Public Administration Student Resources, Scholarships, and Support Services

Get help paying for tuition, succeeding in class, and preparing for your career in public administration with this list of valuable scholarships and student resources.

Last Updated: 11/30/2020

If you want an educational path that leads to a positive difference in society, earning a degree in public administration is a great option. And like any student, graduating with as little debt and as much knowledge and confidence as possible is key. Luckily, many organizations, schools, and government groups offer scholarships (some of which are not open to students planning careers in the corporate world), and support services for public administration students.

This guide showcases over 15 of the top public administration scholarships currently available and some of the most valuable academic and career resources. Keep reading to find the help you deserve affording school and succeeding in your public administration degree program.

Campus and Online Support Resources for Public Administration Students

Among the first places to seek assistance will be you school’s student support services. Not only is the help tailored to your academic situation, but you can also rest assured that those helping you are vested in your success. Let’s look at some of the places students can rely on for help in their academic and pre-professional careers.

University Student Support Centers and Services

Every school will have different student support services available. Students should do everything they can to take advantage of all that their schools offer. Most of these services focus on helping students learn as much as possible while they are in school studying public administration as well as achieving their career goals once they’ve graduated. Two such schools with excellent university student support services for public administration students to take advantage of are the University of Arizona and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

1

The University of Arizona School of Government & Public Policy

Students attending the University of Arizona School of Government & Public Policy have a plethora of services to help them make the most of their public administration degree. First, they have access to a robust internship program, providing more than 50,000 internship experience hours to students each year. Not only do students enjoy this unique opportunity to earn hands-on experience in public administration, but they can also obtain academic credit, too.

Second, besides scholarship opportunities, the University of Arizona School of Government & Public Policy has various funding options available to help students pay for travel, admissions test prep, and other academic expenses. New students have access to peer mentors to help them get acquainted with the learning environment. And finally, there are plenty of professional networking and career development workshops for students starting to make post-graduation plans for public administration careers.

2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is renowned for its Master of Public Administration program, which is available to students both on campus and online. Many of its graduates owe their career successes to UNC’s Student Support. This guidance begins even before enrollment, with access to personalized resources during the admissions process. The admissions staff not only helps applicants ensure they meet the requirements, but also explains how to pay for their degree and what academic paths will best help their public administration aspirations.

Once enrolled, students are assigned a student support specialist who will help them learn how to make the most of their program. Once acclimated, the student will still be able to periodically meet with their success specialist to ensure things are going well and address any potential issues or challenges.

When graduation is in sight, UNC’s Career Services team will provide meetings, informational sessions, access to alumni, and career prep to help soon-to-be graduates earn the public administration jobs they truly want.

Articles, Videos, and Podcasts for Public Admin Students and Professionals

Choosing Your Path: MBA v. MPAThere can be a significant amount of overlap in what graduates with an MBA or MPA can do after earning their degree. This guide goes into detail about the nuanced differences and why a student would want to earn one degree over the other.

GovLoveWith new uploads about every week, GovLove is a podcast that focuses on all things related to local government. This includes everything from a discussion about what it’s like to work in local government, to the people you find there, to the creation of community policies.

Public KnowledgeThis blog is regularly updated about a variety of legal and regulatory issues that concern public policy, law, regulations, politics, and governance.

USC Price YouTube ChannelThe University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy offers a wide variety of informative videos about specific issues that affect any student or professional in the field of politics, public administration, public interest, or public policy.

Public Admin Professional Associations and Student Organizations

Alliance for Nonprofit ManagementThis organization is unique in that it tailors its efforts to promoting the interests of nonprofit organizations, many of which employ or are led by those with public administration degrees. The Alliance fosters professional interactions and discussions to achieve positive changes in local communities.

American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)Comprised of all types of public administration professionals from various public, private, and academic sectors, the ASPA exists to foster dialogue between researchers and professionals in the field.

