If you're a natural impact-maker devoted to improving your community at the highest level possible, then public policy scholarships could be the perfect pathway towards your goals.
While some policy-related degrees are available at the bachelor's level, the Master of Public Policy (MPP) is the field's most popular degree. In fact, the NASPAA reports that over 27,800 students across the United States are enrolled in graduate public policy schools.
Public policy programs are focused on building knowledge in politics, economics, budgeting, research, statistics, government, and international affairs in one interdisciplinary curriculum. Graduates can choose from several career options ranging from local to international public service roles.
Start fine-tuning your problem solving skills for solving today's most pressing dilemmas by checking out these top-notch scholarships for public policy majors.
1. Bruce B. Melchert Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
In honor of the former Board of Directors who served as Grand Pryantis and won the Order of the Golden Eagle Award, the Bruce B. Melchert Scholarship is granted annually for at least $1,000 through the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) Fraternity Foundation. Eligible fraternity members must have at least sophomore-level standing in an accredited U.S. undergraduate program for public policy, public administration, political science, or government affairs with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Preference is given to applicants who have prepared for their future career in government leadership by achieving a major officer position in a TKE chapter.
2. CAPAL Public Service Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
Through the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), the Public Service Scholarship is awarded on an annual basis with a $3,500 stipend for full-time undergraduate or graduate students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent who are earning a public policy or administration degree. Eligible applicants must be enrolled at an accredited Midwestern school in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Recipients will spend the summer completing an unpaid full-time public policy internship in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
3. CH2M Hill – Willie Loud Scholarship
Deadline: March 22nd
As one of several scholarships for public policy sponsored by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), the CH2M Hill – Willie Loud Scholarship is awarded for $5,000 every year to African American or minority students pursuing a career in public service. Qualified candidates must be enrolled full-time in a bachelor's or master's program for public policy or administration, have at least one full semester remaining, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and display great communication abilities. Applications should include official transcripts, two reference letters, proof of enrollment, and a three-page autobiography.
4. Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
Deadline: January 9th
Since 1956, the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) has honored his 27-year career as executive director and unwavering commitment to preparing young people for city manager professions with the Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship. To qualify for this $5,000 award, students must be pursuing a graduate degree in public policy or administration, attend an accredited Texas university, already hold a bachelor's degree, take at least six credits per semester, and show sincere dedication for working in municipal government after graduation. Applications must be received with an official transcript, three letters of recommendation, and a two-page career aspirations essay.
5. Dr. Julianne Malveaux Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Administered by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club (NANBPWC), the Dr. Julianne Malveaux Scholarship is presented each year for African American females enrolled in their sophomore or junior year at an accredited U.S. university. Qualified applicants must be majoring in public policy, public administration, economics, international affairs, journalism, or a related field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Along with a completed application, students must provide an employment history, an official college transcript, proof of United States citizenship, and a 1,000-word essay titled "Black Women's Hands Can Rock the World."
6. Eben Tisdale Public Policy Fellowship
Deadline: February 10th
Created by The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), the Eben Tisdale Public Policy Fellowship is awarded each year to provide a $1,000 stipend along with a full-tuition scholarship of $7,995 to attend the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) for learning about high-tech public policy issues. Eligible fellows must be undergraduate students, attend an accredited U.S. institution, be interested in a career in public policy, demonstrate civic-mindedness, and maintain strong academic achievement. Applicants should submit a one-page professional resume, 500-word topical essay, 500-word statement of purpose, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and the $50 application fee.
7. Harold F. Holtz Jr. Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 1st or June 30th
Ranging in value from $1,500 to $2,500 apiece, the Harold F. Holtz Jr. Scholarship Fund was established by the Georgia City-County Management Association (GCCMA) to distribute up to 10 awards annually to high-achieving college students enrolled in an accredited master's degree program for public administration, public policy, urban affairs, or a related field. Candidates should attend an approved university in Georgia, have U.S. citizenship, maintain good academic standing, and plan to work in local government. Recipients must be able to commit 20 hours per week to completing an internship within one of Georgia's counties.
8. Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship
Deadline: October 1st
Offering a $1,000 award with a $2,800 monthly stipend, the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship is designed to provide full-time work experience for college students interested in public policy and activism over six to nine months at one of 27 organizations in Washington DC. Eligible participants must have completed a bachelor's degree, have U.S. citizenship, plan to attend an accredited graduate school, possess prior government experience, and demonstrate excellent academic accomplishments. Selected fellows will form policies related to terrorism prevention, peacebuilding, international security, arms control, and conflict resolution with experienced legislators.
Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship
322 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
9. Jean Childs Young Fellowship
Deadline: August 1st
As one of the graduate public policy scholarships offered at Georgia State University, the Jean Childs Young Fellowship was founded by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies to grant $5,000 every year to a master's-level student studying public administration, public policy, or international affairs. Qualified applicants must carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, remain in good standing, have unmet financial need, already possess a bachelor's degree, and be committed to a career in public service. Students will be evaluated based on academic merit, need, and how well their professional life aligns with the legacy of Jean Childs Young.
Jean Childs Young Fellowship
10. John E. Robson Scholarship for Public Policy
Deadline: March 31st
At Saint John's University in Minnesota, the John E. Robson Scholarship for Public Policy was formed in 2002 by the College of Saint Benedict to honor his accomplishments in personal political engagement and citizenship by serving under four U.S. Presidents. Eligible candidates must be sophomores or juniors, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.25, be actively involved in campus leadership, showcase superior communication skills, be pursuing a bachelor's degree full-time, and demonstrate interest in a public policy career for creating societal change. To receive the $2,500 to $5,000 award, students must submit a 500-word "Public Policy Proposal."
