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A Bit About Financial Awards …

Finances, Finances, Finances

Finances, Finances, Finances

These two weeks are incredibly busy at the Maxwell School’s Department of Public Administration and International Affairs (and a snow day on March 14th did not help!!).  We have gotten many of our email notifications of merit based awards sent out this week, and expect the remainder to be sent no later than Friday, March 24.

We know that thinking about and preparing to finance graduate study creates a whole lot of anxiety. We appreciate that and try very hard to prepare our prospective students and applicants for these very real concerns. Our program costs are outlined on our website.  There we also explain the various types of aid – merit based awards and need based loans – and provide a summary of our process.

Regrettably, a good number of notices will be sent out stating that we are unable to assist with an award. It is not that we do not want to be able to provide some level of merit based funding to ALL our admitted students, but it is simply not our reality.  We actually do quite well in funding our students. And, our comparative costs also confirm that the Maxwell School is not only an attractive option for the quality of school but also from the lens of affordability.

Even our Dual Degree programs continue to be affordable when compared to many top schools. And at Maxwell you are earning TWO degrees over two years of study – not just one! It is simply not a fair comparison to compare the costs and financial aid provided for admission to one of our dual degree programs to a two year one degree program at another school.

At this point in the process we are stretching a budget meant to support an entering student class of less than 200 students to meet the merit based worthiness of many more admitted students! We know that by September our students will be pretty well served with merit based funding.  We over-award our funding to reach deep into our pool of very talented admitted students. Once out process is exhausted (next week) we will not be making any more awards. We do not utilize a waitlist approach – preferring instead to get as much funding out the door as we can and hope that the budget makes it through! Opportunities for funding after arrival almost always exist, but I always caution that these are never guaranteed and students accepting our offer of admission must be prepared – and comfortable – for the costs of the program as they stand now with their current level of funding.

Our International students face extra hurdles in that in order to be officially admitted to Syracuse University, they need to show proof of finances for their first year of study – in US dollars.  They also are not eligible for US Federal Loans.  We understand and appreciate that fact, and strive for an internationally diverse class each year, but cannot let this be our only guiding principle in awarding merit based assistance.  We work very hard to provide ALL of our strongest students the best awards we are able – those from the US and those from all over the world.  We are pleased at the rich international diversity of our students each year!

I get many emails this time of year looking for any help I can provide to find outside sources of funding and any other ideas of how to make attending Maxwell an affordable reality.  Trust me when I say that if I had useful information – I would have already shared it!  If there are outside pockets of money – they are on the department website.  There just are not that many way to secure outside funding for graduate study in our fields, especially this late in the game! Syracuse University is also not a lending institution – so we cannot provide loans to our students directly to help off-set the costs of education.  Federal loans, Grad Plus loans, and personal resources (especially for our international students) continue to be the reality.

The good news is that despite the ever rising costs of higher education in the United States, we keep attracting the most talented and public service oriented students each year.    Only you can determine if you are prepared for these graduate education expenses. This is a very personal decision.

I can say that if you do decide to join us for your studies, we will provide you a wonderfully rich, diverse and intellectually stimulating environment, where you will be challenged and grow in skills and knowledge both professionally and personally. You will also find this to be an incredibly supportive environment as you grow through these challenges.  Our graduates are also getting really wonderful professional positions (MPA / MA IR) upon graduation!  Our world-wide alumni network is second to none in their loyalty to the school and are there to assist you.

We do sincerely hope that you will join us for your studies!

Here are some further links to consider:

SU Office of Financial Aid – International Students

SU Financial Aid – Loans

Cynthia Roach – SU’s Graduate Financial Aid Coordinator


Loans for International Students – EduPASS

Proof of Finances – International Students

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April 2024
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