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Grants & Scholarships for Doctoral Students in Educational Leadership

Aspiring educational leaders are dedicated to tackling challenges in schools. Funding their degrees shouldn't be one of them! Find programs, scholarships, and resources to support the process of earning doctoral degrees for professional educators.

Funding for Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership

When it comes to finding funding, education is one career path where subject-specific grants and scholarships are fewer the higher the level of degree you're after. To fund your PhD in educational leadership, you'll need to demonstrate the innovation, tenacity, and planning that will ultimately help you excel as a leader in educational policy and administration.

Doing your research before you hit the 'submit' button on that application just might save you thousands of dollars in tuition. It's worthwhile to consider these unconventional grant and scholarship options for doctoral degrees in educational leadership, as well as PhDs in education.

Fully Funded, Partially Funded, and Fellowship Programs

If you are a US citizen and able to relocate for schooling, consider applying for a fully funded or partially funded doctoral program in educational leadership. Several universities throughout the United States offer full or partial tuition waivers for doctoral students, as well as fellowships, assistantships, and stipends on a competitive basis. Below are some fully funded options to consider:

The University of Colorado, Boulder: With an emphasis on current topics in education such as class, race, gender, and sexual diversity, the doctoral programs at the University of Colorado, Boulder qualify for funding packages that typically include full tuition remission, stipends, and fellowships that lessen the cost of student fees. Additionally, the university offers the highly competitive Miramontes Doctoral Scholars Program which provides additional financial support to education doctoral students.

NYU Steinhardt: For doctoral students without an alternate source of funding, NYU offers the Steinhardt Fellows program. It can include tuition remission, stipends, and even student health insurance. Some doctoral students may also qualify for a research assistantship within the school of education.

University of Michigan: Like NYU and the University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Michigan offers a number of funding options for full-time doctoral students in their School of Education. Candidates interested in educational leadership can choose from programs such as Educational Administration and Policy, Public Policy, and Educational Studies. Most students in these programs receive a stipend, health insurance, and financial assistance, and are expected to complete a graduate assistantship.

Scholarships for Teachers

If you are currently a classroom teacher, earning an advanced degree can be a fulfilling way to invest in your students, your classroom, and yourself. There are a number of smaller funding programs available for current teaches, and a mix of bursaries, grants, scholarships, and awards can help reduce the cost of your doctoral studies and increase your earning potential as you qualify for advanced educational leadership roles within your school or district. Below are a few scholarships designed just for teachers. While you may not qualify for the examples below, some are specific to geographic location or membership to an organization, they can inspire you to seek out similar programs in your district.

Teachers Unions and Associations

Check with your regional or state teachers' union or association. Often these organizations use a percentage of their members' fees to help fund grants and scholarships to further the careers of teachers and education leaders.

California Teachers Association, for example, offers a number of scholarships ranging from $500 to $6,000 to applicants from a variety of backgrounds, including the following:

  • CTA César E. Chávez Memorial Education Awards Program: Award amount up to $550
  • LGBTQ+ Guy DeRosa Safety in Schools Grant & Scholarship Program: Up to $2500 scholarship available to LGBTQ CTA members
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship: Up to $4000 available to promote the educational advancement of ethnic minority teachers

Affiliations and Social Clubs

Are you a member of a Greek organization? Do you, a spouse, or your parents belong to a dues-paying social organization? If so, you might find funding within your extended community.

  • Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation: Offers graduate fellowships in educational leadership to members up to $2,000
  • Scottish Rite of Freemasonry: Members or affiliates can apply for a $15,000 scholarship to pursue doctoral studies in public school administration
  • Rotary Club: Individual chapters offer awards, grants, and scholarships available to members and affiliates

Federal and State Support

Moving out-of-state to pursue your PhD isn't an option for everyone, but that doesn't mean you can't secure funding for your doctoral program. Most state universities offer government funding through the FAFSA program. Much of this funding was created to enable doctoral students from a variety of backgrounds, identities, and circumstances such as military service members, single parents, and members of cultural groups, to attain post secondary degrees. Graduate students can also apply directly to the federal government for a Direct Plus Loan to help fund their doctoral degree. These are fixed interest rate loans for graduate or professional students in any field, including educational leadership. As an extra bonus they are also eligible for public service loan forgiveness, which is great news for public school teachers.

Unlike graduate degrees in professions like law, medicine, and engineering, finding funding for your PhD in educational leadership can be a challenge. Choosing a fully funded program, teachers' scholarship, or federal or state funding can help you pursue your degree without breaking the bank, though.