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New! The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans are up to US$90,000 for a total of two years, including tuition and expenses. If you are an immigrant or a permanent US resident applying to an MA TESOL program, you should apply for this fellowship. It's a lot of money!  

New! The Graduate School of TESOL at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea has up to three scholarships for students admitted to their MA TESOL (English Language Teaching or ELT Contents Development) program.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, a school well-known for its graduate second language acquisition program, has a variety of good graduate assistantships, tuition waver options, and even TESOL employment opportunities. Visit their website and scroll down to read about fellowships and other forms of financial aid.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a variety of awards, including graduate assistantships and tuition awards. Visit their Master's of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language page and then read about financial aid options offered by their Graduate School.

Sookmyung Women's University in South Korea has MA TESOL scholarships for international students and public school teachers. Read about the program and contact them to get more information about these MA TESOL scholarships.

Wichita State University in Kansas has fellowships and graduate assistantships that include a 100% tuition waver.

Newcastle University in the United Kingdom has scholarships that are available to international and British students, including merit scholarships, international postgraduate scholarships, overseas research scholarships, and international family discounts. Visit their MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL page first and then have a look at their scholarship and financial aid page.


Financial aid is available from a number of sources. Do not give up even if you do not seem to have enough money at this particular time. Read on.

1) Federal and Government Financial Aid

You may be eligible for financial aid from your own government. For example, in the United States, prospective students are required to fill out the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount of financial aid varies from case to case; however, it is worth noting that some of that amount can be in grants (money you do not have to pay back). For more information, contact the graduate financial aid advisor at the universityís Financial Aid Office.

Remember that the costs involved may be much lower if you are going to study in the country of your citizenship and the state of your residence. For instance, if you are a US citizen permanently residing in the state of Oregon, you will pay in-state (i.e. low) tuition if you decide to go to school in Oregon. Likewise, a citizen of a European Union country will be asked to pay lower fees when attending a university in the United Kingdom, unless he/she has lived outside of the EU for three years. In some countries, tuition is free to citizens. Make sure you know what benefits and savings you are eligible for.

2) Loans: Private and Government

Loans can come from private sources, e.g. money you borrow from a bank, or from the state, e.g. money you borrow from the government. For instance, in the United States, part of your financial aid package can consist of a loan that comes from a private source but is subsidized by the government, i.e. the government pays the interest while you are in school; you normally do not have to start repaying such a loan until six months after your graduation. To learn more about such opportunities, contact the Financial Aid Office.

There exists a myth of unavailability of private loans to international students. While it is true that such loans typically require a co-signer who permanently resides in the country where you will be studying, such loans are available (as long as you can find a co-signer with a good credit history). For information on international student loans, search the web and contact the International Office of the university.

3) Private and International Scholarships

Private scholarships are available from a number of sources. You may find scholarships offered specifically to people of your national origin, professional background, or teaching experience. The university itself might offer you a private scholarship based on certain criteria. There may be private organizations in your country interested in sponsoring your studies. Furthermore, you may be able to find an individual who will be interested in paying for your Masterís. Talk to your financial aid advisor.

There are many scholarships available only to international students. Some of them are partial, others may offer an ďall expenses paidĒ solution. Information about such scholarships is available from your university and a variety of sources (such as the Internet). For example, Anaheim University in California has offered a tuition relief package in past (50% off tuition) and is still offering a full application fee waiver:

4) Graduate Assistantships / Postgraduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships, including research and ESL teaching assistantships, are available directly from the university you are applying to. You will be required to work for the university, usually part-time. For instance, you may be asked to teach English as a Second or Foreign Language. A typical full graduate assistantship will pay the MA TESOL tuition and provide you with a stipend that you can use to pay the fees and even cover living expenses. For more information on graduate assistantships awarded by your university, contact the department and the Graduate School you are applying to.

5) Merit-Based Scholarships and Fellowships

Merit-based scholarships and fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis by the Graduate School of the university. It is best to ask about such funding options before you apply, as quite often you will be asked to submit an application together with the general application for admission.

6) A Job

You can find a part-time job off campus, such as teaching ESL at a private English language school, and use the money to pay some of your tuition or fees. For instance, in Australia, students can work up to twenty hours per week. In fact, you can find a full-time job (such as teaching at a local school) and use the salary to pay for your studies. Please remember that international students MUST have an employment authorization document from the government to be legally employed; they also have to have the money to pay for education before they can be admitted to the country where they will be studying.

7) Academic Exchanges

Academic exchanges let you attend a school overseas while you are still enrolled at the school where you are currently studying. For example, you can study in Australia for a year while you are still enrolled at your university in China, come back to China, and have the credits transferred from Australia to your TEFL/TESL program in China. In order for you to do that, there has to be a formal agreement between the two universities. If available, be sure to read the memorandum of understanding signed by both schools. To find out more, contact the International Office at your university.

8) Your Employer

The school or university where you are currently teaching English may be interested in paying for your Masterís degree. This type of funding can be typically provided in exchange for a multi-year commitment to this particular school. For instance, your employer may pay for your one-year Australian MA TESOL if you promise to come back and teach at his/her school in Asia for three years.

9) The Military

Funding for your studies can come from the military. For instance, in the United States, members of the National Guard can get up to 100% of tuition paid by the government. This type of system may or may not apply in your country. Check with the local military recruitment center.

10) Other Sources

Funding can be available from other sources, such as family members, credit cards, selling your property, and so on.

11) Distance Learning Mode

This is a great way for you to save on living expenses. For instance, you can live in Latin America and attend a British university via the Internet, in a distance learning mode; you will surely save thousands of dollars a year on living expenses alone. In fact, there are some programs that will not require you to come to the United Kingdom or the United States at all, saving you even more money. Such programs are offered around the world.


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