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM)This professional organization works to advance the field of public policy and management through multiple approaches. These include promoting research, fostering public policy analysis, and improving access to public policy education.

National Academy of Public AdministrationThe National Academy of Public Administration works directly with state, local, and federal government agencies to help them tackle challenging problems in today’s society. Assistance to agencies includes policy planning, research, and analysis.

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)Made up of more than 300 U.S. and international schools that offer public administration and related degrees, the NASPAA is the major accrediting organization for these academic programs. Membership is open to leaders of accredited academic programs; associate memberships are open to others who support the purpose of the NASPAA.

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA)PAA is the national honor society for graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in a public affairs or public administration program.

Public Management Research Association (PMRA)PMRA is a nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing research into public organizations. The PMRA is best known for its annual conference and its journals, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and Perspectives on Public Management and Governance.

Public Administration Social Media and Online Communities

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory on TwitterAnyone seeking the current news and developments in the public administration realm or the Arizona State University School of Public Affairs can check out this Twitter account.

National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA)This is the official Facebook page of this nonprofit organization, which works to promote Black leaders in local and state government.

r/PublicPolicyOn the Reddit social media site, you’ll find a subreddit where users post newsworthy stories and ask questions about public administration and related fields.

United Nations Public Administration NetworkThis online resource for public administration officials and practitioners around the world allows them to consult with each other on issues of government and social development that are in line with UN guidelines.

Support Resources for Students in Online Public Administration Programs

Online programs are booming, and those in public administration are no exception. But online learning can take some getting used to, especially for students who have always been taught in a traditional classroom. These resources can help public administration students in a fully online or hybrid program.

10 Netiquette Needs for the Online ClassroomTaking a class virtually can sometimes require a different set of rules and procedures. This comprehensive article addresses ten things online students can do to ensure that online classes are a good experience.

Guide to Earning Your Public Administration Degree OnlineMany public administration degrees can be earned online. This guide is an excellent source of information on what to expect and what you can do with your public administration degree.

Hubert ProjectThe Hubert Project is an online collection of multimedia content designed for educators to help teach public administration and policy topics, but it also can be useful for any public administration student seeking additional information.

NASPAA’s Online Resources for MPA/MPP ProgramsWith the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, many public administration programs have shifted their curriculum to online formats. This page lists numerous resources to help with that process. It also contains other online resources applicable to public administration topics, such as journals, databases, and articles.

U.S. News and World Report – 5 Tips to Succeed in an Online CourseThis article offers a good list of strategies that recognize common challenges online students face and what they can do to ensure they make the most of their online learning experience with public administration programs or other programs.

College-Sponsored Scholarships in Public Administration

When it comes to financial aid awards, scholarships are the best because they don’t need to be paid back. And when it comes to getting a scholarship, school-sponsored awards are ideal. That’s because they often have fewer application requirements, can get applied automatically to your tuition or other education-related costs, and often are easier to get as they are only available to students attending that school.

To find out how to apply for scholarships, students can check in with various sources, such as a public administration program director, an admissions officer, or someone from the financial aid office. To show you the kinds of college-sponsored scholarships that are available, we’ve picked two schools and scholarships to highlight.

1

Arizona State University School of Public Affairs

Arizona State University (ASU) has been a leader in online education for years. In addition to effective online learning programs, ASU also offers a number of scholarships. Many of these will be offered directly by the degree program, such as ASU’s School of Public Affairs scholarships. Here, public administration students can find a list of the seven scholarships currently offered by the School of Public Affairs with criteria that vary from academic performance to financial need. What’s nice about these scholarships is that students need to complete just one application to be considered for all of them.


Brent Whiting Brown Scholarship

Amount

Varies

Deadline

2/1/21 (Annual)

Eligibility

Primary consideration goes to those enrolled at ASU’s School of Public Affairs who have at least a 3.25 GPA. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to public administration and management and have a goal of a career in public service.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply online at ASU’s School of Public Affairs Scholarships and Financial Aid page.

