Searching for Grad School Money is Half the Battle

When it comes to choosing a graduate school to complete your education, finding sources of funding is critical to maximizing your potential, according to US News and World Report.

For example, Eddie Rice Cole, a Ph.D. student in higher education at Indiana University, has looked for funds for graduate school so often that he now has it down to a science.

He noted recently that most of the funds that he has been able to find were related to his involvement in Greek life and fraternities, but the biggest thing that he found that makes a difference in finding graduate funds is to put aside some time each semester to apply for grants and scholarships

This doctoral student noted that his normal plan is to figure out when various scholarships, grants and fellowships are going to be made available. He keeps track of the upcoming dates through email listservs from the university, departments, the community and associations.

He said that after he was in grad school for a year, it was fairly easy to have a good list of when the best opportunities come available.

His advice to make more time to find grad school money is one of the most important tips that financial aid experts say can lead to the best opportunities to find graduate school funding.

Cole also noted that he tries to organize his letters of support and references way in advance. He finds it much easier to ask for several recommendation letters at one time from faculty members, than to constantly ask for recommendation letters several months in a row.

He also recommended that graduate students finish their funding applications in advance so that a friend or colleague can review them. At the very least, it is a good idea to step away from the applications for a day or two and review them before sending them in.

Follow the tips below to help you find cash for graduate school.

Some other recommended tips to find grad school funds include:

  1. Act aggressively. When it comes to graduate school, students need to be high proactive about finding money to support their graduate education, according to the director of the Research and Policy Analysis at the Council of Graduate Schools.

  2. Look closely at your university. There are a great many funding sources, and many exist at most universities. But finding them all is not always easy. You need to go both to the financial aid office and to the department and see what is there. Also, try to go the research office if there is one, or the diversity office, to find other opportunities for grants that may not be well publicized.

  3. Track down the money people on your campus. Some universities offer a liaison in the research office who works mostly with graduate students who want to come up with their own proposals for college funding.

  4. Use a lot of creativity. Not every opportunity for funding is a scholarship or a fellowship. Some universities have paid teaching positions that ask the graduate candidate to come up with a class and to turn in a syllabus. If the class is accepted, you could earn money for teaching that class to put towards your graduate or doctoral degree.

  5. Look for websites that you overlooked before. The websites www.finaid.org and www.fastweb.com are very popular with undergraduate students, but they are not used as much for graduate students looking for funds. These sites do list graduate fellowships, so checking those sites often is wise.

  6. Reapply. Just because you did not get the fellowship one time, does not mean you cannot get it the second time. You also can try to contact the awarding institution and try to get a copy of the review comments from your first application and see if you can determine why you did not get the award the first time.

Another way to consider earning money for graduate school is to get published during your academic career. Many financial aid experts state that getting published early on in your undergraduate career can really help you to gain an edge for fellowships and other types of funding help.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, the owner of www.finaid.org and www.fastweb.com, if you just mention that you were published as an undergrad, you will garner a lot of interest from many organizations.

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