Doctoral students are at an advanced stage in their studies and they come from various different backgrounds. Doctoral degrees are highly academic and research based. The researches are very intensive and in depth and the time to complete a doctoral degree will be several years.
These degrees, however, are very expensive and the expenses last for a prolonged period of time. Most students may find it almost impossible to bear the costs for completing the degree and have to look out for other sources to fund them. Very few students can really afford to self-fund their entire doctoral degree.
Different methods of funding are available such as, loans, scholarships, and grants. Loans have to be repaid and scholarships are purely merit based. Grants, however, are like gifts given to the students to pursue their studies.
They need not be repaid. Many of the grants, however, have certain qualifying factors which a student has to fulfill in order to be able to get the grant. Grants, therefore, are the most popular and desired methods of acquiring funds by the students.
Agencies That Offer Grants
The common agencies that offer grants are:
- Federal and State Governments
- Colleges and Universities
- Public and Private Organizations
The grants may also be separated into different categories such as:
- Degree Level
The federal grants are provided to the really economically disadvantaged students to pursue higher studies at different levels. There are several federal grants available. The most popular one is:
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant):
This grant is for seniors studying computer science, engineering, mathematics, or sciences. Applicants should be eligible for and receiving Pell grant to be able to apply for this grant and receive it.
Like the federal grants, the state grants are also plenty and they grant funding to resident students based on merit, need and area of study. Some of them are:
- Oklahoma state grant which offers need-based and specialized grant programs.
- Michigan state grant which offers grants to general undergraduates, academically gifted, low-income, and non-traditional adult students.
- Florida state grant which offers grants for disadvantaged, disabled, loan repayment, Hispanics, and academically talented.
Some other state grants include California’s Cal Grant program and New York’s Tuition Assistance Program where the student will have to attend a stste-funded institution only.
Common and Relevant Grants for the Doctoral Students are
All types of colleges and universities, offering a Ph.D program, will generally offer grants to doctoral students. They will do this with the expectation that the student will, in turn, contribute to the college or university in the form of teaching or assisting.
Many times, the grant will be enough to cover just a part of the entire expenses, like tuition, and for the rest of the expenses such as the books, accomodation, and transportation, the student has to apply to other sources of funding like a loan or other grants. The seats available for a Ph.D program are, usually, very limited and there is very tough competition to get into the program. The brightest get filtered to take on the program.
Organizations and Associations
Different organizations and associations offer grants to students to pursue doctoral degrees in the area of research that is relevant to them. For example, Housing and Urban Development offers grants to Ph.D students who are carrying out research on a topic that is related to their organization. The grant may cover the tuition costs.
The Fullbright Grants for Israeli Doctoral Students is an other example. The other example is the National Center for Environmental Research which offers:
- STAR Fellowships for students to pursue both master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental studies. They can also pursue studies in social anthropology, urban and regional planning, and decision sciences
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Engineering Fellows Program
- Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellows Program
- The EPA Marshall Scholarship Program
All these grants are for pursuing studies in the environment and related fields.
Many specialities are regarded as important and valuable. Students pursuing a doctoral degree in these fields are offered grants by specific institutions that are offering these speciality programs.
Areas that are considered as speciality fields are basically health-related such as, health rehabilitation, psychology, social work, women’s health issues, research and development, and health informatics. For example, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides doctoral grants for these areas of study.
The Wenner- Gren Foundation is another such example. This foundation offers funding to doctoral students who wish to pursue their studies in anthropology.
Certain professional corporate sectors also provide grants to doctoral candidates who are interested in researching in the sciences and technology. They also provide grants for overseas study. Many times the organizations provide these grants with the expectation that the beneficiaries will eventually join their organizations and contribute there.
Considering the fact that there are so many different types and sources of grants available, it makes great sense to divide them into different categories to make it further easier for a student to understand which grant they can opt for. The different categories that the grants may be divided into are:
The students may come from various different backgrounds. They may be adult students, ‘at risk’ students, disabled students, high school students, international students, low income students, students who are married, military students, non-traditional students, returning students, or travelling students.
The types have been broadly classified as under and all these students are eligible for grants from one or the other sources. In fact, many of them may be eligible for grants under more than one category.
Non-traditional student grants
Here, adults who are beyond the college going age and who would like to return to school are eligible for grants. Many businesses and industries, state and local governments, colleges and universities are all eager to encourage them. Even on-line education has attracted grants as they recognise the need for adults to juggle between their family responsibilities, work, and studies.
Student survivors and disadvantaged grants
These grants are for categories such as, at-risk students, low-income household students, and students challenged with physical and learning disabilities. Grants such as the federal Pell Grant are perfectly suited for these students.
Grants for minorities and women
The ethnic minority and women who are battered, single, or women pursuing typically male fields of study are all encouraged with this grant for minorities and women.
Grants for international students and students studying abroad: Every year plenty of students come from various countries abroad to study in the USA. Likewise, many American students go overseas to study. Grant programs such as the Fulbright, make it possible for these students to pursue their studies. Fulbright funds both international students and USA students to study abroad.
Grants for graduate and doctoral students
As discussed earlier, most of the colleges and universities offering a Ph.D program will fund the doctoral students to carry out a doctoral program, apart from private and public organizations and associations, and corporate companies. These agencies are rich and would have kept aside millions of dollars for research purposes. Any student willing to contribute to these agencies can benefit from their funding.
Grants for high school and undergraduate students
Students who wish to continue college studies or graduate studies are provided with ample opportunities for grants. Specialized grants in science, math, engineering and technology (SMET subjects) are also eligible. Several federal and state grants are made available to all these students to pursue higher studies.
