5 of the Coolest US Masters Study Grants

It is no secret that higher education can be pricey, leaving many hoping for someone to “grant” their wish and help them pay for their expenses. The good news is that study grants can help you with that. Grants are given to students who require financial aid to support their studies. Study grants can be awarded by national and international foundations and charities, non-governmental or intergovernmental organisations, and even governments themselves.

Contrary to scholarships, study grants are issued by a third party as opposed to the educational institution itself. They are usually need-based, taking into account the student’s social and financial circumstances, as opposed to academic excellence. However, this also means that more people are eligible to receive grants, making them hard to get. 

If you feel you’re up for the challenge and ready to stand up to the competition, there’s much to choose from. Here are five of our favourite US-based study grants. 

Fulbright Study/Research Grant

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is one of the most recognisable study grant initiatives. The programme distributes a range of financial aids stretching from academic grants to creative and performing arts grants. Among them, The Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling fellowship is a brilliant example of socially responsible charity, and one of the most unique grants out there.

The requirements for each type of grants differ, but generally the bare minimum includes biographical data, statement of grant purpose, affiliation letters, personal statements and references. Once you've prepared these, you must be ready to meet the specific requirements based on the type of programme you are applying to, for example, foreign language forms for academic fields, etc. The Fulbright scholarship is highly competitive, yet achievable if you present yourself well.

READ: MBA Scholarships, Assistantships and Grants

Google Scholarship Programme

There is more than one reason to like Google, but the fact that they've recently started to engage in philanthropy is definitely among the coolest ones. The Google Scholarship Programme is funded by the tech giant's vast coffers and provides financial aid for higher education to underrepresented groups. The Google scholarship has separate awards for women pursuing technological careers, Hispanic groups, and American Indians amongst others. The scholarship requires a strong educational background and leadership skills and is estimated at 10,000 USD. There are several scholarships/grants provided within the programme.

Federal Pell Grant Program

The Federal Pell Grant Program is a classic semi-postgraduate (graduate in US education terminology) study grant in the sense that it is given to students hailing from low-income families. The US Department of Education initiative covers 5,400 educational institutions, where students can apply to upon receiving the grant. It is given out to both undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students in order "to promote access to postsecondary education", the programme's website claims.

The amount of financial aid is determined by the recipient's family income, the tuition fee cost, the programme type (full-time, part-time) and the length of the programme.

If you're a prospective student in the US, and you are having trouble makings ends meet, perhaps this is your best bet.

READ: Why It Is a Good Idea to Do your Masters in the US

Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund Grant

We think this is one of the coolest gender equality grants on offer. This postgraduate (graduate in US education terminology) grant is for women from developing countries and awards the completion of a degree in Canada or the USA. The objective of the grant is to empower women and children in developing countries and provide a means for women to pursue higher studies. However, the grant only covers a portion of the costs of the completion of a degree programme and the candidate may have to fund the rest themselves.

Nevertheless, it is a generous offering, which aims to help the most vulnerable, and that's what makes it truly heart-warming.

Churchill Foundation Scholarship

Although it bears the name of the great British politician Winston Churchill, the Churchill Foundation Scholarship is indeed a postgraduate (graduate in US education terminology) grant aimed at Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students with proven affinity and dedication to the many fields of hard science. At least 14 students receive up to 50,000 USD each year in a quest to promote technological and scientific progress.

Another unique feature of this grant is its US-UK focus and its close ties to Cambridge University. In the foundation's own words "the scholarship was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfil his vision of US-UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic".

READ: 6 Reasons to Do a Masters in STEM

Bonus: Study Loans!

Next time we're going to tell you about some of the most unique study loans. A study loan is a form of monetary assistance that has to be repaid in the future. Usually, study loans are paid back once a student finishes their studies and gains employment. Such loans can be obtained from several financial institutions, and conventional banks. The terms of the loan are usually flexible and favourable compared to traditional loans, as repayment is subject to the condition of gaining employment. However, obtaining a study loan may also be competitive and requires extensive research of options, just as in the case of grants and scholarships.  Stay tuned and watch this space for more on this topic in a later post.

Did you check out our previous post about the coolest scholarship opportunities? You can read about them here: 5 of the Coolest Masters Scholarship Opportunities

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