Funding Your Education

Years ago when I started my second masters I was working while getting the degree so financial aid was all I needed.  When I decided that I needed to be a full-time doctoral student, financial aid was not going to cut it — I would need some form of income to keep us afloat.  Thankfully I’ve been graced with an assistantship for my years of coursework but I have kept my eye out on what options I have for additional funding.

Here are a few that I’m aware of and over the course of the year I’m sure I will add more since I will definitely be on the search since my dissertation year is soon approaching.  If you know of others please comment them and I’ll add accordingly.

Doctoral Awards/Fellowships

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) – Main list of AERA funding opportunities within educational research.
  • Ford Foundation Fellowship Program – Geared for students intending to work in academia (research/teach).  They have awards based on the different stages of doctoral students – predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral.  NOTE – check what degrees they accept prior to applying.
  • Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship – Geared for doctoral students in dissertation stage (already defended proposal) and have a financial need.
  • Southern Regional Education Board  – They have awards for doctoral coursework and for dissertation work.  Specifically for minorities pursuing a STEM discipline and intend on working in academia (research/teach).

Undergraduate and Vocational Scholarships

  • Jeanette Rankin Foundation – Geared for low-income females over the age of 35 pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree.
  • Patsy Takemoto Mink – Offers $2000 scholarships for low-income women with children each year.
  • Soroptomist Women’s Opportunity Award – From what I reviewed, provides awards starting at $3000+ to help women (financially support their family) improve their education and careers.

Searchable Funding Databases (graduate degrees)

  • Cornell Database – Allows you to select discipline and degree to review potential funding options.
  • AAUW Funding Awards – Lists the various forms of funding awards that American Association of University Women provides for various level of students.

8 thoughts on “Funding Your Education

  1. I agree, having just completed my Master’s, that there isn’t as much available for that level. If you go on and get into a PhD program, i found a few that have been fully subsidized and provide a stipend to live off of, but they expect you to quit your job and fully commit to the program which I’d love to in theory. I haven’t researched that many as I’m not really in a position to relocate should I go into a PhD program. Need to stay close to home if I can.

    I’m glad I found this blog and look forward to learning a lot! It’s exactly what I need to help me decide my next steps.

    1. Congratulations on getting your Master’s. Thankfully I do have a fellowship but not sure how one would handle working a full-time job while taking a full course load. It was difficult just to work my assistantship of 20 hours, be an engaged mother, and make worthy grades in my classes.

      1. Wanted to know – I found a program that could potentially give a living stipend and cover tuition (although I’d have to move). Is that what you are currently receiving in addition to working your assistantship? I’m not sure how to afford living expenses while going full time, but if living (at least rent) is covered, I could probably handle it.

      2. Hello N — It is hard but we manage to live off student loans and my fellowship funding. My first year was an assistantship which covered less but was balanced out with my student loans. My current fellowship pays more which is good since my loans have decreased. One thing I do is really monitor our expenses and cut corners where I can. For example, I would love to eat more organic food items but it just is not in the budget so I focus on organic meats and naturally while in season local vegetables.

        Good luck on your endeavors and if you would like me to write more on funding and living on assistantships I can.

      3. Most of the programs in my area will provide a fellowship, but enough for a single student to live off of, not a whole family. Do you find that people in your program may still supplement with freelance or consultant jobs where they can better control the time requirements at any given time in the semester?

      4. At this present time I am the only single parent in my department (we are very small). There are married students in our program who have spouses that work so that supplements their income. I do know people that do freelance work when they can fit it in. I also know students that work a lot in the summer months to assist when classes start back up. One thing to be careful of is if your institution puts a stipulation on extra jobs. For instance, my fellowship does not allow me to work for any other department within the University and I have to get approval from the department for off-campus work. I’ve been fortunate that my advisor understands and approved for extra work if needed.

        As you mention the key thing to consider on supplemental work is fitting it within your already busy schedule.

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