Scholarships and College Grants for Masters in Special Education Students
Special education is, at the same time, one of the hardest and one of the mot rewarding fields in which to work. On a daily basis, you’ll be working with children who have developmental or physical conditions, and while this can be challenging at times, it is also a truly gratifying job, as you’ll get to see how hard these young minds work to learn. While you can get started in special education with just a bachelor’s degree, it often pays to go back to school and get your master’s degree in this field. A master’s degree in special education might be expensive, but with scholarships and grants, you can pay for college and be qualified for higher-level positions when you graduate.
First, it is important to understand the difference between scholarships and grants. Both are free money for college, so you don’t have to worry about repaying the funds when you graduate, as is the case with student loans. However, with scholarships (which can be called fellowships at the master’s degree level), the money is typically awarded based on merit. This can be academic achievement, a special skill or talent, or writing a winning essay based on the scholarship committee’s guidelines. On the other hand, grants are given to students based on need. Other factors may also come into play, but you have to first demonstrate that you need the money to make education possible. Grants can go toward your tuition and living expenses, or you can apply for grants to fund specific research projects you want to pursue as part of your studies.
In both cases, you can begin your search for financial aid with the government. When getting an degree above a bachelor’s degree, you’ll no longer be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, but many other government departments offer educational scholarships and grants or financial aid for students who are pursing education for careers to work with the mentally or physically handicapped.
Private organizations also offer scholarships and grants for students. The money available changes from year to year, but some of the groups that have offered scholarships and/or grants to students in the special education field in the past include the following:
- USA Today
- Phi Delta Kappa International Education Foundation
- Siemens Foundation
- Finish Line Youth Foundation
- Bubel Aiken Foundation
- Qwest Foundation
- Special Education Foundation
You can also look for scholarships and grants that are available to all kinds of teachers, as well as funds that don’t discriminate based on program of study at all. These are often more competitive, since more students qualify, but the more programs to which you apply, the better chance you have of getting your entire tuition bill covered.
Don’t forget to also check with your college to learn about grants and scholarships that they could have for students. A number of programs help their own students with direct discounts based on both merit and financial need. Talk to your school’s financial aid department, as well as the dean of your specific educational department, to learn about the funds open for students.