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  • Writer's pictureIsabelle Johnsen

A New Era of Funding: Microgrants

If you are applying to a Ph.D. or Master’s program, it is very likely you are no stranger to the concept of grants, stipends, and general funding. However, we all know that getting this type of funding is not only competitive but also a TON of work to apply for. Usually, it feels like grant applications can be just as much work as the freaking grad school application itself! Research proposals, budget sheets, and recommendation letters make sense when you are looking for full funding for projects or tuition; but where do you turn when you just need a little extra cash for something school-related? What if you can’t afford your textbooks or bus tickets to and from campus? How are you going to write a 10-page grant paper about why you need help buying a textbook or paying to submit an application?





If you are in the process of researching your ideal graduate school programs, then it is likely that you have been all over that ‘application requirement’ page like bread on butter. When you saw the ‘application fee’ description, did your jaw drop to the floor? The fact is that most of these schools have unreasonable application fees that most grad students just can’t afford (generally, each application costs $100-125 just to submit, not including paying to send GRE scores, etc). Unfortunately, there are very few funding opportunities that cover these costs. However, a new type of ‘no questions asked’ funding has begun to help students with these types of expenses. Microgrants are small, “no-strings-attached” grants of up to $2,000 that can be given out for a variety of purposes (https://higherlearningadvocates.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Microgrants-Policy-Brief.pdf). I had first learned about microgrants when I donated to Black Trowel Collective Microgrants after my final NVZ sale, so I knew that these types of funds existed for archeology students. Yet, when I first began to google microgrants for archeology students, I was shocked at the lack of results that came up. Because I personally could not find a list of microgrants available as a whole, nor could I find one for archeologists specifically so I decided to make one for y’all! Check out the list below!




I wrote this blog to bring attention to some of the resources that my extensive internet searches have brought to my attention. If you are familiar with the NVZ initiative, then you know that my dream is eventually to create a grant/microgrant opportunity that would help students pay for these extremely high application fees along with other expenses that come along with applying to grad school. However, until then, I wanted to find resources for you guys (and myself) that can help us pay for graduate applications NOW! This is obviously not a complete list of microgrants available, but I hope that students can take this list inspiration to start investigating more opportunities and begin to think about alternative sources of funding for the expenses that Universities seem hesitant to acknowledge!


Microgrants for students:


  1. Black Trowel Collective Microgrants

    1. Https://www.Blacktrowelcollective.wordpress.com

    2. Provide microgrants from $5 to $300 to archeology graduate students and undergrad students who need it (no questions asked policy)

    3. A mutual aid initiative

    4. All grad students are welcome to apply, but they prioritize students of color and students without parental financial support or who lack access to other forms of financial aid by virtue of being undocumented, etc

    5. Email them with questions: black.trowel.microgrants@gmail.com

  2. The Sportula: Microgrants for Classics Students

    1. Https://www.thesportula.wordpress.com

    2. Provide microgrants from $5 to $300 (no questions asked) to classics/classics-adjacent undergrads and grads in the US who need it

    3. Students of color/without parental financial support prioritized

    4. Only for US citizens

  3. The Hayek Fund for Scholars

    1. https://www.theihs.org/funding-career-resources/hayekfund

    2. Through the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University

    3. The ideal candidate is eager to pursue or continue a career in academics and contribute to the classical liberal intellectual tradition through scholarship

    4. Pays for a variety of things, including the reimbursement of application feeds for Ph.D. programs

    5. Max: $5,000

    6. Application calls for:

      1. Completed online form

      2. CV or resume

      3. Proposed budget

      4. Essay of 300 words or less describing your proposed project and how it will advance your career

      5. An essay of 300 words explaining the proposed project/activity will advance the discussion or study of classical liberal ideas

      6. A brief statement on how your project aligns with the mission of IHS

      7. You can include additional documentation if you would like

    7. Takes 3-4 weeks to get back to you to let you know if you have received funding

  4. Dream Mentorship

    1. Https://www.dreammentorship.org/scholarship

    2. Pays for college textbooks

    3. Called the dream mentorship scholarship

    4. The Dream Mentorship Scholarship covers costs for GED testing, college textbooks, and their annual membership fees

    5. Application calls for:

      1. Completed form

    6. Application deadline:

      1. Spring semester: April 25, 2021

      2. Fall Semester: October 25, 2021

    7. You will know if you received the funding in May and November respectively

  5. R.I.S.E. Financial Progress Scholarship Program

    1. Only open to undergrads; so if you are a senior in college wanting to apply to masters/Ph.D., this could help

    2. Opening in November 2021

    3. Deadline: May 2nd, 2022

    4. Offering 5 scholarships of $3,000 each for college students who complete online financial courses and discuss how it will help them achieve their financial goals

    5. Must be a part or full-time undergrad with a GPA of at least 2.5

  6. Love Your Career Scholarship

    1. https://www.jonestshirts.com/pages/scholarship

    2. Limited to students attending school in the 50 U.S. States

    3. Due January 10th or Sept 10th

    4. Application calls for:

      1. Essay

        1. 1,000 words

        2. Write your full name, phone number, email address, and name of the school you will be attending

        3. What are your passions that could be turned into a career? What are some ideas that you have for a business based on these things you love?

      2. An Interview with a professional in the field (with at least 3 years of experience in the field)... interview to be incorporated into the essay



Other outlets you can investigate to try to get funding for Ph.D. apps:

  • Community-specific funds

  • University-specific microgrants

    • Only 33% of universities give completion microgrants (which are awarded to currently enrolled seniors who are about to finish their degrees but have financial difficulty enrolling in their last few classes)... however, your school might have other types of microgrants that could help with applications, etc




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