Funding Your Degree: Best Public Administration Scholarships

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.29.2024


Are you considering pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree but concerned about the costs? There are numerous scholarship and grant opportunities available to help offset the expenses of your graduate education. From government grants to institutional scholarships and graduate assistantships, there are various ways to fund your MPA studies.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best MPA scholarship and grant opportunities, including government grants, graduate assistantships, and examples of available scholarships. Whether you’re a current student or planning to enroll in an MPA program, understanding these funding options can help make your education more affordable.

Best MPA Scholarship & Grant Opportunities

MPA students have access to a wide array of scholarships and financial aid options, including those offered by their institutions and external organizations. It’s recommended that students explore scholarship databases like Fastweb, Peterson’s, and the NASPAA Fellowship Database to find suitable opportunities. Additionally, many universities provide merit-based scholarships, need-based aid, and diversity scholarships to assist students from various backgrounds.

Government Grants

MPA government grants are financial awards provided by government agencies to support students pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. These grants are typically awarded based on financial need, academic merit, or specific criteria set by the granting agency.

MPA government grants can complement other forms of financial aid, such as scholarships and fellowships, providing students with additional resources to fund their education.Government grants for MPA students often come from agencies that are dedicated to promoting public service careers. By awarding grants, these agencies encourage students to pursue careers in public administration and make a positive impact in their communities.

Fulbright Student Program

Offers grants for U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists to study, conduct research, or teach English abroad for an academic year or longer. The program aims to promote mutual understanding and cultural exchange between the United States and other countries.

Federal Pell Grant

While typically associated with undergraduate education, Pell Grants are also available to some graduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. The amount awarded is based on financial need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG is a grant for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. The grant is awarded by the school’s financial aid office and does not need to be repaid.

Federal Work-Study Program

While not a grant, the Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education expenses.

State Grants

Many states offer grants to residents pursuing higher education, including graduate degrees. These grants are often based on financial need and may have specific eligibility criteria.

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

This federal program provides grants to institutions of higher education to support graduate students in areas of national need, such as public administration.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

While not a grant, PSLF is a program that forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a government or non-profit organization.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships can be a valuable resource for helping to offset the tuition costs of a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. These financial awards are typically based on merit, need, or specific criteria set by the scholarship provider.

Scholarships can be used to cover tuition costs, fees, books, and other educational expenses, providing students with more flexibility in managing their finances. Scholarships can also provide recognition for academic achievement, leadership, or community involvement, which can be valuable for a student’s resume or future career opportunities.

Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

The Truman Scholarship is a prestigious award for graduate students pursuing careers in public service. It provides funding for graduate studies, leadership training, and internship opportunities.

NASPAA Emerging Leaders

This scholarship is designed to support students from underrepresented backgrounds pursuing a graduate degree in public administration. It aims to promote diversity and inclusivity in the field.

The Hatfield Scholar Program

Offered by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), this program provides scholarships to MPA students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to public service.

Foundation for Community Association – Byron Hanke Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded to graduate students researching community associations and their management. It supports research that contributes to the advancement of community associations.

The Public Administration Graduate Student Scholarship (ASPA)

Offered by the American Society for Public Administration, this scholarship is for MPA students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to public service.

ICMA-RC Public Employee Memorial Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is for students pursuing a career in state or local government finance. It is open to MPA students who are also members of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

Graduate Assistantships

MPA graduate assistantships are positions that provide graduate students with valuable professional experience, practical skills, and financial support while they pursue their Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. These assistantships typically involve working for a department, faculty member, or research center within a university, assisting with administrative tasks, research projects, teaching, or other responsibilities related to public administration.

In exchange for their work, graduate assistants receive a stipend or salary, tuition remission or reduction, and sometimes other benefits such as health insurance. Assistantships can be a great way for MPA students to gain hands-on experience in the field, build professional connections, and offset the cost of their education. 

MPA graduate assistantships are competitive, and the specific duties, requirements, and benefits can vary depending on the university and the department offering the assistantship. Students interested in pursuing a graduate assistantship should check with their university’s MPA program or career services office for more information on available opportunities and application requirements.