Grants for military students and families
The Army, Air Force, and Navy offer tuition grants to qualified students in the armed forces. The Army’s Spouse Education Assistance Program, or the Navy equivalent program, and the Spouse Tuition Aid Program, are all available to spouses of married active armed forces personnel to continue with their education or pursue higher studies.
Though most of the subjects are provided some grant or the other, there are some subjects that draw the most grant funding from all the sources.
These subjects are science, technology, engineering, math, nursing, teaching, and the arts. There is a shortage of people who are qualified in these fields and the country needs them. Therefore, if the student is interested in pursuing any of these subjects, then they can be quite sure of being offered a grant from one source or the other.
Grants for nurses and medical students
There is a shortage of nurses and medical students in various parts of the country. These professions are very critical and much required. There are federal grants available for nursing students as well as state grants.
Grants for teachers
Teachers for the public schools also remain in shortage. To improve education and attract more students to finish school, there are several grant programs for teachers provided by the states and federal sources such as the Department of Education. There are way more number of jobs that have to be filled up than individuals who are opting for these courses.
There is also something called the SMET ( Science, Math, Engineering, and technology) subjects grants. These are grants given to students who are taking up studies in science, math, engineering, and technology. The student has to be academically competitive. The National SMART ( Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent ) Grant is an example of this type of grant.
Other professional organizations also provide grants for the SMET subjects. Some of these grants are the National Science Foundation Math Fellowships and the Morris Udall Foundation grants.
The Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies’ grants are examples of corporate grants sponsored by the corporate sector. Several science, math, and engineering subjects are awarded these grants. Students who accept these grants may be required to work in the respective corporate organizations during their course of study and after.
The SMET fields are open for grants to under represented students such as, the African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and women students.
Grants by Degree Level
This is the other category of grants. There are many types of grants available based on the degree level. For students belonging to either the graduate level, master’s level, or doctoral levels, grants are available to choose from to further their studies.
Many of these grants are funded by the colleges and universities themselves, apart from public, private, and corporate organizations too. There are also several federal and state government grants that are provided in plenty for the different degree levels. You can visit this page may be referred to for further information on these grants.
The next category of grants is for the minority category. According to the US Census Bureau, the US minority refers to African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Alaska Native persons.
The Popular Minority Grants<
The minority groups have been getting into the college levels more than ever before, and there are plenty of sources that are very ready to encourage them by providing funds for furthering their studies.
The 39 Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer very good programs, scholarships, and grants like other colleges and universities.
Grants for African American students
The African American women are considered as the most disadvantaged minorities. Several sources of grants are available to them. The Spelman college is the only college in the US which is dedicated to uplifting the needs of the African American women students. There are countless number of grants for these students especially if they choose to take up any of the specialized fields.
Grants for Hispanic students
The Hispanics are considered as the most under-educated. Most of them do not end up studying beyond high school. Various social, cultural and economic reasons from the past have contributed to this. The Hispanic Grants facilitate them to pursue their education beyond high school and college. Need based grants and scholarships are available to Hispanic students through Hispanic serving colleges in Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona.
Grants for Native American students
The smallest minority of all is, ironically, the Native American group. They have been left behind as they have been living in remote and rural areas. Their maximum level of education has usually been high school and they do not have a family background of higher education. The Native American grants provide them with the much required funds to further their studies.
Grants for Asian American students
The Asian American group of students is the fastest growing ethnic group in the US. Various ethnic organizations provide them the grants, or they are provided by the government, colleges, or universities.
Sallie Mae and Coca Cola are examples of companies that provide grants for students who are the first in their families to go to college, and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Grants for Women
There are grants specifically meant for women and minorities. Women and the minorities are funded by various colleges and private industries for areas of study such as law, business, and journalism.
The types of minority grants include:
- Ethnic minority grants based on the ethnicity of the student, such as African American students, or Hispanic students
- Non Ethnic minority grants include grants for people with disabilities, learning difficulties, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), or Autism. Women are also provided grants under this category.
The most popular federal grants are:
- Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- National SMART Grant
The other sources of minority grants are the minority foundations such as the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic College Fund, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the American Indian College Fund.
The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, and the Black Collegian Organization also offer financial funds to students pursuing higher studies.
University of New Orleans
Another source of grant funding is the University of New Orleans. The Ernest G. Chachere Doctoral Diversity Fellowships grant was established by the Graduate School at the University of New Orleans for minority students in the fields of science and engineering.
This grant offers $22,000 as stipend per year, for four years, to the doctoral student towards expenses at the University of New Orleans. It also covers a four year membership in the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program. Students who are eligible for this fellowship grant are US minority doctoral students who are entering the science or engineering programs at the New Orleans University.
The doctoral students, usually, constitute a very small percentage of the entire population of students. Any type of student, therefore, can try for any of the grants either in the colleges or universities where they are applying for their doctoral degree, or they can try in any of the private or public organizations, corporate companies, or any of the other sources discussed above.
Many times a single grant may not be sufficient to cover all the expenses involved in completing the doctoral degree. A combination of grants has to be applied for to cover the costs, or some loans have to be applied for.
Different Funding Options
The different areas of graduate and doctoral studies for which funding may be provided by one government source or the other are the following areas of agriculture
- business and commerce
- community development
- consumer protection
- disaster prevention and relief
- labor and training
- food and nutrition
- income security and social service
- information and statistics
- justice and legal services
- natural resources
- recovery act
- regional development
- science and technology
- research and development
The entire above information goes to prove that not only the doctoral students, but students at all levels have a wide opportunity for furthering their studies to any level that they desire. There is no shortage of funding opportunities or organizations for all types and categories of students.
It just requires a little bit of research and action. This is not only encouraging to all who are considering further studies, but a very convenient way to acquire exactly the kind of degree one wants to and follow the career of their dreams.
More information on the grants available to doctoral students and other types of students may be found by referring to the links provided below.
Sources and links for further information: