety of options. Depending on your grad school of choice, you may get some of your tuition knocked off.
In the end, it may take more effort, but any student debt knocked off is a win.