The School of Communication offers weekend graduate students need-based awards administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid.
The Gridiron Club & Foundation, founded in 1885, is the oldest and most prestigious organization in Washington, D.C. Its 65 active members represent major newspapers, news services, news magazines and broadcast networks. In 1958, the club launched the Gridiron Foundation, which makes charitable contributions and provides scholarships. In 2009 the Foundation established the Gridiron Scholarship at the American University School of Communication, in support of the weekend Interactive Journalism Program. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming student on the basis of outstanding professional achievement, academic potential and written recommendations (supplied as part of the application for the MA in Interactive Journalism. Selected by a committee of journalism faculty members, chaired and managed by Jill Olmsted, journalism division director.
Part-time weekend program students may apply for need-based assistance. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal need-based aid. To apply, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the processing center by March 1 or as soon thereafter as possible. You can get a copy of this form from AU's Financial Aid office or from most university financial aid offices. AU's Financial Aid office also maintains a comprehensive list of private loans and scholarships. If you do not have Internet access, you may electronically file your FAFSA in AU's Graduate Financial Aid office on the second floor of the Hamilton Building. Please call (202)-885-6100 to schedule an appointment and to find out what information you will need to bring with you.
You may also want to check the following Web sites for scholarship information.
A number of students receive sponsorship from their employers for expenses associated with their graduate weekend at SOC. Employer sponsorship, either in whole or in part, benefits both the student and sponsoring organization. The student will receive the foundations needed to further their career. The organization will gain from employees who enhance internal organizational capabilities.
Below are some points to emphasize when approaching an employer for sponsorship. SOC’s professional weekend graduate programs benefit employers by providing employees with:
practical education and training, which can be applied directly to the needs of the sponsoring organization;
hands-on experience in organizational change and development under the supervision of experienced professionals;
networking opportunity with individuals in similar positions at other organizations;
the opportunity to build on skills gained from the employing organization;
enhanced knowledge of relevant theory, strategy, and tools;
the tools to be a catalyst for positive change within the organization;
and, organizational support for career and educational objectives.
Requesting Financial Support
If your organization routinely funds education reimbursement, use whatever means are in place. If, however, your organization does not have a formal system in place, the following tips may be useful in approaching your employer.
Be strategic about asking. If you do not ask, they cannot say yes. On the other hand, consider the likely outcome of your request. Find out about your organization's recent history of providing such support. Research your organization's policies and procedures to determine how the organization handles requests for tuition payment or reimbursement, tuition remission, or payment for training.
Clearly articulate the organization's return on investment. What will they get out of this expenditure? Provide examples of projects or topics presented in class that may be directly beneficial to the employer.
Make your request look as professional as possible. Be professional and respectful. Whenever possible, use your organization's language and style for communicating, so as to increase the likelihood of being funded, e.g., formal or informal language, letter or memo, written or verbal.
Get the decision-maker’s commitment in writing. Having documentation outlining your education support arrangement will help protect you should your organization have a change in leadership or priorities.
Make sure you know the financial consequences of leaving your organization before you complete your weekend graduate program. If your organization has paid for any of the courses, will they demand repayment? What will happen to your tuition reimbursement request if you leave the organization in the middle of the course?