2

Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration

Rutgers University offers a number of public administration and related degrees, including those at the graduate and undergraduate level. For example, graduate students can choose between an online or traditional Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from its School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at the Newark campus. To help students with the costs of education, the SPAA offers seven financial aid awards to graduate and undergraduate students. Five of these awards are scholarships, one is a stipend for textbooks, and one is a fellowship. In addition to meeting academic requirements, all applicants must show engagement with their communities and a strong commitment to public service.


GALA Anniversary Scholarship

Amount

Varies

Deadline

4/3/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

This scholarship goes to undergraduate students who enroll in the SPAA’s public and nonprofit administration program. Applicants must have completed at least nine credits in an SPAA program and have at least a 3.5 GPA.

How to Apply

Write a personal statement, provide a resume, send an unofficial transcript, and get a recommendation from an SPAA course instructor.

Private Scholarships in Public Administration

Private sources provide a wealth of funds for public administration scholarships. These include charitable organizations, corporations, and professional associations. Private scholarships are among the most competitive forms of financial aid for students looking to reduce their school debt. Below is a list of some of the best public administration scholarships available.

Amount

$2,500

Deadline

1/15/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Full and part-time graduate students may apply as long as they have a clear interest in sea turtle conservation and are studying in a field related to environmental sciences, public policy, community planning, or natural resources. Applicants must show evidence of participation in activities that relate to their field of study and conservation.

How to Apply

Provide a research proposal, two letters of reference, and a short personal statement.

Amount

$10,000

Deadline

2/28/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Must have at least a 3.5 GPA and be working toward a degree in public administration, public policy, or similar area. An ideal applicant will be enrolled in a HBCU. Scholarship is offered through the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

How to Apply

The application requires students to write an essay explaining their success in a leadership role.

Amount

At least $1,000

Deadline

March (Annual)

Eligibility

Must be a graduate student working toward a degree in a public administration or a comparable field, as well as a career in public service. Applicants must also intend to work in Kentucky after graduation and show financial need.

How to Apply

Interested students can use the Blue Grass Community Foundation web portal to submit application materials, which become available each January.

Amount

$20,000

Deadline

1/4/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Full-time graduate students working toward a career in finance in state or local government.

How to Apply

Provide a letter of recommendation from an individual who has detailed knowledge about the applicant’s devotion to working in the public sector. A personal statement and resume is also necessary.

Amount

$7,500

Deadline

2/15/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Must be a current student with an interest in developing policy in technology and the internet.
Applicant must also be prepared to spend a summer working at a designated public interest organization that deals with these issues.

How to Apply

Application materials include proof of enrollment and copies of transcripts. Apply directly to the public interest organization through Google’s fellowship program link.

Amount

$10,000

Deadline

1/4/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Part-time graduate students who are enrolled in a public administration or similar degree program, have at least two years of governmental experience, and have an interest in state or local government finance.

How to Apply

The online application requires a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s employer, as well as proof that the applicant is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada.

Amount

Up to $30,000

Deadline

The first Tuesday in February (Annual), though schools may have earlier deadlines

Eligibility

Applicants must demonstrate excellence in four areas: community or academic service; evidence of a desire for a career in government, nonprofit, or advocacy sectors; characteristics that show the applicant will be capable of bringing about positive change; and a strong academic record.

How to Apply

Applicants must provide a transcript and letters of recommendation. But most importantly, they must be nominated by a designated faculty representative.

Amount

$7,500

Deadline

6/12/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Scholarships will be awarded based on an individual’s understanding of public service and great potential for having a career in public administration. Students must be enrolled in a participating school (most are in Washington, DC; New York; and New Jersey).

How to Apply

Potential scholarship recipients must be nominated and provide the following materials for their application: undergraduate and graduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and resume.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

7/24/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Designated for students who have parents who worked in the aggregates industry and would like to pursue a career in government, public policy, or government affairs fields.

