How to Pay for Graduate School: Options Highlighted for Special Education Professionals

hero image

Tina Foster, left, of Trumann is pictured with assistant professor Renee Speight during a presentation Aug. 2, 2022, on the U of A Razorbug Diploma Tour through eastern Arkansas. The diploma tour celebrated graduates who earned U of A degrees online without leaving their hometowns, jobs and families.

August 17, 2023  |  by Chrystal Thomas, Recruiter for Online Programs

Are there grants for graduate students? Yes, and scholarship opportunities, too! Read on to find out how you can afford graduate school if you need financial assistance to reach your goal of obtaining a graduate degree.


How can I afford graduate school?

The University of Arkansas ONLINE offers in-state tuition for students in approved online degree programs. This is an affordable option to lessen the financial burden of obtaining a graduate degree. However, tuition costs overall have many questioning, is graduate school worth the cost? Ultimately, the answer depends on your unique circumstances and goals. If you decide to go to graduate school, you may be looking for ways to pay for it without student loans or debt.



You have a reason you want to earn a degree from the University of Arkansas. Maybe you want a new job, a new career or a promotion. Maybe you want to improve your life, support your family or be a role model. No matter what your reason, the University of Arkansas is committed to your success.

Explore tools and resources for online students.



Are you looking to advance in your career, earn more income and achieve your educational goals? Grants are a pathway to achieving success without complicated student loans and burdensome student debt. Here are some considerations regarding grants for graduate students.

  • Grants are awards from colleges, community organizations or federal entities.
  • Requirements and obligations govern the disbursement of the grant award.
  • Sometimes, special circumstances require the grant money to be returned.
Teaming for Transition logo

Teaming for Transition is a grant program that provides funding support to complete the Master of Education in Special Education graduate degree along with the Graduate Certificate in Special Education Transition Services. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

The grant's goal is to prepare graduate students in special education, vocational rehabilitation and social work to improve services for high school students with disabilities as they transition to adult life. Transition specialization students will be connected to a network of professionals engaged in transition across disciplines. Students residing and working in Arkansas will be connected to the Department of Education Transition Services Coordinator for their area.

Suzanne Kucharczyk

"We are thrilled to offer this interdisciplinary approach to graduate student preparation, which will teach scholars to work together in using evidence-based practices and development of programs that predict success for adults with disabilities."

Suzanne Kucharczyk, Associate Professor, Program Coordinator, Inclusive Educational and Clinical Programs, College of Education and Health Professions

The Teaming for Transition grant covers up to 36 credit hours of tuition (excluding fees), a portion of textbook costs and some travel expenses specific to the Teaming for Transition graduate certificate. The 15 credit hours for the Graduate Certificate in Special Education Transition Services can be applied toward the online Master of Special Education in Special Education degree program. This means you can obtain a master's degree and graduate certificate while saving time! The deadline to apply for the final cohort beginning summer 2024 is Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024.

Watch: Tina Foster, Teaming for Transition Scholar, Receives M.Ed. in Special Education on Razorbug Diploma Tour

Read: Razorbug Tour Stop at Trumann Shows Results of Federal Grant, Collaboration



Scholarships are another funding resource for graduate students that help cover tuition costs. The W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship aids students studying in online degree programs. This includes students at the graduate level, who often experience difficulties in securing scholarships for graduate school. The Manning Memorial scholarship annually awards up to $2,000 per recipient, with $1,000 disbursements in the spring and fall semesters.

Friends and co-workers of W.E. Manning established the scholarship fund with about $4,000 soon after Manning died in 1993. At the time of his death, Manning was studying in a U of A doctoral program and managing independent study programs, a forerunner of today's self-paced online courses.

  • Manning Scholarship recipients have grown from four in 2018 to 27 for the 2023-24 academic year
  • $121,000 in total scholarship funds awarded
  • 18 COEHP students have been Manning Scholars

Jennifer Sackett was one of the recipients of the Manning Memorial Scholarship award in 2020 and a 2022 graduate of the M.Ed. in Special Education program. Jennifer is a preschool teacher who remains committed to teaching special education students because "it provides a sense of worth, unspeakable joy and an opportunity to be a learner and a leader." The scholarship was helpful to Jennifer during a challenging time for many people and was much appreciated relief.

"I will also add that I was elated when I was notified of my scholarship award!" she said. "It was certainly a bright spot and welcomed good news in the midst of this pandemic."

Interested in obtaining a Master of Education in Special Education degree?
Explore the Student Success Stories from online students and graduates of the program.

Read: Thinking About Applying to the University of Arkansas ONLINE? Here's what to do next

Photo of Chrystal Thomas

Chrystal Thomas

Recruiter for Online Programs

Chrystal Thomas is a recruiter for online programs for the Global Campus at the University of Arkansas. An interest in the experiences of students has led to working in the higher education sector, where her hope is to help students find paths to achieve their goals. She can be reached at

Online Learner Blog Home


Online Degree Programs

University of Arkansas ONLINE programs are designed by academic departments on the Fayetteville campus to offer you another path to earning a degree from a top-tier public research university. Online programs give you the flexibility to balance family, work and school responsibilities. You do not have to put your life on hold while working toward a better one.

Program Page