About Graduate Student Funding

What is APAGS doing about funding for graduate students?

Funding for graduate school is a serious issue for graduate psychology students, and one that concerns APAGS. The average doctoral student in health service professions (clinical/counseling/school) graduates with over $78,000 of debt, and research doctorates have an average of $40,000 (American Psychological Association, 2007).  Debt load can range as high $200,000 or more for a significant number of students.

APAGS awards 17 grants and scholarships for students to fund their research and training. This funding includes opportunities for master’s level students working on thesis research, various dissertation grants, basic psychological science research grants, as well as training on diversity issues (ethnic minorities, LGBT, disability issues).  In 2009, APAGS was able to award an additional 12 scholarships after extra monies were available at the end of the fiscal year. Learn more about APAGS funding.

APA has a number of mechanisms for funding students. All APAGS members who are first authors of a paper accepted at APA convention are eligible for free registration for APA convention. The Science Directorate offers numerous dissertation grants. APA funds minority students in neuroscience through a training grant from NIMH, NIDA and NINDS, as well as clinically oriented students through a minority fellowship funded through SAMHSA.  The new APA website should make it easier for students to locate sources of funding for their education. 

At the 2010 APA Convention, APAGS will have a special series on funding for graduate students that will focus on how to fund one’s research in graduate school. Guests from NIH, NSF, and other funding sources will present various opportunities for research funding available to graduate students and early career psychologists. Additional programs will focus on how to find and write successful grants, as well as opportunities of interest to ethnic minority graduate students. A session on funding opportunities for clinically oriented students will also be held, focusing on postdoctoral loan repayment opportunities.

APAGS continues to engage in advocacy for issues related to graduate student funding. The Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program is a direct result of advocacy efforts by APAGS ten years ago, in collaboration with APA and other groups. GPE funds professional training in psychology at the internship and postdoctoral levels. In 2009, APAGS and APA were successful in getting funding for the GPE increased by almost 50% for the 2010 fiscal year. 

Funding for graduate students will continue to be an important issue for APAGS.  APAGS will continue to advocate for increased funding for research in psychology, support for predoctoral and postdoctoral clinical training, and for educational support.