Graduate Funding Overview

If you are considering applying to the Master of Public Administration or Master of Public Policy program at the University of Arizona, you are likely wondering how much it costs, and how Financial Aid functions. Please review the Cost: Tuition & Fees page for additional information. 

While this page provides a general overview of graduate student funding.  Information regarding recent scholarship opportunities and fellowship opportunities can be found on their respective webpages.

Prior to looking into any Scholarship or Funding Opportunities, domestic students are encouraged to complete a FAFSA each academic year as most funding opportunities require a current FAFSA on record.


Scholarships and Funding Opportunities from the School of Government and Public Policy (Departmental Funding)

There are limited Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) in our department. A GTA allows student employment within the department as a Teaching Assistant in exchange for tuition remission and a stipend (about $20,000/year, divided into the semesters that you work). These assistantships are extremely competitive, therefore it is strongly recommended to also seek assistantship opportunities in other departments around campus. You can do this through the University of Arizona's student job/internship posting page, entitled Handshake. You may also contact other departments directly to inquire if they will hire students from outside of their department for graduate assistantships- some departments do, and some do not. 

The department also offers partial tuition waivers that are applied toward tuition only, and are evaluated on a semester by semester basis. Please note that tuition waivers are not guaranteed to students every semester as these awards are limited and based on academic funding.

Finally, students interested in local government may apply for the Keane Fellowship (even years only), the Valdez Fellowship (odd years only), or the Tucson Fellowship (every fall). All Fellowships are designed to identify the country's most talented students aspiring to executive levels in local government. Please see the links for more information about what is required, and to view the separate application. Please note the Keane and Valdez Fellowships are exclusive to MPA students.

Students using QTR (Qualified Tuition Reduction) are not eligible for department funding.

Students applying to the program should indicate their interest in one or more of the above funding opportunities on their GradApp application. There is no need to re-indicate interest- all eligible students will be reconsidered for these funding opportunities each semester.


Scholarships and Funding Opportunities from the University of Arizona (University Funding)

If you are not eligible or do not receive funding from the School of Government and Public Policy, there are many other opportunities for earning Graduate Funding at the University of Arizona.

Some departments will offer Graduate Assistantships to students in programs outside of their departments; eligibility would be between you and the offering department. You can find Graduate Assistantships from departments across the University at Handshake. Some departments may not have posted their job openings on Handshake, therefore it is recommended to email departments directly to inquire about potential Graduate Assistant opportunities. 

Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to discuss federal student aid options with an expert on the subject. If you are eligible to submit a FAFSA, it is recommended to do so prior to contacting an OSFA representative.

You may also want to check out Scholarship Universe for scholarship opportunities for University of Arizona students.

One new source of funding is the Arizona Financial Aid Trust (AFAT) grant, which is a graduate need-based award.  Graduate and professional students who demonstrate financial need (FAFSA required) are invited to apply for AFAT funding through Scholarship Universe.  The award amount is $3,000.  The application cycle is January 8 - July 1; priority deadline is March 1.  Students enrolled in on-line programs are not eligible.

To Apply:
1. Log-in to Scholarship Universe
2. Search for AFAT in the top-right search bar.
3. Click "Apply" and follow the instructions.

Please note that this type of funding regularly has alternative application processes. 


External Funding

Please also feel free to apply to external scholarships you may be eligible for; this includes private funding or scholarships not affiliated with the University.  An example of external funding for MPA and MPP students are the ACMA scholarships

A list of additional external scholarships and fellowships can be found on their respective webpages as well (pages listed are identicle on each MPA and MPP website):


The University of Arizona Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program

This fellowship is available to students who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who wish to attend graduate school. For more information and application details, please see information on the Coverdell Fellows website

Please keep in mind that the Coverdell Fellows Program typically comes with a 0.25 FTE graduate assistantship offer.  Most GA positions within the University of Arizona are at 0.50 FTE, therefore if you accept the 0.25 FTE GAship as a Coverdell Fellow, you may accept another GA position from another department on campus at 0.25 FTE.  Please keep this in mind when deciding on graduate funding possibilities.


Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Assuming alumni of the program will be working in the public or nonprofit sector after graduating, you may wish to check your eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Qualification requires that you:

1. Work full-time for a government agency or for certain types of nonprofit organizations.

2. Have Direct Loans (or consolidate other federal student loans to qualify).

3. Repay your loans on an income-driven repayment plan.

4. Make 120 qualifying payments (10 years).

For more information, please see the Department of Educaiton website: