Scholarships and financial aid

SPA Scholarships

The School of Public Affairs has a pool of privately donated money for scholarships. New students, continuing students, and international students are eligible to apply. This web page (below) describes the scholarships and donors. When you complete the scholarship application, you are applying for ALL these scholarships. Please Note: If you will be a new student, you must be admitted to a degree program to apply.

APPLY BY COMPLETING THIS APPLICATION. Please note: that the application opens on October 1, 2023.  The deadline to apply will be March 1, 2024. Recipients will be selected and notified by April 1, 2024.

Scholarship awards are based on a number of criteria depending on the scholarship type and funding source. These can include academic program, academic merit, and/or financial need. 

Available SPA scholarships: 

Barrett Endowed Scholarship
This fund was established in 1997 with a gift from Barbara Barrett, an alum of the School of Public Affairs. Income provides financial support to a MPA or MPP student in the School. Merit is the primary consideration for award, financial need is a secondary consideration.

Brent Whiting Brown Scholarship
This fund was established in memory of the late Professor Emeritus Brent Brown. Income supports an annual scholarship to a full-time undergraduate (junior/senior-level only) or graduate student in the School of Public Affairs with a demonstrated commitment to the field of public administration and management and a promise for a career in public service. Minimum GPA of 3.25 is required.

N. Joseph Cayer Public Affairs Scholarship
This fund was established in 1994 by gifts from staff and faculty of the School of Public Affairs along with alumni and friends. Income supports an annual scholarship to a deserving MPA or PhD student. Minimum GPA of 3.5 is required.

James A. Hogan MPA Scholarship - Read more.

Pat Manion Scholarship 
This fund was established in 1997 with gifts from friends and family in memory of Pat Manion. Income will provide financial support to a full-time MPA student interested in municipal government.

Kenneth A. McDonald Scholarship
This fund was established in 1983 with a gift from Kenneth A. McDonald. Income provides financial support to a full-time student with an interest in city management enrolled in the MPA program.

Pfister Family Scholarship
This fund was established in 1997 with a gift from Jack and Pat Pfister. Income will provide financial support to a MPA student in the School of Public Affairs.

Financial aid

ASU has many financial aid options. Financial aid support is available in the form of scholarships, grants, federal work-study, loans and outside resources. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, 76 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year. 

The best place to start in your search for funding is to apply for Financial Aid via the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Students who are U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the U.S. government.  International students are encourage to check for similar opportunities within their home country.

Please visit the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions for more information about financial aid for our students.

Other types of aid

In addition to the above mentioned scholarships, there are other types of scholarships that are available to graduate students from sources outside the School of Public Affairs.  For a list of some of these types of scholarships, visit

The Office of National Scholarship Advising (ONSA) helps students from ASU prepare to compete for national and international awards of merit. While its goal is to aid students in securing through these awards the means to advance their undergraduate or graduate studies, its educational mission is more broad: to use these awards and their application processes as means to help students enrich their educational experience and so realize their fullest potential and highest aspirations.

For a listing of fellowships and scholarships available through ONSA, visit: Homepage | The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement (

The Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA) awards two annual scholarships to graduate students in Arizona who aspire to a career in local government management.

 The Arizona Government Finance Offices Association (GFOAz) offers an anual scholarship and summer internship for students interested in a career in local givernment finance. Read more.


What about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a new program for federal student loan borrowers who work in certain kinds of jobs. It will forgive remaining debt after 10 years of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments. Only non-defaulted loans made under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program are eligible for loan forgiveness. The borrower must have made 120 payments as part of the Direct Loan program in order to obtain this benefit. Only payments made on or after October 1, 2007 count toward the required 120 monthly payments. 

Who can get Public Service Loan Forgiveness? This program is for people with federal student loans who work in a wide range of "public service" jobs, including jobs in government and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. In most cases, eligibility is based on whether you work for an eligible employer. Your job is eligible if you:

  • are employed by any nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization;
  • are employed by the federal government, a state government, local government, or tribal government (this includes the military and public schools and colleges); or
  • serve in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position.           

For more information:

Scholarships & Financial Aid