Graduate Fellowships and Scholarships: Every Student's Dream!
The world of graduate, fellowships, scholarships, and grants is complex and frustrating. Wrapping your head around this beast is a challenging task, but we're here to help you get through this Ardennes forest. Basically, fellowships, scholarships, and grants are financial awards that do not need to be repaid.They are "free money" designed to allow those who merit money – the poor, the underprivileged, and the talented – to attend to school or carry out their graduate research. So far so good, right?
The mess becomes apparent once you dig deeper. The first damning characteristic is the variety of funding sources, ranging from governments, universities, and private foundations. There are (literally) thousands of such awards and no central repository for such information. In other words, there isn't a simple, efficient way to search a complete database of funding sources.
Most graduate fellowships, scholarships, and grants go to students already enrolled in school, but sometimes you'll come across funding directed at prospective students. Deadlines are early, so we recommend that you work on your funding requests at the same time as you're working on your graduate school applications. Don't wait until after you've submitted your applications!
Given the mess that graduate fellowships and scholarships represent, we've taken a stab at compiling a list of the most useful sources of funding. After you've gone through this list, take a look at the two search engines that we mention. Between them all, you'll have a chance of finding something. Just don't expect it to be easy.
* * * In addition to the resources listed here, check directly with schools about recommended sources of funding * * * *
Portable Federal Fellowships
Portable federal fellowships are funded by federal agencies if you're attending a graduate program in an area that directly benefits an agency. They are portable because the funding isn't connected with any particular school, but travels with you. Such fellowships are awarded based on need, merit, or both. Below is a non-exhaustive list to help you get started:
- U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering: Graduate Fellowship
- U.S. Department of Education: Jacob K. Javits Fellowships
- U.S. Department of Energy Computational Sciences: Graduate Fellowship
- U.S. Department of Energy Stewardship Science: Graduate Fellowship
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- UNCF Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Graduate Fellowships
- U.S. National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Graduate: Fellowship Awards for Minority Students
- U.S. National Science Foundation: Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Portable Independent Fellowships
Portable independent fellowships are similar to portable federal fellowships, except that the organization providing the funding is not the government, but a private foundation. It is a highly fragmented funding market, so compiling a comprehensive list is an impossible task. Below are some of the more popular ones to help you get started.
- Africa-America Institute
- American Academy in Rome Fellowships
- American Anthropological Association
- American Association of University Women
- American Political Science Association
- American Educational Research Association
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- American Psychological Association
- American Sociological Association Fellowship Program
- Consortium for Graduate Study in Management
- ASHE/Lumina Dissertation Fellowship Program
- Australian-American Public Policy Masters Scholarship
- Boren Scholarships and Fellowships
- Committee on Institutional Cooperation FreeApp Program
- Ford Foundation
- Fund for Theological Education
- Graduate and Postdoctorate Extramural Support
- Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship
- HBCU STEM Fellowship Program
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowships in Biological Sciences
- Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Ph.D. Fellowship
- Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship Program
- Krell Institute
- Leifur Eiriksson Foundation
- Microsoft Research Student Fellowship
- National Academies Fellowships
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Institutes of Health
- National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowship in the Physical Sciences
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
- Smithsonian Institute
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
- Southern Regional Education Board
- The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
- United Negro College Fund
Fastweb is a search engine that crawls through a database of financial awards totaling more than $3 billion. The web site requires you to register but the service is free of charge. It's not a complete database, but it's a good start in your quest to discover graduate fellowships and scholarships.
Grants.gov is a central repository of data on over 1,000 grant programs from federal agencies totaling approximately $500 billion in annual awards. The web site contains information on grants available to both individuals and organizations, generally to carry out research or other projects. Remember to narrow your search to grants available to "individuals" in the advanced search tab.