Financial Support: One Student’s Search + Success

Featured (L-R): Tamika Bain, Dr. Kim Allen, Mariama Ashcroft

In last month’s blog “Need Help Paying For Graduate School? Where to Look,” we offered multiple resources for funding—YFCS, NC State and outside of NC State opportunities.

This month, we reiterate two of those opportunities, with fast-approaching deadlines, and focus on YFCS student, Mariama Ashcroft, who is in her second year of the Masters program and Graduate Certificate in Youth Development and Leadership. She discusses her funding search and the types of financial aid she received.

Scholarship Opportunities Now

Students can apply for two financial aid opportunities this spring. The YFCS Diversity Enhancement Fellowship Opportunity is for minority students entering the Youth, Family, and Community Sciences Master’s program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The application deadline is March 19, 2018, and students can receive a maximum of $2,000.

The Graduate School Diversity Enhancement Grant Program supports students from underrepresented groups. This need-based grant is for students who are currently attending or plan to attend graduate programs at NC State, with grants awarded up to $3,000 for the school year. Eligible students should apply by April 15, 2018!

Searching for Funding Opportunities

Since graduate student, Mariama Ashcroft knew she would be attending NC State, she first went straight to the source: the NC State’s Student Services Scholarship web page guided her to available opportunities. She also spoke with her NC State financial advisor to learn more about which kind of financial aid would be best for her and how to apply. She also wrote to Dr. Kim Allen, YFCS Director of Graduate Programs, for more information about CALS grants.

From there, Mariama conducted her own searches. She Googled scholarship opportunities for women and found a scholarship for which she qualified. She chose funds from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) because the name was already familiar. Having three adult children who have completed first and second degrees, Mariama was experienced in searching for scholarships. Additionally, she had worked in the non-profit sector which had given her another source of experience in searching for grants. Mariama ended up applying to three grants and received funding from two.

The Career Development Grant

One scholarship that Mariama received from the AAUW was the Career Development Grant, which according to the AAUW “provide[s] assistance to women who, through additional higher education, technical training, or participation in professional development institutes, are making career changes, seeking to advance in current careers, or reentering the workforce. Primary consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing credentials in nontraditional fields.” The grant provides support for coursework toward degree programs other than a doctorate or for specialized training in technical or professional fields. According to Mariama, the grant was perfect for her because she matched all of the qualifications.

Advice For Securing Funding

Mariama offered advice for prospective students who are unsure of available financial support opportunities. She says, “Have a strong and compelling personal statement that tells your life story, how your career has contributed to addressing a societal need, and how further training will help you continue to do this. Demonstrate that lack of funding will handicap your ability to contribute. In my case, I had already borrowed from my bank to pay one semester’s tuition. One of AAUW’s goal is to reduce the burden of student debt that prevents minorities from attaining advanced education. And lastly, get a strong recommendation letter from two academic sources and a job supervisor.”

Mariama’s ability to pursue higher education enables her to advance her career in new and exciting ways. She explains, “The degree has exposed me to social science theories, research and advanced analytical skills, and a better understanding of social injustice and inequality. I will be a better social justice advocate working on research, policy and programs. I plan to start a nonprofit in my country of birth to educate and advocate on domestic violence against women and implement economic self-efficacy programs for vulnerable women and families.”

Check back each month to the YFCS blog as we discuss topics around youth, family and community sciences and the online programs at NC State.