How To Earn Scholarships For Your Master’s in Education

Many people enter the field of education because they want to make a difference and shape young minds, but it can be hard to afford a high level degree on a teacher’s salary. The good news? If you have a bachelor’s degree in education and you want to upgrade to a master’s, there are many scholarships available to help you mitigate the expense.

While a bachelor’s degree in education is enough to become a certified teacher, many want to further their credentials by getting a master’s degree. But with educator salaries not keeping up with the cost of education itself, such students often get discouraged and don’t go for their postgraduate studies.

In reality, there are numerous scholarships available for master’s in education candidates, and many organizations offering free money to educators who wish to advance their studies. Read on to learn about many of these scholarships, and to take advantage of these opportunities for personal and professional growth.

What are the qualifications for earning a master’s in education scholarship?

Besides having a bachelor's degree, you have to have a few extra qualifications if you want to be granted a scholarship. Here are the qualifications you will need for a majority of scholarship programs:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0-3.5
  • Experience working as a teacher (usually 2-5 years of experience)
  • Not be a previous recipient (this is done for the purpose of fairness, although some scholarship do allow you to reapply)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • At least three letters of recommendation

When to consider looking into scholarships for a master’s in education

Although many people are fine with having a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, other’s realize that having a master’s degree provides them with more opportunities. If you are already working as an educator, or aspiring to be one, you may wonder whether you need to advance your career with a master’s degree.

While there are many motivating factors to consider, these are the common reasons for pursuing a master’s in education — and for pursuing a scholarship:

Better pay:
While teaching pays the bills, it does not have a reputation for being a high paying profession. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, a high school teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes a starting yearly salary of $39,080. By contrast, the highest salary you can expect to make teaching in high school is $95,380 per year.

If you want to get better pay, your best bet is to upgrade your bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. According to the data obtained from PayScale, the starting salary of a high school teacher with a master’s degree is about $51,000 per year. This is $12,000 higher than pay for teachers with bachelor’s degrees alone, and a huge reason to consider seeking a scholarship for a Master’s Degree in Education.

Career advancement:
Along with better pay, another benefit to a Master’s in Education is that it allows you to advance your career and seek administrative positions. These positions allow you to blend your teaching experience in the classroom with the communication and leadership skills you would learn in your master’s program.

Additionally, master’s degrees give you the ability to take on bigger responsibilities, such as forming curricula that will teach, engage and develop many students. These kinds of career advancements increase job satisfaction.

If you’re hoping to take on positions with more responsibility in the future, you should look into earning a scholarship for a master’s degree in education or a master’s degree in education leadership.

Develop your teaching skills:
With a bachelor’s degree, you will definitely be able to handle a classroom curriculum and teach effectively. But if you want in-depth knowledge about students, teaching, and the entire educational system, even at the administrative level, a master’s degree may be the way to go. With this degree, you will learn to formulate an effective, research-backed system for teaching students at all levels, making you a more impactful educator.

Seek better job opportunities:
Later on in your career, you might want to branch out of the education field and into the corporate or non-profit world. A master’s in education can prepare you to not only be a school teacher, but to also be a development and training professional whose skills can be applied beyond the K-12 classroom.

Types of scholarships for master’s in education Students

It’s important to know what types of scholarships are available for a master’s in education, in order to research and plan out your scholarship application strategy. In this section, we will look at the types of scholarships that might help you reach the next stage of your career.

Merit-based scholarships

Merit-based scholarships provide financial aid to individuals with outstanding academic records. These types of scholarships recognize academically talented students who are otherwise disadvantaged financially, allowing them to pursue the career of their choice full-time or part-time. If you are someone who graduated with high marks from your undergraduate program, then you should consider seeking a merit-based scholarship.

In addition to weighing your previous academic performance, most programs will also factor in your extracurricular activities, and any positive impact you have had on your community.

When searching for this type of scholarship, you can try private or non-profit organizations or associations, or reach out to the college or university that you wish to attend.

Need-based scholarships

When it comes to need-based scholarships, your academic record, extracurricular activities, and community service record don’t count towards your eligibility. These scholarships focus solely on your financial needs, which means that you won’t be judged based on academic merit or achievement.

The people that grant these scholarships look at the cost of attendance (COT), which is the total amount of money you need to complete your Master’s in Education. After that, they subtract the COA from the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a figure that combines the assets and income you have combined with that of your family (as in, what they are willing to contribute on your behalf).

This scholarship aims to bridge the gap between the COT and the EFC: the difference between the COT and the EFC represents the financial aid you will need in order to attend.

Individual scholarships

Even if you aren’t an academic superstar or don’t qualify for a need-based scholarship, you can still find scholarships if you look hard enough. If you agree to pursue a certain career path, such as becoming an educator, one such option may be an individual scholarship.

In these types of programs, you generally agree to some form of service upon the completion of your degree. For example, a foundation might provide a scholarship in exchange for your commitment to teach for them in some capacity for a specified number of years. In this way, the foundation will “reclaim” the money they spent on helping you further your education.

Scholarships for racial and ethnic minorities

If you identify as a member of an underrepresented minority group, such as African American, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or Native American, you may be eligible for this type of scholarship. To qualify, you need to be either the first person in your family to make it to college, or a first-generation immigrant. These types of scholarships are usually merit-based or needs-based.

Career-specific scholarships

Career-specific scholarships are excellent if you are already working in particular field, but wish to obtain a master’s degree to become more of a specialist. Since you are already an educator, you already know what career you want to pursue, so this scholarship might give you the necessary financial aid to achieve your goals of reaching the next step in this field. Even if you want to switch careers entirely, a scholarship of this kind that might fund the postgraduate degree you wish to pursue instead.

