National Service can be a great way to jump-start your career and have a positive impact on communities across the country, and even the world! These opportunities frequently include a variety of coveted benefits such as living stipend or salary, health insurance, student loan deferment or forgiveness, leadership and professional development, housing assistance, and even retail discounts! Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits offered through programs such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach For America is the potential to receive tuition assistance for graduate school.
How does this work? Well, it varies by program, so read on to learn more about how a service opportunity could lead to funding for your graduate degree!
The Award (Paul D. Coverdell Fellowships):
Available at over 200 programs and more than 120 partner universities.
Awards vary by university and offer reduced or full tuition waivers for master’s and Doctoral degrees as well as professional certificates.
Complete an internship in an under-served community in the U.S.
Other requirements are determined by each university.
How to apply:
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers submit an application to both the school and their Coverdell program of choice.
The Award (Segal AmeriCorps Education Award):
Funding typically ranges from $1000 up to $5000.
Funds can be used to repay qualified student loans OR for current educational expenses such as graduate school.
Education Award Matching Program:
Nearly 200 schools match the Segal Education Award.
Matches begin at $1000, but can be as high as 100% tuition coverage.
4 year (3 are salaried), AmeriCorps-affiliated teaching program.
Pursue a master’s degree while serving.
Urban Teachers members are also eligible for the Segal Education Award to help fund their degree.
Teach For America
The Award (AmeriCorps Education Award):
Funding typically ranges between $5300 to $6100 each year.
Can be used to repay qualified student loans OR for current or future educational expenses at a Title IV institution of higher education.
Over 100 Graduate School Partners offer a variety of fee waivers and scholarships to Teach For America corps members and alumni.
Additional merit and needs-based funding are available at some universities.
Tips for applying for graduate school funding during/after service
Read each school’s instructions carefully. Deadlines and requirements will vary by university.
Start researching or even applying to programs during your service.
Connect with universities directly to get more information.
Keep a clear record of your service activities.
Whether in your application, an essay, or statement of purpose, be sure to clearly explain how your service influenced your decision to attend graduate school.