11. J.W. Saxe Memorial Scholarship Prize
Deadline: April 1st
On a yearly basis, the J.W. Saxe Memorial Scholarship Prize is given for $2,000 for one or more college students in the United States who are seeking to obtain more practical experience in public policy or service through low-paying internships. Qualified candidates must attend an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school, be committed to a career in public service, have significant financial need, and be seeking support for a received domestic or international internship. Before the deadline, students need to submit a current up-to-date resume, two letters of reference, official college transcripts, and a 1,000-word essay proposing their project.
12. Margaret Chase Smith Scholarship
Deadline: April 17th
In honor of her 33-year public service career and election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1949, the Margaret Chase Smith Scholarship was created by the University of Maine to gift $3,500 each year to currently enrolled undergraduate students showing promise for future leadership in public policy. Eligible individuals must reside in Maine, attend one of the UMaine campuses, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, be registered in 12 credits per term, have achieved sophomore standing, and conduct policy-related research. Applications must include a 500-word essay, a two-page research proposal, and two letters of recommendation.
13. Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship
Deadline: February 28th
Through the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), the Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship is awarded annually for a total value of $27,000 to extraordinary graduate students who are receiving their master's or doctoral degree in a social science discipline like public policy, women's studies, sociology, or economics. Students must already possess a bachelor's degree, attend an accredited U.S. school, have strong quantitative research skills, be familiar with survey software, and submit a CV/resume with a writing sample. Fellows will complete a nine-month internship conducting research projects to inform policies affecting women.
14. Michael Lindberg Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 29th
Administered through the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA), the Michael Lindberg Scholarship Program is hosted annually to grant $2,000 to graduate students enrolling full-time at Portland State University to acquire the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. Eligible applicants must have U.S. citizenship, exhibit financial need, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, have resided in Oregon for at least four years, be actively involved in community service, submit three recommendations, and plan a career in water policy or public works administration. Preference is given to qualifying women and minorities.
15. Millennium Momentum Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: July 31st
Annually, the Millennium Momentum Foundation gives several $3,000 undergraduate public policy scholarships to deserving minority students of African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American heritage who are attending accredited four-year universities in Southern California. Qualified recipients must be U.S. citizens or have AB 540 status, enroll full-time with at least sophomore standing, wish to pursue a career in public service, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate on- or off-campus leadership roles. All recipients are required to reinvest 25 or more volunteer hours back into the foundation.
16. Raymond C. Sittig Scholarship
Deadline: February 24th
Newly initiated in 2014 to honor the long-time city manager who served as executive director for 25 years, the Raymond C. Sittig Scholarship is granted annually for $2,500 through the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA). For this graduate scholarship, candidates must be pursuing a master's degree in public administration or public policy, attend an accredited in-state university, maintain good standing, have FCCMA membership, and aspire for a career in local government management to serve Florida residents. Applications won't be complete without official transcripts, verification of enrollment, a current resume, two reference letters, and a 500-word personal statement.
17. Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
Deadline: January 19th
Ideal for public policy majors, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award is presented annually by National Grid for $15,000 to provide monetary support for graduating college seniors who wish to engage in a meaningful public service activity for one year before attending graduate school. Senior-level undergraduates from accredited U.S. colleges are welcome to apply by developing maximum 1,000-word project proposal explaining how their work will further the public good. Applicants should also include a budget plan, three letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and an updated one-page resume. Semi-finalists will be personally interviewed prior to selection.
18. Stephen K. Hall Policy Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
Created by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) in 2007 in memory of the former executive director who spent 30 years advancing policies to address the state's water supply problems, the Stephen K. Hall Policy Scholarship is awarded annually for $7,000. Eligible students must be attending a public or private graduate school in the United States to complete at least eight units per term in law, public policy, or public administration. Applicants should provide three current letters of recommendation, official college transcripts, and a personal essay discussing their career goals in protecting California's water resources.
19. The Herbert Roback Scholarship
Deadline: May 29th
In the amount of $7,500, the Herbert Roback Scholarship is presented each year by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) for high-achieving graduate students who are currently admitted enrolled in a full-time master's degree program for public administration, public policy, international affairs, and/or political science. Applicants must attend Syracuse University, Brandeis University, Princeton University, John Jay College at CUNY, SUNY Albany, New York University, or any university in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Aspiring public servants must submit their college transcripts, a biographical resume, two letters of faculty recommendation, and a 500-word personal statement.
20. Wisconsin Women in Government Scholarship
Deadline: May 20th
For female residents of Wisconsin wishing to pursue a career in public policy, public administration, or governmental affairs, the Wisconsin Women in Government (WWIG) Scholarship is available to provide up to $3,000 in financial support annually. Eligible recipients must attend an in-state public or private college, have unmet financial need, demonstrate a clear interest in public service, demonstrate leadership potential, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, and be enrolled as a full-time or part-time undergraduate student. Applications are required to include a current transcript, a letter from the financial aid office, and two letters of professional recommendation.
Even though earning a degree in public policy is a more affordable alternative to attending law school, there's still likely to be a hefty tuition bill on your pathway towards a career in public service. This is precisely where financial aid from scholarships for public policy come in handy to reduce tuition expenses and minimize student loan debt. Consider applying for some of these excellent public policy scholarships to overcome financial stresses and realize your dreams of pioneering societal changes that improve our world.
Filed under: Public Administration Scholarships