For some, a bachelor’s degree is only a steppingstone to a graduate or professional degree. Between the excitement of acceptance letters and first-day nerves, there’s one thing that might give you pause: figuring out how to pay for grad school.
Granted, it’s expensive. But with help from a scholarship for graduate students — most likely from a professional association or Greek organization — it can be doable.
»MORE: How to Get a Scholarship
To help you fund your next degree, we’ve compiled a list of eight graduate student scholarships that are worth your time and effort.
Greek system scholarships
1. GRADUATE STUDY SCHOLARSHIPS (Delta Sigma Pi)
The Graduate Study Scholarships from Delta Sigma Pi, also known as the professional business fraternity, are in memory of Howard B. Johnson, Thomas M. Mocella, Lester H. White and Ben H. Wolfenberger. To qualify, students must be members of Delta Sigma Pi in good standing who are current or entering graduate students. Applicants must provide a description of community, campus and frat involvement and financial need in addition to submitting an essay and two letters of recommendation. Awards are $1,000 and winners can reapply if eligible.
2. CORNARO SCHOLARSHIP (Kappa Gamma Pi)
The Cornaro Scholarship is named for Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first recorded woman in the world to receive a university degree. The award is open to members of Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society, who completed their undergraduate degree with honors. Applicants must complete brief statements related to career aspirations, volunteer work and leadership experience in addition to submitting two signed letters of recommendation. Winners are selected based on how they live up to Kappa Gamma Pi’s motto of “Faith and Service.” The amount varies based upon donations from the previous year and the award is nonrenewable, meaning you can get it only once.
3. HOWARD PENNIMAN SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GRADUATE STUDY (Pi Sigma Alpha)
The Howard Penniman Scholarships are funded by the National Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. To apply, students must be first-year grad students pursuing a postsecondary degree in political science. Applicants must also be nominated by their chapter advisor and submit two personal statements, three letters of recommendation (including one from their chapter advisor and two from faculty members) as well as a copy of their official transcript. The scholarship awards $2,000 to a maximum of five students per year and is nonrenewable.
Professional association scholarships
This scholarship, created by the American Society of Civil Engineers, is open to members who are currently in any year of undergraduate studies, to be paid toward their first year of graduate studies in civil engineering. Applicants must submit a personal statement, financial plan, transcript, resume and two letters of recommendation to be considered. Winners, and subsequent award amounts, are evaluated based on financial need and educational standing.
The National Health Service Corps Scholarships, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, help students committed to providing primary health care in areas of need. To qualify, applicants must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited U.S. school, pursuing one of the following disciplines: physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, certified-nurse midwife or physician assistant. The award is renewable up to four years; covers tuition, fees and other educational expenses; and provides a living expenses stipend. Winners must serve at least two years in an NHSC-approved site upon graduation.
The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries began its graduate scholarship program in 1962 and has given out more than $1 million to students pursuing a degree related to the special needs of children and youths. Applicants must plan on working directly with children in specified fields, including, but not limited to, counseling, psychology, mental health, special education, speech pathology, exceptional children, remedial skills development, and hearing-impaired children and youths. To qualify, applicants must also be a permanent resident in a state with a Junior Auxiliary chapter. Those are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The amount paid varies, depending on annual donations. Winners may reapply for each additional year of study.
The Robert C. Watson Award, funded by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, is a competition designed to get law students interested in intellectual property issues. To apply, students must submit an article pertaining to intellectual property protection. Articles must be written entirely by the student and must be 10 review pages, including footnotes (approximately 30 to 40 typed pages). Submissions are evaluated on the merit of the article as well as the extent to which it displays original or creative thought. The $2,000 award is presented at the annual meeting of the AIPLA in Washington, D.C., and travel reimbursements are available.
This scholarship, funded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, recognizes student-athletes who’ve competed in varsity level intercollegiate sports at a NCAA member institution and intend to pursue a graduate degree. Applicants must be graduating college seniors with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better. Students are evaluated on leadership and character through factors like athletic involvement and community service, and must be nominated by a faculty athletics representative or chief academic officer. Applicants must also submit a personal essay and four letters of recommendation. Winners must enroll in graduate school within five years and are awarded $24,000 per academic year.
Other ways to pay for grad school
Scholarships, which don’t need to be paid back, are the ideal way to pay for graduate school. But getting enough of that cash to cover all of your educational expenses can be difficult. That’s where federal aid comes in handy: It can help you fill in the gap.