Graduate Grants For Study In The USA – Where Do I Start?
– AUGUST 07, 2010 – EDITOR – NO COMMENTS
If your undergraduate years are coming to a close it’s time to consider how you are going to survive as a graduate student. Finding and winning graduate grants not only takes time and research but also is a fiercely competitive race that you need to prepare for.
The best place to start your search for grants is the admissions office of your institution. Staff will be able to explain the financial assistance on offer to those looking for graduate grants as well as other support such as loans and scholarships. You will need to keep your options open as the number of grants offered is always far less than the number of students seeking help.
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Check out “The Grants Register” published annually by Palgrave Macmillan and run a search online for graduate grants offered by private companies. Many universities offer in-house financial aid in the form of an annual stipend and waived tuition fees so it’s worth making the inquiry.
Lucrative graduate grants in the US are offered by government agencies like the National Science Foundation, which supports students in the non-medical fields of science and engineering and the National Institute of Health, which offers grants in the medical field. The National Science Foundation offers financial aid through three programs, namely IGERT, the Integrative Graduate Research Traineeship program, AGEP, the Alliance For Graduate Education and Professoriate program as well as NSF-GRF or Graduate Research Fellowships.
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Despite the tongue twisting title, each program offers types of grants to support students through their long doctorate. The catch is that grants such as the NSF-GRF are much sought after. Only 1000 grants are awarded each year across the States. So be prepared! Applications open in November each year to students in their first or second year of graduate study for the NSF-GRF graduate financial awards.
Application materials for the graduate grants must be submitted by December and includes a bio, transcripts, GRE scores, three recommendation letters and three essays. And you thought that studying for your PhD was hard, let alone getting a grant!
The rewards are great for those successful in winning a graduate grant like the one offered by the NSF. The graduate grants include tuition and fees, an annual stipend of $30,000US for three years and a one-off travel award of $1000. Students winning a graduate grant through the NSF program are required to complete their studies within five years or the remaining funds are forfeited. Regardless of the graduate grant you are applying for it is important to make sure that you read all of the conditions so that you can make the most of what is offered.
It might seem like a lot of time and effort to research and apply for financial aid but the reward is that you will have the freedom to concentrate all your energies on your PhD. Your relationship with the organization providing graduate grants for your study could pay off in the long term when the day comes to join the workforce with your doctorate in hand.
Preparation and careful research are the keys to success when applying for graduate grants to support you through your PhD.