Scholarships For Graduate School

Written by Tara Peris
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Finding scholarships for graduate school is a must for any person considering another round of higher education. Whether you choose a two-year business program or the never-ending pursuit of a Ph.D., you can just about guarantee that you will need financial assistance. Forget about covering the tuition; it's the basic cost of living that will do you in. Unless you can find a way to work through school (which is rare), be prepared to pay for both education and living expenses.

The costs of graduate school vary considerably depending on the type of program you attend. Law, medicine, and business schools rarely cover tuition or living expenses and it is expected that students will support themselves for the duration of their schooling. For medical students, this can result in upwards of $200,000 of debt at the end of a four-year program. Ph.D. and Master's programs are a bit different. Many of these programs cover tuition costs and provide a small stipend in exchange for work as a research assistant or teaching aid.

Surviving Graduate Poverty

Regardless of the level of support your school provides, it is likely that you will need extra assistance to get through graduate school. The average annual stipend is around $12,500, requiring most people to take out loans to live comfortably. If you want to manage your debt responsibly, you'll look for scholarships that can provide additional funding.

A good place to start is at your academic institution. There are often a number of small awards for which students can apply, and in these programs, the early bird gets the worm. Apply early and you are likely to get the award for best first-year student or best Master's thesis. Alternatively, you can look to national programs through the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. These organizations distribute thousands of very generous awards each year.

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