Thinking of pursuing a graduate degree? Whether you’re doing it for career advancement or personal enrichment, one thing is for certain – it’s not going to be cheap. On average, those receiving a master’s degree or higher will accumulate $57,000 in student loan debt, which doesn’t include any undergraduate debt. Even more shocking is the fact that nearly 25 percent will leave owing more than $100,000. That’s a substantial investment with no guarantee of a return. One way to reduce your graduate degree debt is to look for free money to help pay for tuition, housing, and other fees. Many graduate students have access to grants, fellowships, and assistantships, but there are also graduate scholarships that can help defray the costs of pursuing a higher degree. Here are a few that are currently accepting applications.
Open Graduate Scholarships
Award: $1,000 | Deadline: Last day of each month
Every month, MoneySolver awards a $1,000 scholarship that you can use for graduate study expenses or to help pay off student loan debt. The topics are fun and easy, requiring only a short essay (250 words or less). Be sure to check out some of the most recent winners to get a better idea of what the scholarship committee may be looking for in a winning essay.
Award: $1,000 | Deadline: July 31, 2019
This essay-based scholarship program has been around for quite some time. Simply provide a 250-word or less response to one of three essay options: (1) “Why do you deserve to win?”, (2) “Describe your academic or career goals”, or (3) any topic of your choice. Graduate students can use the money for tuition, room, and board, or any required fees. You must be currently enrolled or planning to enroll within the next year.
Award: $1,000 | Deadline: August 1, 2019
Are you a single father who needs a graduate scholarship? Do you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher? You may want to check out this unique opportunity. Describe how your educational goals will improve your family’s future by submitting an essay, video, or photograph with explanations. The funds may be used for tuition and other academic expenses.
Award: $25,000 | Deadline: September 19, 2019
This graduate scholarship program offers several prizes, ranging from $100 (finalists) to $25,000 (1st place). You must write an essay (800 to 1,600 words in length) addressing one of three topics based on the Ayn Rand book, Atlas Shrugged. U.S. citizenship is not required.
Award: $1,500 | Deadline: October 1, 2019
Graduate students who identify as female and have an interest in international trade or global development are eligible for this scholarship. They offer two awards each year; one in the spring (April 1 deadline) and one in the fall (October 1 deadline). You must submit an essay (1,000 words or less) addressing one of the two topics provided for a chance to win.
Award: $5,000 | Deadline: November 30, 2019
Unigo offers a fun graduate scholarship that has been around for over a decade. To win, submit a short essay (250 words or less) that answers the following prompt: “What would you say to someone who thinks education doesn’t matter, or that college is a waste of time and money?” The award may be used for current or future college expenses.
Award: $1,000 | Deadline: December 31, 2019
Frustrated by distracted drivers? This may be the perfect graduate scholarship for you. There are two awards annually (spring & fall) and winners are chosen based on the quality of their advertisement. You may submit artwork for a billboard, poster or print ad, a radio ad or video PSA. Be sure your work has a clear message about the dangers of texting, drinking or eating while driving.
Find Even More Graduate-Level Scholarships
It may seem like scholarships are only for high school and undergraduate students, but there are many out there for graduate and post-graduate studies. It just takes a little work to find them.
Try Googling “graduate level scholarships” or check out reddit for helpful tips on where to find scholarships specific to you. BTW, if you’re graduating this fall, don’t forget to head over to our $50,000 #PayMyStudentLoans Contest. We’ll be paying off one person’s student loan debt and it could be you!