Financing Your Future: Scholarships for Online Masters Degrees

scholarships for masters

Gone are the days when online learning was questioned for its worth. Accredited online programs are now known for their distinct benefits and shared similarities with their on-campus counterparts. Many scholarships for online masters degrees have also surfaced, making online learning a more viable option for many students.

Online masters scholarships help reduce the financial burden graduate students face. These programs can cover tuition, course materials, and other related costs.

Why Pursue an Online Graduate Program?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition in traditional graduate schools is $20,513. This figure does not include the other costs associated with attending brick-and-mortar schools, like room and board, textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses. Tuition can also significantly increase or decrease based on several factors, including institutional type, program, and whether or not students have received scholarships for masters degrees.

Featured Programs

The cost of attending colleges and universities is soaring at a rapid pace. Frequently, even with financial aid, the cost of traditional learning is prohibitive for many students. As a result, more and more students are considering pursuing an online graduate degree for their added benefits.


On-campus graduate degree programs require students to follow a specific learning structure. These programs’ time constraints and pace are challenging for students with other obligations. The typical master’s programs don’t necessarily cater to the demands of adult learners.

On the other hand, online master’s degree programs allow you to tailor your study schedule and pace. You’ll usually have 24/7 access to pre-recorded lectures and coursework. With flexible scheduling, you may work at your own speed and enroll in as few or as many classes as you like.

This, however, may not be the case for online doctorates. Online doctorates will likely require their students to follow suggested course pacing. However, online students can do so in their own homes, which still offers flexibility not typically found in traditional doctoral programs.

More Options

You don’t have to move away, leave your family, or quit your job to pursue an online graduate degree. Depending on your major, most of these programs are completed 100% online with no on-campus requirement. You no longer need to uproot your whole life to further your education.

Financial Savings

The cost of tuition for an online graduate degree is often the same as their on-campus counterparts. Still, online programs could save you a lot of money in other areas. For instance, you won’t need to factor in commuting, relocation, or on-campus housing costs.

Online graduate degree programs give you the ability to customize your tuition fees. You have access to hundreds of online programs, which allows you to compare tuition rates and find programs with the best scholarships for online graduate students.

In addition, pursuing an online degree allows you to earn a steady paycheck still while you’re in school, which helps with tuition. This is one of the best hacks for avoiding high interest rates on student loans in addition to obtaining a scholarship for master degree.

Personalized Learning

Online master’s degree programs are known to foster personalized learning experiences. Unlike on-campus lectures, online meetings can often be more tailored to individual students’ needs and preferences. Self-paced learning can potentially improve comprehension and recall of the course material.

Access to Diverse Networks

Online programs often have more diversity than their on-campus counterparts because more students worldwide can access them. This is one of the most overlooked benefits of online education.

In online master’s degrees, you have more opportunities to get exposed to people from different cultures and geographical areas. Collaborating with colleagues from other backgrounds and industries broadens your perspectives and may lead to exciting opportunities.

Types of Scholarships Available

Scholarships for graduate school are less common than those for undergraduate study. This is especially true for doctoral students. Nevertheless, there are still several types of scholarships for masters degree, doctoral, and professional degree students.

Scholarships for Masters Programs

Are there scholarships for masters degrees? What are they?

There are two types of online education scholarships found at the master’s degree level:

  • Merit-based Scholarships
    • These are the most common types of scholarships for online degrees. Merit-based scholarships are for students who demonstrate their exceptional achievements in academics, the arts, or other related fields. These scholarships aim to recognize students’ talent and dedication, inspiring others to excel. They are often provided by universities and create a competitive and productive learning environment.
  • Bursaries/Need-based Scholarships
    • These scholarships for online schooling are given based on a student’s financial needs, giving low-income students a fair shot at college.

Although proving financial necessity is the main need, merit-based considerations may also be considered as a supplementary consideration for these scholarships. It can help your application if you emphasize the wider impact your education has on your community in your motivation letter.

Other online college scholarships for master’s degree students include:

  • Scholarships for all international students
  • Scholarships for underrepresented groups
  • Scholarships with a special focus (location, subject, and program-specific)

Scholarships for Doctoral Programs

Scholarships for online students in doctoral programs are very limited, and they’re often very competitive. In most cases, doctoral students are awarded studentships instead of scholarships. While both can provide full or partial support as well as a maintenance stipend, they have their differences.

The main difference between scholarships and studentship funding lies in how the money is allocated. Scholarships are mostly awarded directly to the student based on their overall academic performance, while studentship funding is specifically tied to a particular project or research endeavor.

In addition to scholarships and studentships, doctoral students may also have access to other forms of financial aid. These can include:

  • Fellowships
    • Fellowships provide financial support for advanced degree students, offering additional benefits like research opportunities, mentorship, and professional development.
  • Grants
    • Grants are awarded to students who qualify based on their financial need or to support specific research projects.
  • Assistantships
    • This offers students a stipend or salary in exchange for academic duties such as teaching undergraduates or assisting with research projects.

Scholarships for Professional Degrees

A professional degree is a postgraduate program that prepares you for employment in a particular field, like law or medicine. Professional degrees are regarded as terminal degrees, or the greatest degree you may obtain in a field, such as doctorates and some master’s degrees in advanced academics.

There are still several scholarships available at this level. However, students are advised to explore scholarships with a special focus. For instance, aspiring lawyers may find scholarships offered by law firms, bar associations, or advocacy groups, while medical students might seek funding from hospitals, healthcare organizations, or pharmaceutical companies.

Top 10 Scholarship Opportunities for Online Graduate Students

Thanks to the Internet, scholarships for online college programs are easier to find. Here are some of the most popular online degree scholarships for graduate students:

PEO International Peace Scholarship

  • Who: International women pursuing graduate studies in the United States
  • Amount: $12,500
  • Deadline: December 15

Military Scholarship Essay Contest

  • Who: Military Personnel, Veterans, and Spouses
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: Not stated

Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, Inc

  • Who: Students who demonstrate a commitment to community service and involvement
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: August 15

AAUW Selected Professional Focus Professions Group Fellowships

  • Who: Women in historically underrepresented minorities
  • Amount: $5,000-$18,000
  • Deadline: November 30

COGDOP Graduate Student Scholarships

  • Who: Graduate students enrolled in an interim master’s program or doctoral program
  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: June 26

Western Regional Graduate Program

  • Who: Graduate students who want to attend out-of-state colleges and universities (in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) at the cost of in-state resident tuition.
  • Amount: savings of more than $14,600
  • Deadline: Varies

The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship

  • Who: Ethnic minority graduate students
  • Amount: $3,500
  • Deadline: Varies

The Beinecke Scholarship Program

  • Who: Graduate students at an accredited university
  • Amount: $4,000 upon enrollment; $30,000 while attending graduate school
  • Deadline: January 20

Return 2 College Scholarship Program

  • Who: Students currently attending graduate school
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: September 30

C200 Scholar Award

  • Who: Female graduate students pursuing an MBA
  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: Not Stated

Obtaining an online scholarship as a graduate student is more tricky than applying for financial assistance as an on-campus student. An effective strategy is to focus on finding traditional colleges with e-campuses. Here are some of the top traditional colleges with a strong online presence:

  • Colorado State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Penn State
  • Washington State University
  • Western Governors University
  • Liberty University


While online programs may be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts, they still require a significant investment. You don’t have to bury yourself in student loan debt just to advance your learning and career prospects. Secure a scholarship for online college!

You have plenty of opportunities to pursue an online degree. And with easy access to online databases, finding scholarship opportunities has never been more convenient. Make sure to enroll only in accredited online colleges to ensure access to scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.