One of the biggest changes in making the transition from undergraduate education to graduate school is paying tuition.
Undergraduate students are eligible for need-based subsidized loans and grants that don’t need to be paid back—but that’s not the case for graduate students. Some students may be able to get a teaching assistant position or a fellowship, and working professionals may receive tuition reimbursement from their employer, but many students are on their own.
“It’s not unusual in the graduate school world to pay tuition costs out of your own pocket or to take out loans,” says Maria L. Morelli, Director of Graduate Financial Aid in the Northeastern University Office of Student Financial Services.
That’s why it’s important for prospective students to explore scholarships and other options to pay for graduate school. Northeastern University offers a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships for graduate students, and aid is available from nonprofit and professional organizations, as well.
If you’re concerned about paying for graduate school, here’s a look at the financial aid options that are available, along with some tips for a smooth application process.
Northeastern University Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships
Northeastern offers numerous scholarship programs for graduate students. Some awards are built into the admissions process, which means that students don’t need to apply, while other awards do require a separate application. Graduate students who receive more than one offer of financial aid are only eligible for the scholarship of higher value.
Northeastern University alumni with a bachelor’s degree are automatically considered for the Double Husky Scholarship when they are admitted to a graduate or certificate program. This graduate school scholarship offers a 25 percent tuition discount and applies to more than 120 programs.
Graduate program applicants who are currently involved in or have completed a term of service with AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or Teach for America, or who have spent at least one year teaching English in a foreign country, are eligible for the Full Circle Scholarship. This award offers a 25 percent tuition discount and recognizes a prospective student’s commitment to service and global learning.
The Full Circle Scholarship applies to more than 80 graduate school programs and can be used at any Northeastern campus. Prospective students must verify their service with these organizations (or their overseas teaching contract) on their Northeastern University application. New, incoming students are eligible to apply for the Full Circle Scholarship; however, currently enrolled students are not eligible to apply.
Parents and siblings of full-time undergraduate students enrolled in a day program at Northeastern University are eligible for the Parent and Family Scholarship. The award recognizes that family members may delay their own goals for higher learning to support a relative’s undergraduate education.
The Parent and Family scholarship offers a 25 percent tuition discount and can be applied to more than 110 graduate programs. To qualify, prospective students simply need to provide the Northeastern ID number of their child or sibling with their application.
To support graduate students in a number of high-demand industries—including analytics, biotechnology, cybersecurity, information technology, project management, and regulatory affairs—Northeastern offers Regional Campus Scholarships at its Charlotte, San Francisco Bay Area, and Toronto campuses.
These awards offer a 25 percent tuition discount. Scholarships are given to domestic students; U.S. residents are eligible in Charlotte and the San Francisco Bay Area, and Canadian residents are eligible in Toronto. To apply, students must submit a short essay to the program’s faculty leader. Applications are encouraged at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the term.
Graduate Dean’s Scholarship
Students who rank in the top one-third of an incoming class for a master’s program are eligible for the Graduate Dean’s Scholarship. No separate application is required, and students receive word directly from an academic department if they receive this award. Note that getting a Graduate Dean’s Scholarship may reduce a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.
Academic Department Scholarships
There are a number of other merit-based financial aid options for graduate students enrolled in specific programs at Northeastern. These opportunities for aid are managed by individual academic departments and not the Office of Student Financial Services.
Some examples include:
- Khoury College of Computer Sciences—Scholarships and grants are available for students pursuing a career in cybersecurity. In addition, the National GEM Consortium offers a fellowship program for students who are members of underrepresented groups in the science and engineering fields.
- College of Engineering—Grants and fellowships are available to help full-time students support their graduate thesis or PhD dissertation research.
- D’Amore-McKim School of Business—Numerous scholarships are available for MBA students who are affiliated with organizations such as City Year, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or Reach Out.
- College of Professional Studies—CPS offers the MacFarland Scholarship for up to $20,000 to new, incoming graduate students working as educators in a public school at the elementary or secondary level within an urban area.
Some scholarships awarded by academic departments don’t require an additional application, but Morelli says it’s a good idea to check with individual departments to determine what awards are available, what supplemental information is needed, and what are the terms of the financial aid. “Each college uses its own standards for whom they fund, based on their own admission goals,” she adds.
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, veterans are eligible for up to $26,381 in financial aid for the 2022-2023 academic year, along with a $1,000 stipend for books and an annual housing allowance that varies depending on the Northeastern University campus a student attends. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, Northeastern will cover any balance above the GI Bill’s cap, allowing veterans to attend the University for minimal to no cost.
To apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program, prospective students must verify their eligibility with the Department of Veterans Affairs, provide a certificate of eligibility to the Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers, and submit a separate Yellow Ribbon application.
Other military scholarships at Northeastern include:
- The Patriot Scholar Program—A Northeastern-funded scholarship for veterans and servicemembers focused on recognizing the service, leadership, and experiences of each member.
- The Phi Gamma Pi Veterans Scholarship—This scholarship was created to help alleviate the financial burden placed on servicemembers, veterans, and their families. It may defray the cost of tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses not covered by VA benefits or the Yellow Ribbon Program.
These scholarships have unique eligibility requirements that can be found on the Northeastern military website.
Each college offers a limited number of Diversity Fellowships each academic year in an effort to increase the diversity of the graduate student body. Factors for increasing diversity include but are not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability. These fellowships provide tuition support without a work requirement.
The J.D. O’Bryant African-American Institute offers six full-tuition MLK Jr. Graduate Fellowships to full-time students based on financial need. To qualify, students must complete the financial aid process and apply directly through the African-American Institute.
Additional Graduate School Scholarship Options
A number of searchable online databases can help prospective and current graduate students find outside graduate school scholarships.
One example is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Career One Stop Scholarship Search. The site includes information about nearly 3,000 awards for graduate study, including the amount available, the application deadline, and any required qualifications.
The Office of Student Financial Services also provides links to several other databases on its web page. Morelli encourages students to stick to these sites, as they have been vetted for reputability. She also discouraged the use of paid services that offer to help graduate students find scholarships.
“People who are charging you money are just going to go to the same databases,” Morelli says. “You shouldn’t have to pay a fee to apply for a scholarship. That’s a red flag.”
Massachusetts-based students looking for help understanding their graduate school scholarship options can turn to American Student Assistance. ASA is a college and career planning program operated by the nonprofit MassEdCO, which focuses on providing assistance to low-income and first-generation adults throughout the state. Along with scholarship support, ASA can help prospective students develop a college savings plan and determine an affordable amount for student loan payments after they graduate.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
This article was originally published in September 2020 and has since been updated for accuracy.