Public Administration Scholarships for Graduate Students

For those seeking to lead in the nonprofit world or the public sector, a Master of Public Administration provides the needed training and skills.

Public administration programs and similar government degrees can equip professionals to pursue a variety of MPA career roles in government agencies, nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). As such, many notable figures from leaders of the United Nations to executives of charitable organizations have an MPA.

However, earning an MPA can prove to be a financially challenging pursuit. If you are interested in an MPA but skeptical about the cost, there are many options available, including grants and scholarships.

What Is the Average Tuition for an MPA?

As common with any graduate program, tuition varies from school to school for MPA programs.

To help combat high tuition costs for students, some business schools offer public administration scholarships for students pursuing this graduate degree. Additionally, the rise of online MPA programs offers even more options to find an affordable method to obtain an MPA.

Grants for Graduate School of Government Students

Consider applying for a government grant as a starting point for covering the cost of a degree. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.

Additionally, they are offered by the government at both federal and state levels. Certain private organizations also offer grants to those pursuing higher education. In other words, there are multiple grant options available that could lower your tuition for a graduate program. Two options are:

  • Fulbright U.S. Student Program (amount varies): Thinking of taking your MPA studies international? The Fulbright Program offers funds to students seeking to conduct research in another country.
  • American Association of University Women Career Development Grants ($2,000 – $12,000): These grants offered change from year to year, but the AAUW remains one of the largest supporters of women pursuing higher education.
    Keep in mind that many universities have school-specific grants, and new grants can emerge each year. Therefore, be diligent in searching and applying for grants. One tool that can prove useful in this search is It is a great resource that allows you to sift through grants and find ones that you are eligible for. With a large database of grants and specific filters, you’ll be able to browse grants quickly and efficiently.

MPA Scholarships for Graduate Students

You may have noticed that scholarships to graduate school are not as abundant as those for undergraduate degree programs. However, there are still many great MPA scholarships out there.

From school-specific scholarships to those offered by organizations and foundations, a good graduate program scholarship can be found—it just requires a little digging. We’ve gathered a list of MPA scholarships to help you get started.

Explore MPA scholarship options below.

  1. Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation: Truman Scholarship

    This scholarship is dedicated to supporting future public service leaders. A prestigious and well-known award, the Truman Scholarship is awarded to those still in their undergrad careers who will be pursuing graduate school in the area of public service.

    See if you meet the Truman Scholarship eligibility requirements.

    Note: Those who have already completed their undergraduate degree are not eligible to apply.

  2. University of North California: Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Scholarship

    The UNC School of Government awards scholarships to roughly 85% of students admitted. The MPA @UNC online MPA program offers an array of specializations, such as international relations and public health. A number of the scholarships offered are merit- or need-based. Others, like the YPFP Scholarship, are based on membership inside certain organizations. The award offers up to $5,000 to verified YPFP members.

    See details of this and other scholarships offered by the University of North California.

  3. Syracuse University: Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program

    The PPIA Fellowship Program covers half of the tuition costs for recipients. The guidelines indicate that the award is only available to admitted students who have successfully completed a PPIA Junior Summer Institute program. However, Syracuse University offers a variety of partnerships, fellowships and outside financial assistance for prospective MPA students.

    See the details of this award and other scholarships offered by Syracuse University.

  4. Marshall Scholarship

    One of the most flexible international graduate programs, the Marshall Scholarship allows students to pursue any graduate degree they desire. Students from the United States will study at a university in the United Kingdom for either a one- or two-year program. The scholarship offers a host of benefits.

    According to the Marshall Scholarship website, students can expect coverage for “University fees, cost-of-living expenses, annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, fares to and from the United States and, where applicable, a contribution towards the support of a dependent spouse.”

    See if you meet the eligibility requirements for the Marshall Scholarship program.

  5. Foundation for Community Association: Byron Hanke Fellowship

    This award enables graduate students to perform research in the realm of community governance. Applicants must submit a clear and detailed research proposal. The selection process is based on merit and does not take into account race, gender, religion and other factors. The award is given in the form of a stipend and ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. It is dispersed in three installments over a one-year period.

    See if you meet the eligibility requirements for the Byron Hanke Fellowship.

  6. National Federation of Republican Women: National Pathfinder Scholarship

    Each year, three women are selected to receive the National Pathfinder Scholarship to aid in the pursuit of their undergraduate or graduate degree. The award amounts to $2,500. Each applicant must submit three letters of recommendation and an essay detailing why they should be considered for the award.

    Learn more about the National Pathfinder Scholarship and application process.

  7. National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA): Herbert Roback Scholarship

    This scholarship is open to current MPA students and those who have recently been admitted into an MPA program. It is only available to students at a select list of schools, including Syracuse University and New York University. NAPA requires that students are nominated for the award by their respective institutions. The award amount is $7,500.

    Learn more about the Herbert Roback Scholarship and participating universities.

  8. National Forum for Black Public Administrators: Numerous Scholarships

    The NFBPA offers multiple scholarships every year for African American and other minority students. Awards range from $2,000 to $10,000 and are offered to undergraduates as well as graduate students. The scholarships support students pursuing degrees in public administration, political science and other public sector fields.

    Explore the available NFBPA scholarships and eligibility criteria.

  9. Pickering Foreign Affairs Program: Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship

    Each year, the Pickering Foreign Affairs Program selects up to 30 driven graduate students to receive the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship. This is a highly competitive award, as fellows in the program are awarded up to $37,500 for tuition, books and other related expenses. Unlike many fellowships that are specific to a certain university, the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship is open to graduate students at numerous universities. The full list of Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship–approved schools includes universities from across the country.

    See if you meet the eligibility requirements for the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship.

  10. American Society of Public Administrators: Walter W. Mode Scholarship

    The Mode Scholarship, named after the 30th national president of ASPA, awards $1,500 to devoted public administration graduate students and ASPA members who demonstrate a commitment to public service.

    See if you meet the eligibility requirements for the Walter W. Mode Scholarship.

There are a host of financing options available to those pursuing a Master of Public Administration. From fellowships that support graduate student research to foundations that align with specific sectors of government work, awards for MPA students cover a wide range of student interests and profiles. Remember that new scholarships are announced regularly, so remain diligent in your search.

Last Updated May 2020