6 Types of Financial Aid for Grad School – That Aren’t Student Loans

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


Elizabeth Schwaner

Graduate school is an investment in your future – one that usually requires some help. It’s well known that earning an advanced degree can lead to exponential salary and other benefits, but paying for grad school can still be daunting when most sources encourage taking out large student loans. Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to help ease the financial strain tuition can cause without using large loans as a first resort. The list below lays out methods for paying for grad school that almost anyone can use to reduce their financial burden.  

How to pay for grad school – without loans 

» Graduate school scholarships

The most well-known form of financial aid is undoubtedly scholarships. Scholarships come in all types and amounts. Scholarships can be based on need, merit (like the Carsey School of Public Policy’s tuition scholarships), on accomplishments (like the Carsey School of Public Policy’s Sustainability Award scholarships), field of study, and much more. Some are even open to anyone, meaning you can always find a scholarship you qualify for to help you pay for grad school.  

“Not only was I able to gain valuable professional experience but I was also able to graduate with less debt than I had originally planned!” Ali Sekou '18G was even able to complete his Master of Community Development without any debt thanks to a scholarship: “I am very grateful and thankful for the support, guidance, and scholarship I have received from Carsey," says Ali.

Ali Sekou '19G (Master in Community Development) on how scholarships helped him to attend the Carsey School

Ali Sekou ‘19G of Concord, N.H., was named to the New Hampshire Union Leader’s 2021 40 Under Forty list of outstanding residents across the state. A 2019 graduate of the Master in Community Development program at the Carsey School, Sekou was able to graduate from the program without student loan debt thanks to scholarship funding.

» Graduate fellowships

Fellowships allow students to get paid for pursing their academic interests. They are an ideal method not only to hep finance your graduate degree but to deepen your knowledge of your field, enhance your resume, and expand your professional network. Each year, the Carsey School of Public Policy offers a variety of fellowships to its Master of Public Policy students, making Carsey a great option for anyone looking for a good possibility of financial support while gaining experience. 

Carsey/NH Listens Fellowships with Alum Ellie Masson ‘22G (Master in Public Policy)

Carsey alum Ellie Masson ‘22G discusses her public policy fellowship with civic engagement group NH Listens (located at the Carsey School). During this year-long fellowship, Ellie received a stipend while working on projects and outreach for NH Listens and diving into policy work at the organization.

» Education/tuition awards 

The Carsey School's Education awards (also known as tuition awards) are given to students who have served or currently serve for government or non-profit organizations. They’re a great way for those who have given their time and energy to their community to get something back while investing in their future.  

Have a first responder public service background? Check out the Carsey School of Public Policy’s education awards – and find out how one of our degrees could potentially advance your career as a first responder public servant! 

Academic partnerships available from the Carsey School of Public Policy

The Carsey School of Public Policy Admissions Team partners with a variety of public and community service organizations to deliver academic awards to the members and stakeholders of these organizations. Carsey’s Academic Partners include Peace Corps/Coverdell Fellowship; AmeriCorps/Segal Award; City Year; City of Concord, NH; Semester in the City/College For Social Innovation; National Development Council; Opportunity Finance Network; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; and NeighborWorks America.

» Employee tuition reimbursement

There’s no better time to get a degree than if you work at a university! Most colleges will offer employee tuition reimbursement after an introductory period. Almost any job at a higher education institution can qualify. And, as with the University of New Hampshire, many universities offer lowered tuition for spouses and dependents of employees, broadening the list of people who can use this method to pay for their graduate education.  

» Graduate appointments with stipends 

Most schools recognize the financial burden that graduate school can impose, so many offer graduate appointments with stipends. Many types of appointments exist, including teaching assistant/lecturer positions, administrative assistance for university departments, and research assistant positions. This wide range of positions means that every graduate student can find one that fits their needs and strengths. The University of New Hampshire even offers tuition waivers in addition to graduate stipends in some cases, making these appointments coveted positions for finance-savvy grad students.  

» Federal work-study 

Lastly, many graduate students qualify for federal work-study funding. This is great option for any student since it has the widest range of part-time positions available in this list, from research assistants to library desk attendants to lifeguards at university pools. Work study is also the most widely available form of aid at most colleges and universities, but students do have to demonstrate sufficient need through FAFSA to qualify. Check out some of the University of New Hampshire’s available work-study positions on Handshake.  

“Working at Carsey as a work-study changed my college experience for the better,” describes Emily Clegg '21, who worked at Carsey from 2019–21. "Not only was I able to gain valuable professional experience but I was also able to graduate with less debt than I had originally planned!"

The numerous financial aid opportunities at the Carsey School empower students to graduate and start their careers with a smaller financial burden. And however you pay for graduate school, furthering your education with a Master in Public Policy, a Master in Community Development, or a Master of Public Administration can lead to better career outcomes and broaden your horizons. Find out how you can afford to attend the Carsey School of Public Policy here.  

For more in-depth descriptions of the types of financial aid offered by the Carsey School, check out the video below:

Dan Bromberg, Director of Academic Programs at the Carsey School, and Robin Husslage, Program Manager with the Carsey School, discuss financial aid options available to Carsey students. Most students qualify for Carsey financial aid, which can be worth thousands of dollars.

 Are you considering a public service graduate degree from the Carsey School of Public Policy? If so, please check out our financial aid webpage, then contact a member of our admissions team.