Believe it or not, if you’re thinking about continuing your education with a graduate degree, it’s already time to start researching grants for grad school. Scholarships and grants for grad school are highly competitive, so it may work to your advantage to prepare and apply as early as you can. Due to the extensive review process, many deadlines for the first round of grad school grant competitions are in the fall.
Grants for Grad School are Merit-based Aid
Grants and scholarships for grad school may have some need-based component to them, but they are usually merit-based. These are financial aid awards for students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and professional promise in their fields, or who in other ways than financial need prove that they meet the intense eligibility criteria of the grad school grant or scholarship sponsor.
Many grants for grad school are classed as stipends, intended to cover education expenses ranging from cost of attendance to housing and living bills.
Grants for Grad School Sponsors: Colleges and Foundations
Individual colleges and universities are a primary source of grants for grad school because most graduate financial aid is department-specific. Many academic departments create their own graduate scholarships for students who excel in those fields. These days, there is a growing supply of department grad scholarships specifically for financially needy students.
Public and private sponsors, including nonprofit foundations, institutions, and corporations, are another source of scholarships and grants for grad school. There are any number of prestigious national foundations looking for the next generation of world leaders, game changers, and scholars for their equally prestigious graduate fellowships.
No Pell Grants for Grad Students
Graduate students do not qualify for Pell Grants, which are reserved for pre-bachelor degree undergraduates only. Grad students are eligible for federal TEACH grants, however, if you plan to pursuing a graduate teaching degree and are willing to teach low-income children in a designated teacher shortage area for 4 years post-graduation. Graduate students in teaching can get TEACH grants up to $8,000.
Searchable Grants for Grad School Database on the Federal Student Aid Website
The Federal Student Aid website maintains a scholarship database that lists thousands of grants and scholarships offered by both individual schools and private foundations.
The best way to search for suitable grants for grad school is by the subject you intend to get your graduate degree in. For example, a search on the subject keyword “communications” turned up 46 university and private scholarships. Not all were grants for grad school, but the extensive database brings into one place opportunities from all the best-known private sources as well as hundreds of colleges and universities.