Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants

Professionals with computer science expertise are required in just about every industry in today’s economy. With demand far outstripping supply when it comes to computer scientists government agencies, research organizations, major technology and healthcare organizations are all willing to pay for what they need. These firms both private and public are willing to pay for the skilled professionals they need.

In computer science a current or prospective master’s student really has the upper hand. Start by researching the scholarships offered by your specific school and department. From there research opportunities from prospective employers, governmental bodies and community-specific agencies that offer awards to students interested in your area of specialization.

Editor's Picks

UPE Scholarship Award

Amount
$1,000-$2,500
Deadline
June 2016

This scholarship aims to support full-time, undergraduate and graduate students who are ACM members and members of the ACM Student Chapter at their institution. Applicants must supply a comprehensive application which includes academic transcripts, a UPE advisor recommendation letter, personal statements and a description of long-term professional plans.

Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship

Amount
$1,000
Deadline
April 30, 2016

Sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society, this award is given in memoriam of the former president of the organization, Richard E Merwin, to reward student leadership. Undergraduates in their final two years of study and graduate students pursuing electrical or computer engineering, computer science or a well-defined computer degree who are active members of a student branch or chapter are eligible. The reward is non-renewable.

CRA-W Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security

Amount
$5,000-$10,000
Deadline
February 2016

SWSIS is sponsored by the Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA), Computing Research Association-Women (CRA-W) and the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). Applicants must be women in bachelor or master’s programs with information security coursework in their studies, a previously held security-related job or membership of a security-related club. Winners will be invited to security conferences held by ACSA and HP with all expenses paid and have the option to participate in career mentoring programs put together by the CRA-W. Some winners may be offered summer internships with HP.

AISES Intel Scholarship

Amount
up to $10,000
Deadline
May 31, 2016

The AISES awards this scholarship to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian student members of the organization pursuing degrees in STEM. Created with Intel, this is a non-renewable scholarship for full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in accredited schools who can provide proof of their ancestry.

SMART Scholarship

Amount
Full tuition
Deadline
December 1, 2015

Established by the Department of Defense, the Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program provides undergraduate and graduate students studying STEM fields the opportunity to receive full funding and a job post-graduation. Engineering programs must be accredited by ABET to be eligible. Scholarships range from a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years per award depending upon specific degree requirements.

Stipends are paid at a rate of $25,000-$38,000 depending on the degree. Mentoring, summer research internships and employment placement (within the DoD) are all available to recipients of the SMART scholarship. Applications are extensive, so students should check all requirements on the scholarship website.

AfterCollege Student Scholarship

Amount
$500
Deadline
TBA for 2016

This scholarship is available to students working toward a degree at any level in computer science, computer engineering or mathematics. Applicants must be US Citizens with at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered.


Loans

While most school-based aid from the federal government is tagged for undergraduate work, graduate students can still qualify for unsubsidized federal loans. Unlike subsidized loans, interest on the sum begins accruing immediately and there is no grace period, meaning interest fees are considered a part of your principal debt.

That said, it is absolutely worthwhile for all graduate students regardless of field to submit a FAFSA form each year. At the graduate level, federal aid and loans are need-blind, but program costs are accounted for. Federal student loans will have lower interest rates and more forgiving forbearance and repayment schedules than commercial student loans. Almost every graduate student has to borrow cash to cover tuition and living expenses. Make it a priority to earn as many federal aid dollars as possible.

Loan Comparison Chart

Stafford
Eligibility Requirements No previous federal loan defaults; Must attend school at least half time
FAFSA Yes
Credit Check No
Amount Available Up to $20,500/year; $138,500 for entirety of degree
Interest Rates Tied to 10-year treasury note + 3.6%; Maximum of 9.5%
Fixed Rate/Subsidized Yes/No
Repayment 6 months after leaving school
Income-based repayment Yes
Forgiveness After 20-25 years; 10 years for public servants
Graduate Plus
Eligibility Requirements Must attend school at least half time; acceptable credit
FAFSA Yes
Credit Check Yes
Amount Available Full cost of graduate study, including living expenses
Interest Rates Tied to 10-year treasury note + 4.6%; maximum of 10.5%
Fixed Rate/Subsidized Yes/No
Repayment Deferred until 6 months after school or after attendance drops below half time
Income-based repayment Yes
Forgiveness After 10 years if employed in nonprofit or government
Perkins
Eligibility Requirements Must qualify as low-income student; income cut-off varies by school
FAFSA Yes
Credit Check No
Amount Available $8,000/year; varies according to college
Interest Rates 5%
Fixed Rate/Subsidized Yes/Yes
Repayment 9 months after leaving school
Income-based repayment Yes
Forgiveness Various Cases
Private
Eligibility Requirements Based on credit
FAFSA No
Credit Check Yes
Amount Available Varies
Interest Rates Varies
Fixed Rate/Subsidized No/No (Usually)
Repayment Immediately (Generally)
Income-based repayment No
Forgiveness No

Teacher, Graduate or Research Assistant Jobs

Graduate students, particularly those in technical fields like computer science have ample opportunities to earn extra cash or even tuition reimbursement through assistantships, joint research grants and teaching fellowships. Check with your department to learn more about the opportunities offered. You may not be eligible until your second year.

Otherwise, independent organizations also offer research grants. If your research proposal is selected, you could receive full or partial funding for your research and related project costs.