For most people pursuing an advanced degree, graduate school scholarships and grants are invaluable. After all, grad school usually comes at a steep price, with the average master’s degree costing $66,340 (as of 2021).
If you’re looking for scholarships for graduate school to make that M.S. or Ph.D. a little more affordable, here are some resources and programs to look into.
Completing a master’s degree or higher can potentially earn you around 17% more than those with a bachelor’s degree. However, paying for grad school versus undergrad is different — since the Department of Education now considers you as financially independent.
After completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for grad school, you’ll most likely need extra funds to keep you afloat. Applying for scholarships can help unlock free money you don’t need to pay back.
Here are some excellent resources for finding grants and scholarships for graduate school:
Fastweb is one of the most extensive college advice and financial aid databases available. According to the company, you can use the platform to search through over 1.5 million scholarships, totaling more than $3.4 billion in value.
To find grad school scholarships that match your strengths and interests, you must create a free Fastweb account. The site will then ask you to enter details like your GPA, major and hobbies. Fastweb uses that information to find scholarships that match your profile.
GoGrad helps graduate students by providing tips and advice on how to pay for school, including federal grants for graduate school and master’s degree scholarships.
GoGrad also lists plenty of niche scholarships, including options for women and veterans. The platform clearly shows how much each scholarship is worth, details about the sponsoring organization and upcoming deadlines. You can also view requirements for each application, such as submitting an essay or needing qualifications in a particular field.
Unigo is a site for high school seniors and current college or graduate students. Aside from providing resources to help you decide which school is best for you and how to make the most of your education, it also has a searchable database of graduate school scholarship opportunities. You can sign up for a free account to receive notifications for new scholarships.
The company also awards its own scholarships. You could receive up to $10,000 by applying for Unigo awards. To date, Unigo has distributed nearly $611,000 in scholarships.
Besides the usual scholarships for excellent students, Unigo also has quirky ones. For example, the company offers a $2,000 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship to the person who creates the best survival plan for if zombies were to overrun your school.
Scholarship America states it believes that every student deserves a college education, regardless of their financial situation. The organization gives students the resources and information they need to go to school without drowning in significant student loan debt.
Scholarship America has distributed over $4.9 billion in scholarships to more than 2.9 million college and graduate school students. The organization has dozens of scholarship opportunities available, including options specifically for grad school students.
While other organizations offer smaller graduate school scholarships, Scholarship America offers significant awards. Past recipients of the organization’s Dream Award have received an average of more than $24,000.
Scholly is a mobile app that makes finding grad school scholarships easier. Scholly says more than 3 million users have won over $100 million in scholarship opportunities since 2015. You can’t directly apply for scholarships on Scholly (yet), but the app can help you find grant money you would have otherwise missed.
Once you create an account on Scholly, which is available for iOS and Android smartphones and online, you can find scholarships that are a good fit. They offer a three-day free trial, with subscription plans starting around $3 a month.
You can filter results by grade level or major, making it easy to find graduate-level scholarships. The app also helps track deadlines and prioritizes upcoming scholarships.
The student loan company Sallie Mae has an interactive tool that helps you find graduate school grants and scholarships. Sallie Mae’s database features over 950,000 graduate scholarships, totaling up to $1 billion in value.
Once you register for a free account, your name will automatically go into a $1,000 sweepstake. You can create a detailed profile by entering details like your area of study, interests and skills. You also can set up alerts when new scholarships become available or search by field, region, demographic and school.
Big Future is a database created by The College Board. This not-for-profit organization helps students prepare for a successful transition to college via its programs and the broader education community through its advocacy for educators, students and schools.
Although there aren’t scholarship opportunities specifically for graduate students, you can search under the “non-degree” option in the database to find available funding opportunities. Listings may include the scholarship sponsor, the award type, the minimum or maximum scholarship amount and the application deadline.
Although there isn’t an app or a flashy database to find them, you can identify valuable graduate school grants and scholarships via professional associations. These groups give out thousands of dollars each year to encourage students and professionals to continue their education and improve their expertise in a given field.
For example, if you’re a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), you can apply for a variety of scholarships for academic achievement.
If you’re not yet part of a professional organization, JobStars has a list of associations for fields that include engineering, accounting, marketing and child care. You also can ask your department chair for recommendations about which associations you should join.
If you want to have an idea of what’s out there before you dive into the graduate school scholarship search tools, here are five different awards that serve as examples of the wide range programs available.
Graduate students who plan to use their degree to fight for social change can receive up to $15,000. Past receipts include those working to advocate against sexism, homophobia, racism and other forms of oppression.
Awards of $5,000 for up to 15 graduate students enrolled in a communication sciences or disorders program in the United States.
Up to 15 graduate students can receive $5,000 to help pay for their final year of a health care management graduate program.
You can receive up to $4,000 annually to pay off your graduate degree in exchange for at least four years of service in a low-income elementary school.
Women pursuing a higher degree in education, health, medical or social sciences can apply to receive up to $12,000 in graduate school funding.
For more options, check out our list of grants to help pay off school.
Depending on your area of study, completing a graduate school program can help you get a job sooner and boost your pay. However, whether you should go to postsecondary school isn’t an easy decision. The high cost — even with scholarships for graduate students — can cause financial issues later.
If you aren’t sure whether pursuing an advanced degree is right for you, consider if graduate school is worth it before making the financial commitment.
And if you decide it is the right next step for your career, take the time to explore the numerous grad school scholarships and grants available to ease the debt burden later. Most importantly, be careful with any loans you do take out.