How to Find Free Money for Graduate School
You’ve finally earned your Bachelor’s degree and have made it into graduate school. Whether you already have massive student loans from undergrad or you managed to graduate unscathed, you don’t want to add to your tremendous piles of debt or create a new pile. My new series will help you discover four ways to find free money and keep your head above water.
While less common than undergraduate scholarships, scholarships for graduate students are available. Luckily, a number of scholarship providers are willing to help graduate students continue their education by providing some extra funding.
Some universities aid their alumni through tuition discounts on graduate programs and additional certification and training. You may be surprised by what your alma mater can offer you, so explore all of your options.
First, speak with your academic and/or faculty advisor about department-specific opportunities. Ask them where to look, what the university or department requirements are, what kind of scholarships are being offered, and their deadlines.
Second, check your graduate department’s website to look at the scholarship opportunities posted and explore the requirements and deadlines for each one.
There are numerous scholarships available to those pursuing a particular field. When money hunting, be sure you’re not only looking to your college or university department for funding opportunities, especially if you’re entering a high demand or expanding field. Expanding career fields include healthcare (physicians, pharmacists), security and technology (IT, engineering), and education (teachers, professors).
Popular subject-specific fields for scholarship funding include business, history, mathematics, science, engineering, and language studies. By focusing in more general scholarships, such as social science, communications, library science, and physical and life sciences, more specialized opportunities will ultimately lead to more specific programs for students pursuing graduate-level studies in their field.
To find these career-specific scholarships, start with a general web search among reputable search engines, or ask your academic and/or faculty advisor for suggestions.
With so many different academic-focused scholarships available, many students apply for chances to win unique scholarships, as there is often less competition. Some of these awards have such specific criteria, or are so unknown, that relatively few students ever apply, increasing your chances of getting the funding.
To find these career-specific scholarships, start with a general web search among reputable sites or check the students/careers section of large company websites to see if you qualify for their learning or leadership programs. Another option is to browse your favorite websites or hobby forums to see if they offer funding opportunities.
For students who are unfamiliar with scholarships, or how to search for them, it can be difficult to determine which scholarships out there are available. Below is a list of popular websites that post countless scholarships from around the internet for graduate students to browse all in one area (and remember to check your institution’s website for their college-based opportunities):
FastWeb is one of the premier online resources when paying for school. Offering scholarship opportunities for every type of graduate student just a click away. All you need to do is register for a free FastWeb account and complete your online profile. The questions asked are used to match students to scholarships listed in their database.
Peterson’s provides some of the best material online to aid students with graduate school funding. With Peterson’s, you are getting the best and most up-to-date information on relevant financial opportunities by allowing users to narrow down search results based on subject, residency, deadline, and more.
GoGRAD provides an easy online platform where all types of graduate students can search for school funding. With user-friendly search tools, graduate students are given the opportunity to vet all their options by searching through databases by subject and demographic information.
Scholarships.com is a free scholarship search website that helps both undergraduate and graduate students locate and apply for scholarship opportunities. By registering for free, users are able to save search results and revisit scholarships at a later time to apply. Like FastWeb, the questions asked are used to match students to scholarships listed in their database.