The cost of attending institutions of higher education, whether public or private schools, is often a shock for those first starting to compare prices. College Board estimated the average cost of one year of tuition (2009/2010) to a public school at just over $7 thousand. For private universities, the cost soared to over $26 thousand a year. Fortunately, there are many sources of financial aid available, and it’s just a question of tracking them down and applying successfully. For students interested in pursuing degrees in public health, the upsurge in need for medical professionals is prompting the creation of more of these scholarships.
It’s important to understand what kind of awards are available. A scholarship is typically a few- or no-strings-attached financial gift offered to a student who is pursuing a specific educational goal. Scholarships differ from grants and fellowships in that grants may be attached to specific projects that the recipient promises to complete, and fellowships are awarded to students performing research or work obligations for a given institution.
To begin searching for public health scholarships, or other sources of funding, start on the web at Scholarships.com, Fastweb, and College Board. These are free scholarship tracking websites that can help you connect with scholarships that align with your major, location, and qualifications.
Professional public health organizations often offer various scholarships to students at different phases of education. The American Public Health Association has a list of numerous scholarships as well as awards for dissertation and grant funding. The US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offer scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursing an education in public health.
Make certain to be specific in your search. Consider what area of public health you’re interested in and seek scholarships in these specific areas. You may search for public health scholarships in nutrition, education, maternal and child health, public health policy, and many others.
It’s also important to remember that educational institutions often offer their own scholarships to students in particular disciplines. Contact the college, university, or other schools you are considering and ask what departmental financial aid may be available to you.
Finding the scholarships is just the start of the process. There are a number of vital considerations to keep in mind as you being your application process.
Most scholarships require some sort of writing–a short essay or statement of purpose, for example, or descriptions of service work that you have done. Make sure to read the scholarship requirements thoroughly and double-check whether you are providing the exact information desired. You may wish to hire a professional proofreader to read over your applications and essays to catch any of the little errors that slip past you.
The best advice you can take when pursuing scholarship is to apply broadly and to every scholarship for which you qualify. Don’t give up. Many thousands of dollars in scholarship money go unawarded every year because no one applies. Don’t turn your nose up at the smaller awards. Even the smaller scholarships, if you can win several of them, will be of great help to you during the course of your education.