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Financing your Policy Education

Financial Aid and Internal Funding Opportunities

The University of Maryland School of Public Policy (SPP) affords several opportunities for meritorious students to support graduate study. All domestic and international students can be considered for merit-based aid.  Consideration for these awards can be requested on the admissions application form. Criteria for consideration are the same as for admission to the program. Merit awards offered to admitted students range from modest grants, partial or full assistantships, to full fellowships. More details about these awards are available below. Please note that need-based aid is not provided by SPP, but can be applied for through the University of Maryland's Office of Financial Aid (http://www.financialaid.umd.edu/) for U.S. Citizens or those eligible for federal aid. The Office of Financial Aid also provides links to resources for international students seeking alternative sources of financial support. 

Graduate awards such as assistantships and scholarships are highly competitive, and it is in the student's best interest to strive for other types of awards to fund graduate study. SPP staff can help students in their pursuit of some fellowships, and information is available through links below in "External Funding Opportunities". U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents who are not yet matriculated in our programs, or not yet admitted, would do well to fill out the FAFSA form at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ for need-based financial aid. (The University of Maryland code for this form is 002103).

Merit-Based Awards Offered by SPP:


SPP awards full and partial assistantships to meritorious students. Graduate Assistants typically assist a professor with research or teaching or work in an administrative capacity in one of our offices or research centers. A typical assistantship covers some tuition expenses for the first academic year and provides a partial stipend to offset living expenses. Additionally, graduate assistants are charged tuition at the in-state rate and have the option to participate in a subsidized health insurance program and other benefits. (Available to U.S. and international students.)

Internship Funding 

Additional grants and scholarships are available to support SPP students' experienced-based learning in non-profit, community-based, and governmental organizations. Students enrolled full-time at the UMD School of Public Policy may spend up to one academic semester working part-time, or one summer working full-time, on projects that allow them to apply the analytical skills they gain in class to challenges faced by non-profit, governmental, and community-based organizations. Students are paid by SPP through funds set up by The William Donald Schaefer Internship Program and donor funding. These opportunities are available to U.S. and international students. See the following link for more information on internship funding: http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/current/career/Schaefer.

UMD School of Public Policy Awards

The Robertson Fellowship

The Global Philanthropy Service Fellowship

The Coverdell Fellowship

The Robertson Foundation For Government - Robertson Fellows Program 
In partnership with the Robertson Foundation For Government (RFFG), SPP will name four Robertson Fellows annually. These incoming students must be enrolled in the two year MPP program and have a commitment to a career in the Federal Government in foreign policy, national security and/or international affairs. Robertson Fellows will also participate in a Robertson Internship in their second year of study (summer, fall or both). 

Fellows will receive full tuition, cost of living stipend and summer internship assistance. Applicants must submit an additional one-page (approximately 1000 words) statement outlining their academic and career goals and how these are aligned with the mission of the RFFG.  Robertson Fellows are required to work for the federal government for three of their initial seven years after graduation and must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at time of graduation. Students who are selected to receive a Robertson Fellowship will be required to sign an agreement stipulating to the terms and conditions set by the Foundation.  

To apply for the Robertson Fellowship:

  • Deadline for consideration is February 15.
  • Submitted an application to the University of Maryland School of Public Policy MPP program (link to application information here)
  • Complete the downloadable cover sheet
  • Submit an additional 1-2 page statement outlining your academic and career goals and how these are aligned with the mission of the RFFG.
  • For more information, please visit http://rffg.org/


The Global Philanthropy Service (GPS) Fellowship 

The Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL), located within the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, is dedicated to helping students become innovative and effective professionals in the field of global philanthropy, international development, and nongovernmental leadership and management. The Global Philanthropy Service (GPS) Fellowship will be awarded to up to four newly admitted graduate students (with support ranging in amounts, but not to exceed $10,000 for any one awardee), and will provide financial support for meaningful domestic or international field experiences in global philanthropy or NGO leadership. Ultimately, GPS Fellows will develop essential skills and experiences to become tomorrow’s global leaders and create positive change in our world. 

To apply for the GPS Fellowship:

  • Review the detailed description of the GPS fellowship
  • Submit an application to the University of Maryland School of Public Policy Master of Public Policy (MPP) (or dual programs) or Master of Public Management (MPM) program
  • Complete the downloadable cover sheet for the GPS Fellowship
  • Write a one-page statement outlining your short and long term professional goals and how a focus on NGOs and global philanthropy complements your educational goals
  • Submit the GPS Fellowship cover sheet, one-page statement, and your current resume as a pdf document to policy-applications@umd.edu by midnight on February 15, 2016

For more information about the GPS Fellowship, contact:
     Katlin Meissinger
     Program Coordinator, Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership
     301-405-2086 | katmeiss@umd.edu


Coverdell Fellows (formerly Peace Corps Fellows/USA Program) 

We are proud to participate in the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. Established in 1985, Coverdell Fellows (formerly known as Fellows/USA) is a partnership between the Peace Corps and selected graduate schools across the country.

Volunteers who satisfactorily completed Peace Corps service have lifetime eligibility for Coverdell Fellows.

We recognize the unique experience RPCVs bring into the classroom setting, which can enhance the quality of discussions and academic performance throughout our student body. Coverdell Fellows is reserved exclusively for RPCVs. If accepted into our school's program, you will be offered a merit based award reserved for RPCVs as you work toward your graduate degree.

A maximum of 5 Coverdell Fellows awards are offered annually. These awards typically provide a half graduate assistantship carrying a yearly stipend of $7,000 and approximately $6,500 in tuition remission for the academic year. Additonal credits are charged at the in-state tuition rate. Fellows may also be eligible for other merit-based assistantships.

As part of the Coverdell Fellows Program, all Fellows participate in supervised, professional internships in underserved American communities. These internships give you the opportunity to continue to live out your ethic of service while also developing significant professional skills and contacts to further your career. Fellows work closely with our Career Services office to identify and prepare for internship opportunities. Visit our Student Experiences Blog to read first-hand accounts about what our students are doing to gain work experience while in our program.

The University of Maryland School of Public Policy partners with the Peace Corps’ Coverdell Fellows Program to offer the Master of Public Policy, Master of Public Management-Policy Track and joint degrees in Conservation Biology (MS/MPP), Business (MBA/MPP) and Law (JD/MPP). Note: students only receive their Coverdell Fellows benefits while working on the Public Policy portion of a joint degree program.

To learn more about our programs, please contact our Coverdell Fellows Program coordinator:
                       UMD School of Public Policy Admissions

Learn more about the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program: visit the Peace Corps website: www.peacecorps.gov/fellows