Getting your master’s degree in public administration allows you to qualify for higher-paying jobs within your respective field. However, the cost of education is so high that some students never go back to school, as they are worried about being able to make ends meet while paying high tuition bills. Financial aid for students is one of the best ways to alleviate the financial stress as you attend an MPA program. There are both scholarships and grants open to students in this field.
Scholarships are often called fellowships at the master’s degree level, but the concept is the same – you’re given money toward your tuition because you possess talents and ambition for your field of study. Many fellowships require you to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant while going to school, but some are simply funds set up to provide the top students with free money for college. Grants, on the other hand, are typically connected to financial need, and some grants are specific to research projects or thesis papers you complete while a part of an MPA program.
Scholarships and grants are available through a variety of sources. First, you should start by checking with the financial aid office at your college. Most schools offer scholarships an grants directly to their students, providing the top students with money that covers large chunks of a tuition bill. Once you reach the master’s degree level, funds available from colleges are often highly competitive, so make sure you follow submission rules and do all you can to raise your GPA and GRE scores if possible.
MPA scholarships and grants are also available through government resources. As a master’s degree student, you’ll no longer be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, but other sources of money are available for students in all fields. Students.gov is a great website to start your search for government financial aid.
At this website, you can also find private financial aid, which is available through many different organizations and companies. Opportunities change from year to year, according to funding availability, but some of the places that have offered scholarships or grants to MPA students in the past have included the World Health Organization, the Public Administration Student Organization, and the Special Olympics.
Don’t forget that you can also apply for scholarships and grants that are available outside of the public administration field. Many organizations have funds for students that are available regardless of your field of student. While these scholarships and grants do tend to be extremely competitive, they provide options for financial aid even if you don’t qualify for other MPA scholarships and grants.
Also, if you chose to start your career before going to school for your master’s degree, you can check with your employer about funds available through tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs. Tuition funds through your employer are slightly different than scholarship and grant programs. With these types of programs, you’ll receive money for advanced education simply because you agree to continue working for the company. Employers want workers with the best skills possible, so many are happy to help pay for the cost of your advanced education.