A piggy bank and school books

How to Fund Your EdD Dissertation Research

By The Room 241 Team February 7, 2019

Dissertation research, like most things, comes at a cost. While it can be difficult to manage these costs and the time it takes to complete the graduate research process, there are resources available to help. We’ve gathered some funding sources — outside of loans — and compiled some helpful tips for doctoral candidates looking to fund their EdD dissertation research.

Funding Fact: According to GoGrad, graduate students are leaving a lot of money on the table. With over a billion dollars available in grant funding, most graduate students are relying on loans to finance their education. “In 2015-16, loans constituted 64% of the funds used by graduate students to supplement their own resources; grants constituted 33%,” according to the College Board.


Scholarships are the holy grail of funding — as in, they don’t have to be paid back — but that’s also what makes them super competitive. There are literally millions of scholarships available based on factors like financial need, merit, where you live, your work, and your personal experience.

Tip: Apply to as many scholarships as possible and apply early. Typically, scholarship grantors give until their money runs out, so applying early when funding is full can help.

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Similar to scholarships, grants don’t have to be paid back (unless, of course, conditions for the grant are not met). They are typically offered by merit, financial need, or your project’s fit into the scope of the organization’s mission. The criteria can be quite specific. While the government offers education-funding grants, there is no shortage of company-based, organization-based, and local grant-makers. Applying for grants is a bit of a learned skill, and the Internet is full of amazing grant-writing tools. We recommend starting here.

Tip: Start in your local area and work outward. Connect with local organizations, companies, foundations, and schools that offer grants. You might be more successful in appealing to smaller and more localized organizations than appealing to larger grant-giving entities that receive a large number of queries. Start local and expand your scope.

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Funding Fact: “Undergraduate and graduate students received a total of $240.9 billion in grants from all sources, FWS (Federal Work Study), federal loans, and federal tax credits and deductions,” according to the College Board.


Fellowships can be extremely competitive — that’s part of what makes them so prestigious. What are they? Fellowships are short-term opportunities (think six months to a year) to be paid for your work and/or research. The application process can be similar to applying for graduate school, and funding can come in the form of stipends, salaries, benefits, housing, or grants. Who’s behind fellowship money? It could be anyone from government entities, universities, companies, or organizations.

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Need to fund your dissertation work? Why not try your hand at crowdfunding? You just might be able to raise enough to cover your project or research costs.

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