Types of Scholarships for Graduate Students

By Jonathan Bales , last updated October 25, 2011

Many students forgo graduate school simply because they do not have enough money to pay for the ever-increasing tuition. A lot of these students fail to take advantage of all of the scholarships which are available those entering graduate school, however. While there are not as many graduate scholarships available as those which are provided to undergraduates, there is still a significant amount of money out there to be had. Many of these scholarships are of the same variety as undergraduate scholarships, although there are some differences. Read on for more information on the various types of graduate school scholarships.

Unlike with undergraduates, the Federal government does not provide grants to graduate students. There are a few graduate scholarships offered by the Federal government, however. The Department of Defense, for example, offers scholarships each year, as does the Department of Education. A lot of the government-funded graduate scholarships mimic other types of graduate scholarships in that they are for students headed into a particular field of study. Since most grad students have a sense of the area in which they want to both study and work, major or field-specific scholarships are very prevalent.

A lot of independent organizations provide graduate scholarships to students entering a particular field. You can search sites like Scholarships.com to find these opportunities. There, you can filter scholarship results to include only graduate school options. You can also limit the results in other ways, like scholarships just for women. In fact, there are a multitude of graduate school scholarships available for people with specific traits like this.

A final graduate scholarship type is a fellowship. Fellowships are available only for graduate school students, and they are a tremendous way to fund an education. Fellowships are a type of merit-based scholarship in which the student performs some sort of job. Usually, the fellowship involves working as a teaching assistant or having some sort of internship. Unlike scholarships, fellowships generally do not take financial need into account. Thus, anyone who has performed well as an undergraduate is eligible for a fellowship.

Fellowships are always field-specific. While they often come from graduate schools, many companies also provide students with fellowships. In exchange for paying for part or all of a graduate student's tuition, the student promises to work for the company upon graduating for a specific amount of time. Companies give fellowships to top-tier students so that they can garner their services prior to competing for them once they are already entering the workforce. Sometimes, companies will even give fellowships to current employees so that they can farther their education. This can be beneficial to both the grad student and current employee, as well as the employer.

Regardless of your background or field, you should take advantage of all the potential sources of graduate scholarships. Apply to as many different scholarships as possible, as this will maximize your chances of receiving one. In the end, the time spent searching for the most appropriate scholarships and applying for them is almost always worth the time.

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