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Head First Into Pool of Graduate School Fellowships

September 10, 2007

by Paulina Mis

Any time is a good time to conduct a fellowship search, but the beginning of each school year is particularly good. Many fellowships are awarded on a yearly basis, and applications need to be submitted before the term begins—on time.

For graduate students, free government Pell Grants are no longer an option, and limiting loans should be a top priority. It is irritatingly ironic that many graduate school programs are more expensive than undergraduate ones, but less government aid is available.

Loan burdens may be so dire that, even after studying for years, many cannot enter their chosen careers without defaulting on loans. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the average graduate student ends school $45,000 in debt (compared with $18,000 for undergraduates). A lucrative job is needed to pay off such loans—especially when potential car, home and family expenses are taken into account.

Fortunately, aid in the form of fellowships tends to be pretty lucrative, often numbering in the thousands. Stipends and award renewal opportunities may even be involved.

Students may search for fellowship opportunities by visiting Scholarships.com and by browsing through college financial aid websites. At Scholarships.com, students can find scholarship, grant, and fellowship information on more than 2.7 million awards worth over $19 billion in aid.

Getting a head start will give students additional time to deal with application problems that may arise. Fellowships can be hefty, but so can the competition. Applying early may give students the edge they need to win.


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