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Grants and Scholarships
You may feel like it isn’t worth it to apply to scholarship awards because of how competitive many of them are. But someone has to win, so why shouldn’t it be you? Landing an award isn’t easy but there are ways to improve your chances, especially if the scholarship you find is focused on criteria specific to your student profile. Qualification criteria vary so much from scholarship provider to scholarship provider that most people seeking scholarships could certainly find some assistance. Apply for academic scholarship, if you have a stellar GPA and standardized test scores to match but don’t forget all the things that make you unique and could land you free money to pad your financial aid package. One of the most important steps once you find an award that interests you is to read the directions (pay attention especially to deadlines), qualifications (if you don’t meet the criteria exactly, don’t apply) and fine print carefully (an award you have to pay for to receive could be a scholarship scam). Paying attention to detail will also help you from making minor mistakes that will send your application to the bottom of the judges’ pile.

According to the National Scholarship Database, nearly 60 percent of scholarship deadline fall between the months of February and April. Therefore, students should begin applying at least a few months prior to this, preferably sometime between September and December. You can use the summer months to complete last minute scholarship applications and finalize loan plans but the bulk of the work should be completed well before then. More importantly, students should always submit their scholarship information before the application deadline. Many organizations will not even glance at late arrivals when determining recipients of scholarship awards, so you could be out of luck if you’re even a day late. Some applications may require you to put in some time but once you've completed an application or two, you might find it will get easier and take less time with each additional one scholarship award. You may even find that you’re able to use components of some applications for other scholarships, such as essays or personal statements.picture

Academic scholarships, or as they are sometimes known, merit scholarships, are basically just what you probably think they are. In order to get an academic scholarship to pay for school, you are going to need to get exceedingly good grades and, most likely, graduate in the top five to ten percent of your class. Merit scholarships are often related to academic performance, but can also be given to a candidate displaying artistic or athletic excellence or sometimes a combination thereof. It's probably safe to say that, while all academic scholarships are merit scholarships, not all merit scholarships are academic scholarships. You have a chance at winning scholarship of this nature if you’re a strong student, either generally or in your area of study and an even better chance if you’re heavily involved in extracurricular activities.

There are many grants--monetary awards that do not need to be repaid upon completion of a degree--available to students seeking to obtain a master's degree. Finding one that fits an individual's specific background and career goals can take a lot of time and research, but there are grants available to students of almost any field and to people of almost any ethnic background.
AAUW, formerly known as the American Association of University Women, has been carrying out its mission to advance "equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research" since 1881. AAUW offer Career Development Grants for women who have already obtained a bachelor's degree and wish to further their education by earning a master's degree, a second bachelor's degree or specialized training in the United States at a licensed or accredited school. As of 2010, award amounts varied between $2,000 and $12,000.

American Indian Graduate Center
Founded in 1969, the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) prides itself on being "the oldest and largest national provider of scholarships for American Indian and Alaska native graduate students." Several grants, called fellowships, are offered through the AIGC, including: The Elizabeth Furbur Fellowship, which is awarded to women studying creative fine arts, such as poetry, dance or literacy.

  • The Dr. Blue Spruce Fellowship, which is awarded to American Indians who desire to study dentistry.
  • The Gerald Peet Fellowship, which is awarded primarily to students entering a medical or other health-related profession.
  • The Grace Wall Barreda Memorial Fellowship, which is awarded to students seeking a master's degree in environmental studies or public health.
  • The Jeanette Elmer Graduate Fellowship, which is awarded to members of Wisconsin, New Mexico or Arizona tribes "who are enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program at an accredited institution."
  • The Katrin Lamon Fund, which awards monetary support to Native American students earning a master's degree in literature, journalism or communications.
  • The Ruth Muskrat Monson Scholarship Fund, which each year awards one or two graduate students studying nursing or a health-related field.
Harry S. Truman Scholarship Fund
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Fund awards "up to $30,000 in funding to students pursuing graduate degrees in public service fields." Students should apply for the award during their junior year as an undergraduate student. If a student is selected to receive the award, the Truman Foundation will aid the student with career counseling, internship placement and graduate admissions. In addition, the student will be invited to participate in various leadership-building programs and activities. Recipients of this award will need to work in a public service field for three of the first seven years after their master's degree has been earned.