How to Apply

Students may apply directly on the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s website but will also need to provide a letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor.

Amount

Varies

Deadline

1/8/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

This scholarship goes to students who seek to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and are enrolled in public administration or a similar area of study.

How to Apply

Interested students create an account with the Pride Foundation and apply online.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

Varies, but usually in May (Annual)

Eligibility

Students must be members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours, have at least a 3.50 GPA, and be at least halfway through their associate degree in a public safety field, including public safety administration.

How to Apply

See the application when it opens every spring on the Phi Theta Kappa website.

Amount

$10,000

Deadline

3/1/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Students must be enrolled in an accredited graduate program in water law, water policy, or public administration and demonstrate an interest to work in water resources.

How to Apply

The application requires three letters of recommendation, an essay, and official transcripts.

Amount

Up to $42,000

Deadline

10/21/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Must be a U.S. citizen, have at least a 3.2 GPA, and be planning on enrolling in a master’s degree program that will allow them to work in the Foreign Service. This includes degrees in public policy, public administration, and economics.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted online and must include a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, a short essay, a statement of financial need, a FAFSA student aid report, proof of citizenship, all relevant transcripts, and GRE/GMAT test scores.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

2/28/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Graduate students with at least a 3.0 GPA who are pursuing a degree in public administration or a related field. Preference will be given to students who are attending a HBCU. Scholarship is offered through the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

How to Apply

In addition to an application, students must submit a three-page essay discussing what makes a leader successful.

Amount

$1,500

Deadline

Varies (Annual)

Eligibility

Open to graduate students in public administration programs who plan a career in public service.

How to Apply

Each fall, the American Society for Public Administration will open online applications for individuals who would like to nominate themselves or others for this scholarship.

Tips for Winning a Public Administration Scholarship

Scholarships are the most desirable forms of financial aid and, as a result, they’re very competitive. So when applying for these scholarships, applicants must work very hard to submit the best application possible. Even though certain portions of the application are rather routine, such as listing contact information and educational history, there’s still much the applicant can do to increase the chances of an award.

  • Tip #1: Follow the directions.
    This sounds obvious but, depending on the application committee, failing to follow the instructions is the quickest way to get your application thrown into the reject pile, no matter how qualified you may be.
  • Tip #2: Avoid embellishment.
    Scholarships are competitive, so it’s tempting to push the envelope when it comes to making your credentials stand out. But don’t overdo it. Even if not technically lie, an attempt to embellish or mislead the application committee is sure to ruin your chance of getting the scholarship.
  • Tip #3: Find the right recommenders.
    When choosing a recommender, you want someone who’s reliable, punctual, and portrays you in the most positive light. But don’t forget that to make the most of what your recommender has to say, you want the accolades to directly relate to the area of public administration you want to work in.
  • Tip #4: Start the scholarship application as soon as possible.
    The best scholarship applications, especially those with essays or portfolios, are completed with plenty of time for triple checking and adjustments to the materials. Individuals who review essays can tell the difference between an application and/or essay completed on a first try and ones that have been tweaked over and over again.
  • Tip #5: Begin building your extracurricular resume early.
    Depending on where you are in your professional or academic career, remember to engage in extracurricular or outside-of-work opportunities as much as possible. With a longer track record of helping society, your interest in public administration and public interest will be perceived as more authentic.

Other Ways to Save on Your Public Administration Degree

Scholarships are among the best sources for paying for school, but there are still many other financial aid options out there. There are traditional school loans, such as those available from the federal government or private lenders. For students already working, their employers might offer special tuition reimbursement programs.

Because public administration degrees often lead to careers in public service, there are some other financial aid options available that many other students might not be eligible to get. For example, there’s the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which you can learn more about in our public service student loan forgiveness guide. There may be other options available too, like work-study and fellowships, which are all discussed in our financial aid guide.