Which financial aid options are available to you for graduate school?

The University of San Francisco Online Master of Public Administration is designed for professionals who want to invoke change through advocacy and policy administration. If you are seeking funding options to make a graduate degree attainable, USF offers plenty of assistance options for eligible students. Below is a look at the funding options available for USF students.

The value of a Master of Public Administration

A Master of Public Administration is ideal for individuals trying to advance their careers in the public sector. Professionals can improve their leadership skills or learn more about modern public health and administration practices. Additionally, an MPA can allow you to enter careers in which a bachelor’s degree is not always enough. These careers typically involve leadership and a higher salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the public sector that usually require a master’s degree, as well as their median salaries, include:

  • Urban and regional planner: $71,490
  • Public relations and fundraising managers: $111,280
  • Educational administrators: $92,360
  • Political scientists: $115,110

Once you’ve decided that an MPA is valuable for your desired career path, you should start looking into the financial aid options available to graduate students at USF.

Eligibility

Before applying for financial aid at the University of San Francisco, make sure you meet the general requirements. To be eligible for federal financial aid at USF, you must:

  • Be enrolled (or accepted) as a student
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Meet certain academic expectations
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Not be in default on a student loan
  • Not owe an overpayment on a loan or grant

For specific questions and concerns regarding your eligibility, contact the USF Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

How to apply for financial aid

If you have never applied for financial aid, or if it has been a long time since you did so for your undergraduate degree, follow these steps for a straightforward application process. First, you will need to provide the following information and documents:

  • Social Security number
  • State ID, such as a driver’s license
  • Most recent W-2 forms and other records of earnings
  • Up-to-date Federal Income Tax Return
  • Other untaxed income records, including:
    • Veterans benefits records
    • Worker’s compensation
    • Child support
    • Investment records, such as stocks, bonds and investment mortgage information
    • Current bank statement
    • Alien registration or permanent resident card, if you are not a citizen

The next step is to create a Federal Student Aid ID by visiting the FSA site. This ID will help you apply for aid and access your financial aid records online. Once you retrieve your ID, you can start filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Almost every student is eligible for some financial aid, but the amount depends on students’ financial standings.

After finishing the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report that contains all the financial information from your FAFSA submission. USF will also receive a copy of your SAR, which they will use to determine how much financial aid you should get. USF may send you additional documents to complete to determine your need.

After USF reviews your information, the university will send an email notifying you to check USFConnect Student Self Service to view any awards. You can use this resource to explore funding choices and accept any granted endowments.

Educational loans

Federal and private loans are among the most common financial resources for students seeking advanced degrees. Federal Direct Loans, a popular type of financial aid loan, requires applicants to complete the FAFSA. Two types of Federal Direct Loans include:

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

These loans are not based on need. Students are expected to make payments until six months after they drop below half-time enrollment (3 credits for graduate students). However, students accrue less interest on these loans if they begin paying while they are enrolled.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

Students who need additional financial aid beyond Stafford loans can borrow these types of loans. Students are expected to begin making payments until 45 days after they drop below half-time enrollment. Graduate PLUS loans are not distributed based on students’ credit scores but can be denied for students with poor credit or debt.

Students who are not eligible for federal loans can approach private lenders for student loan assistance. To qualify for private loans, students must meet credit requirements or have a cosigner whose credit meets these standards.

MPA-specific scholarships

Certain scholarships are only eligible for students pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of San Francisco. These non-merit-based scholarships include:

Public Administration Scholarship

USF awards this scholarship to choice MPA students that show top-notch leadership skills in the public administration field.

Lieutenant Barbara Hammerman Memorial Scholarship

This grant honors Lieutenant Barbara Hammerman, who served as a member of the San Mateo Police Department for 21 years. She was the first openly gay officer in the San Mateo Police Department, the first woman in San Mateo to ride on the motorcycle unit, the first to establish drunk-driving checkpoints in the city, and the first to establish child seat restraint checkpoints at schools. Hammerman was a champion for the rights of vulnerable members of society. This scholarship assists officers returning to college to pursue public administration.

Merit scholarships

Students with outstanding academic records and commitment to community service and extracurricular activities qualify for these prestigious scholarships.

Civil Servant Merit Scholarship

Students who are currently employed (or were previously employed) in city, state, federal or international civil service are eligible for this grant.

Community Service Merit Scholarship

USF honors select students who have displayed extraordinary community service acts with these scholarships.

Dean’s Merit Scholarship

Graduate students across multiple programs are eligible for this scholarship. There is no additional application for this scholarship and students will be selected based on their academic and professional achievements.

LGBTQ Merit Scholarship

Applicants who have demonstrated achievement in the gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual community may receive this grant, whether they identify as LGBTQ or as an ally.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in public administration or improving your job opportunities in this industry, apply for the online MPA at USF. This program offers flexible courses to fit into your busy everyday schedule. The MPA provides hands-on experience and collaboration efforts that can inspire you to become a leader in the public sector. If the University of San Francisco is right for you, contact an advisor to learn more about the Master of Public Administration program.

Recommended Readings:

Online Master of Public Administration by University of San Francisco

What are the benefits of an online degree? by University of San Francisco

A deeper look at the University of San Francisco online MPA by University of San Francisco

Sources:

Eligibility Requirements by University of San Francisco

Types of Educational Loans by University of San Francisco

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