Graduate school is integral to the career track of motivated educators, but full funding for students pursuing a PhD in education hinders the pursuit of this goal. Financing your graduate studies is a primary consideration prior to committing to a program, especially if you are currently employed. Taking time off to complete your doctorate will have an impact on your finances due to lost wages and graduate school expenses. However, many promising educators have found that 100 percent funding is possible, but it may require some effort to find these opportunities.

Understanding Institutional Fellowships

A fellowship is a type of program aimed at providing financial support to qualified graduate students enrolled full time. Fellowship funding typically includes full tuition and a stipend for living expenses. The amount of the stipend and the terms of funding vary based on the course of study and specific guidelines for the award. Fellowships may be provided from the university’s general funds, specific departments and programs, or sources outside the school such as governmental departments or corporations.

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Institutional fellowships are attached to the award-granting university and the terms of funding will be limited to the school itself. In most cases, the fellowship is also linked to the course of study and leaves little room for realigning your program should you wish to shift to another field. A teaching assistant or research assistant position may be part of the fellowship program.

Examples of Institutional Fellowships

At the University of Michigan School of Education, students admitted to the doctorate program in educational studies receive funding that includes tuition, a stipend and health insurance. Awardees will also be given an assignment as a student assistant for 20-hour work weeks.

New York University’s Steinhardt School will provide full tuition coverage and a mentoring package to students admitted to the program. The NYU Steinhardt program is open to all students admitted to the program regardless of citizenship. The school will also match students with other scholarships and assistantships.

The University of Colorado’s School of Education provides tuition and stipend packages for the four years that it takes to complete a graduate degree. The tuition grant covers in-state and out-of-state students.

At the College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt Peabody College, students who meet admission requirements are given full tuition support on top of student health insurance and graduate assistant positions that pay enough for living expenses. Part of the financial aid package comes from various types of scholarships.

Portable Fellowships

Portable fellowships may be referred to as external fellowships. Some of these awards are federally funded while others are supported by industry associations, non-profit companies and corporations. These fellowships are targeted to a specific demographic or field of study, which means that awardees may choose the graduate school that best aligns with their research or career goals.

Some of the more prominent fellowship-granting organizations include the Ford Foundation, American Association of University Women, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation and the Microsoft Research Student Fellowship among many others. Access to these fellowship packages may depend on gender, ethnic grouping and demonstrated aptitude in the field of study.

Opportunities abound for motivated graduate and post-graduate students. Various opportunities exist to finance your doctorate in education, such as governmental grants. Don’t let issues like full funding for students pursuing a PhD in education stop you from applying for admission to the college of your choice. You may find that clearing the admission process is the fastest track to obtaining the funds needed to attend graduate school.

Looking for additional ways to save money on graduate school? Peruse this list of the Top 15 Best and Most Affordable Graduate Educational Leadership Programs.