Desmond Kemp, PhD Candidate, School of Liberal Arts
Let’s face it: financial aid is one of the most difficult obstacles for college students to overcome. Graduate students, in particular. The average undergraduate borrows $30,030 in loans to complete their bachelor’s degree. With this in mind, many students wait until a professor or adviser recommends them for a fellowship or scholarship opportunity before considering graduate school. Others who decide to go to graduate school may end up with additional debt. If you’re a scholar with a loan, keep reading these tips to see if they can finance your next semester or school year.
There are numerous financial resources available to students, particularly BIPOC students, that are frequently underutilized. Graduate students could use these various resources to find financial assistance for tuition, books, and research: 1) Scholarship office on campus, 2) Major Department, 3) Grant database, 4) Profellow, 5) Professional Association, 6) Journals and other publications, and 7) social media.
First and foremost, I must state that Indiana University/IUPUI has an excellent scholarship program. No, they didn’t pay me to say that, but I can truthfully say that they have been devoted to supporting students. If you’ve never browsed at the scholarship website, you can do so now with your One.IU account. When you build a profile, you will receive an alert for any scholarships that fit your demographics. When a scholarship has been posted and the deadline is nearing, the alert will notify you.
Your department coordinators and instructors can also help you right away. As a high-performing student, you might be eligible for a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship from your department or school. Now, it’s typical for graduate students to worry that their image will be tarnished among faculty, but you’re still in the program, and you might have a chance. Furthermore, the faculty member may offer you to join their next research project, which they may utilize to secure financial assistance for you if you join their team.
Grants are sometimes overlooked due to the time-consuming application process, yet they can help you pay your education and research. However, applying for grants as a graduate student will improve your résumé and help you refine your grant writing skills. Grants received might be included on your curriculum vitae or resume. If you are interested in finding grants, Pivot is a database of funding opportunities that can be accessed from the library’s webpage.
Next, Profellow is an outside resource that you should look into. This database is available for free. This website has a big database of fellowships, completely sponsored study abroad possibilities, early career grants, and fully funded educational programs. If you’re a master’s student seeking doctoral study, this site contains a wealth of information on fully supported programs that are frequently affiliated with professional organizations.
It is strongly advised that students join professional associations in their field of study, their workplace, or their parents’ workplace. Professional groups like the American Library Association, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management provide scholarships for tuition, conferences, and other supplemental educational opportunities. Graduate students can also benefit from an association’s conference which may introduce trends in research or emerging issues. Also, it is advised that you network and maybe seek a professional that may be open to mentor you. Professional networks may be an excellent source of funding for your education.
Another thing to consider, professional organizations may publish journals and other literature that lists scholarship information. There are many books that are on Amazon and in the library that lists scholarships ranging $500 –$1 million USD. Enter the following keywords in your search: Scholarship Guide.
Finally, social media is an effective instrument. Make use of your connections to find scholarships. Particularly on Twitter. Many times, organizations have additional funding for students, and their representatives use social media to spread the word. Examine the Twitter feeds of eminent academics in your subject. You might come upon an old post that has been updated with financing information. Because of how technology works, it may be able to recognize your algorithm and locate resources.
Closed mouths don’t get fed, so keep that in mind. People are available to answer your questions and provide support during your search within these seven resources. If you require scholarship funding, it is available; nevertheless, you must seek it out.
 Hanson, Melanie. “Student Loan Debt Statistics : Average + Total Debt.” Education Data Initiative, March 1, 2022. https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-statistics.