College-specific scholarships

These are the scholarships that you obtain at the college you wish to attend or are already attending. Some colleges help students by giving them the financial aid they need to take some of the burden off of paying their tuition. If you want to find out if your college has scholarships for Master’s in Education students, you should give them a call to inquire or log onto their website and see their list of scholarships.

How to find master’s in education scholarship

In this section, we are going to look at four areas where you might find master’s in education scholarships. As you may see, aid is available even in places you don’t expect to look.

City and state resources

There are a lot of city and state resources available that can help you get a scholarship for your Master’s in Education. Here are a few you can look into:

The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. (NAJA) Scholarship

While this scholarship is not suited for those pursuing General Education, you can apply for it to get an advanced degree in Special Education or any other field that aims to assist children with special needs. You can apply for the entire scholarship online, and you can re-apply as needed to complete your master’s program.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

If you wish to get aid from the federal government, you need to fill out the FAFSA. This is how many states in the country are able to provide scholarships and grants to students who need them the most. This type of financial aid takes time and is hard to acquire, but if you have all the necessary documents in order and start the process well before the deadline, the FAFSA becomes easier and the odds of success are increased.

School scholarships

Many well-known and prestigious colleges and universities offer students scholarships for partial or full tuition over the course of their studies. The student is not required to pay any of the scholarship money back upon completion. This contrasts with student loans, which most schools usually provide as financial aid. Check with the particular school to see if they have Master’s in Education Scholarships that you can apply for. Below, we have listed a few schools that can provide you with the opportunity to advance your career in education.

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State university’s Graduate College of Education has 24 scholarship programs that provide financial aid to students looking to study a Master’s in Education. The scholarships are varied, and catered to specializations such as Teacher Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education.

University of Mexico

The NM Higher Education Department Graduate Scholarship Program offered by the University of Mexico, aims to increase the number of people enrolling in postsecondary institutions to pursue graduate degrees. The scholarship awards $7,200 per year, and you can reapply if you perform well and need extra funds to complete your studies.

George Washington University

The George Washington Graduate School of Education and Development has a number of merit-based and need-based scholarships that give you the opportunity to advance your studies in the field of education. Some of the scholarships you can find on the website include The Angeline E. Anderson Scholarship Fund, The Vincent De Angelis Scholarship Fund, The Eaves-Carden Scholarship Fund, and The James Harold Fox Scholarship Fund.

The University of Michigan-Flint

The University of Michigan-Flint has a scholarship for master’s in education students who are specializing in one of the following: Technology in Education, Special Education, Literacy K-12, and Early Childhood Education. This scholarship is known as the Ralph and Emmalyn Freeman Master of Arts in Education Scholarship.

Mississippi Institutions Of Higher Learning

To encourage public school teachers to pursue master’s degrees, the Mississippi Institution Of Higher Learning offers the Graduate Teacher, Counselor, School Administration Forgivable Loan (GTS/CSA). The eligibility requirements for this type of financial aid include having residency status in Mississippi for a year or more. You must also be studying for your first master’s degree while obtaining a Class “AA” Mississippi Educator License at a recognized graduate school in Mississippi.

These are just a few schools that offer scholarships for master’s programs in education. If the school you wish to attend is not on the list, try doing some independent research; it’s very likely that your target school has a scholarship program as well.

Association/Not for Profit Organization Scholarships

You can also research associations or non-profit organizations that offer scholarships on a national level, such as those listed below:

The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE)

If you want to get a certificate or Master’s degree in Elementary mathematics, the AMTE’s Elementary Mathematics Specialist Scholarship program gives you $2,000 to fund your studies and become a specialist in this field. To be eligible, you must be a qualified elementary school teacher, and you must have three years of teaching experience.

Administered by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

If you are a teacher who wants to return to school to pursue a Master’s in Music Education, the George Bornoff Memorial Scholarship Fund offered by ASTA is for you. You and two other teachers will receive $800 as financial aid. If you teach underrepresented minorities, your application will be given special consideration. The two most important qualifications in order to apply are membership in ASTA, and five years of experience teaching strings.

The American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA)

AASPA believes that students need educators from different ethnic backgrounds to get a well-rounded educational experience. To this end, they created the Leon Bradley Scholarship to motivate members of ethnic minority groups to pursue a Master’s in Education specializing in School Administration.

Corporate Sponsored Scholarships

Major companies and corporations also offer scholarships because they believe that education is an investment. Some even go as far as to set up foundations that are far removed from their main company, for the purpose of handing out financial aid to students who are in need.

As you search for financial aid, you will definitely want to factor in corporate sponsorship. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a short list of foundations providing scholarships for a Master’s Degree in Education.

James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation

If becoming an outstanding secondary school teacher of the American Constitution is your goal, the James Madison Graduate Fellowship from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation is what you must shoot for. This fellowship gives you financial aid that amounts to $24,000. Note that since the foundation only offers one fellowship to each state, you will have to compete with other applicants from your state of residence to get the funding.

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

If you are looking for scholarships for a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has the The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership. The Master’s Degree in Education Leadership program provides you with knowledge, skills, and experience to become an educational leader in schools and districts.

As you can see, there are many people and organizations that want to help teachers fund their educations beyond their bachelor’s degrees. From community resources, to universities, to private companies, to foundations and NGOs, you can find scholarships offered on a local and national level.

The next time you are worried about the cost of getting a Master’s Degree in Education, remember that you have plenty of help.

Works Cited:

5 Reasons Teachers Embark on a Master's in Education Program? Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Career-Specific Scholarships. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

College-specific Scholarships, Find a Scholarship By Types Of Colleges | Scholarship Directory | Unigo. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

College-Specific Scholarships. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Federal Aid. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Minority Scholarships. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Scholarship. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Scholarships. Retrieved April 18, 2018 from

Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.