Graduate school grants do not have to be repaid and are usually awarded based on financial need. Many of these grants are state or federally funded, or they may be funded fully or in part by the university or educational institution you plan to attend. If the latter, the amount and number of grants awarded will depend on the available funding for the year. For example, this grant available from the University of California awards up to $12,000 per academic year and students must complete a FAFSA each year to considered for the grant.
While grants are typically awarded based on need, some grants are awarded to fund doctoral research into a particular topic. This type of grant is usually funded by government organizations or companies whose business will benefit from the research endeavor. These grants are often awarded based on the academic records and credentials of applicants. For example, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a one-time grant of $15,000 to doctoral students researching housing and urban development issues.
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Eligibility requirements for graduate school grants can vary considerably based on the type and source of the grant. They can also fluctuate based on the degree you seek and what you plan to study. Need based grants are awarded almost entirely on your income and amount of unmet financial need, which will need to be documented thoroughly when you apply. Research grants awarded at the doctoral level are based almost entirely on academic and professional qualifications. For example, the HUD Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant is available only to doctoral candidates pursuing policy-relevant research issues who are also receiving substantial support from their institution.
Types of Graduate School Grants
- Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship: The Ohio State University Graduate School awards over a dozen grants twice a year of up to $2,000 each for dissertation research support.
- APA Dissertation Research Award: The American Psychological Association offers psychology doctoral students grants of up to $5,000.
- Clara Mayo Grants: Six grants of a maximum of $1,000 are awarded annually to support graduate theses on sexism, prejudice, or racism.
- Duke University Graduate School Fellowships: The school maintains over 200 summer research, dissertation research, and other fellowships that range from $500-$5,000.
- Fulbright U.S. Student Program: Over 1,000 American scholars, including many graduate students, receive funding each year to travel to a foreign country to conduct research and/or lecture.
- HUD Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a program for doctoral candidates pursuing policy research related to housing and urban development. This is a one-time grant of $15,000.
- James Madison Graduate Fellowships: These $24,000 grants go to one student per state annually who desires to teach the American Constitution at the secondary school level.
- Michigan State University Distinguished and Enrichment Fellowships: Recipients of one of these two types of grants receive a $25,000 stipend and health insurance for 12 months.
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program: NSF Graduate Research Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 and $12,000 for educational expenses.
- Pi Lambda Theta Graduate Student Scholar: This $1,000 grant for an education major includes a complimentary one-year membership to this national honor society for educators.
- UC San Diego Graduate Grant-in-Aid: This grant funded by the University of California system is available to students at UC San Diego. It is a need-based grant for graduate students with a maximum award of $12,000 per year.
- University of Kentucky Graduate School Fellowships: UK's graduate school offers a number of fellowships in the $15,000-$20,000 range, plus several more in the $2,000-$5,000 range.
- University of Maryland University and Dean's Fellowships: Between these two programs, UMD offers up to 900 fellowships of $5,000 or $20,000 each to graduate students based on merit that do not require them to teach classes.