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SPA Donor Funded Graduate Scholarships

Following is a summary of the donor-funded scholarship awards for graduate students (residential, master's level only) at the School of Public Affairs. Admitted students' application files are the basis for award decisions and all entering students are automatically considered for the scholarships; no applications are needed, unless otherwise noted below. All scholarship award decisions are made by the Dean's Office at the School of Public Affairs, in conjunction with the Office of Financial Aid. Donor-funded graduate scholarships are awarded to incoming graduate students only.

Students in the online MPAP and MSCTHS degrees are eligible for merit aid through the Dean's Award.

Students may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid directly for questions regarding their financial aid package.

The Alice Lee and Lau King Quan Award is given to a student in the School of Public Affairs who is studying health policy.

The Allotta Family Scholarship Fund seeks to provide financial assistance to graduate students in the School of Public Affairs. Recipients will be selected upon merit and their commitment to pursuing a career in worker rights, the labor movement, or other closely related fields. Preference will be given to students currently working or volunteering in programs, activities, or organizations that advance workers’ rights.

Scholarship recipients for the Anita F. Alpern Scholarship Fund will be selected based upon merit and commitment to public service. Full or part-time students pursuing an MPA or MPP are eligible. The late Anita F. Alpern joined the faculty of the School of Public Affairs in the late 1970s and served for twenty years as a Distinguished Adjunct in Residence. She taught courses on public administration and administrative ethics in the graduate MPA and Key Executive programs.

Established by Dr. Bernard Rosen. Awarded to MPA students, based on academic and leadership experiences, as well as their interest in applying knowledge and insights developed in the MPA program to a career in government service. Eligible applicants are newly entering the MPA program and have maintained a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA.

Established by the School of Public Affairs in recognition of Dr. Bernard H. Ross' 38 years of scholarly service. This scholarship recognizes the impact that Dr. Ross' teaching, research, and publication have had on the field of public administration and public policy and on graduate education at American University.

Awarded, annually, to a student pursuing a master's in public administration or a master's in public policy. The recipient will show strong academic achievement at the undergraduate level, a record of community service, and maintain a 3.2 grade point average to renew scholarship.

This award will partially support selected students’ costs for participating in the Center of Congressional and Presidential Studies programs or institutes. The awardee will be selected based on merit and financial need.

The Daniel Greeley Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a deserving student in the School of Public Affairs

Qualifications: Student pursuing a Masters in Public Administration, admitted to the Key Executive Program, and not receiving financial support from their employer.

This scholarship supports the cost of attendance for students pursuing a Masters in Public Administration in the Key Executive Program.

Qualifications: Full-time graduate students in the School of Public Affairs who are in good academic standing and are eligible for financial assistance. 

The Dorothy Walker Stapleton Scholarship Fund provides scholarship support to a deserving graduate student in the School of Public Affairs. This fund seeks to support students aspiring for careers in the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Foreign Service, or other closely related fields.

Qualifications: Graduate student with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who has completed at least 12 credit hours per year.

The purpose of the Harry C. Biser Scholarship Fund is to provide financial support to deserving students enrolled in a degree program in the School of Public Affairs.

The John D. Young Memorial Scholarship was established by the family of John D. Young after his death. John D. Young was described as a man who dedicated himself to outstanding public service with a 36 year career in government and over a decade of service to the department of Public Administration in SPA. Candidates for this award must be first year, full-time students who have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or better. They must also provide evidence of leadership ability and a sincere commitment to a career in public service.

The Margery Kraus Public Affairs and Advocacy Scholarship was established in 2008 to provide scholarship support to American University students who participate in the School of Public Affairs Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Students may enroll in courses offered through the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institutes in Washington and/or in Brussels, Belgium for the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.

Established through a bequest from Isabella Ager Clarke to honor her late husband, Paul Howard Clarke, and son, Paul Ager Clarke. Awarded to graduate students who demonstrate academic merit in SPA. Each member of the Clarke family was a native of Washington, DC. The Clarkes have been involved in public arenas for many years, so it was a natural choice for Isabella to decide that a family scholarship to benefit students studying in the School of Public Affairs was a suitable memorial. Students must demonstrate an interest in public service.

Established by Susan Dweck (BA/CAS '65, MSHR/SPA '88), The Susan Dweck Scholarship is awarded, annually, to a graduate student enrolled in the master of public administration program in the School of Public Affairs.

Qualifications: Must be enrolled in the Masters in Data Science graduate degree program and maintain a GPA of 3.5 or better.

The William K. Reilly Scholarship is named for the pioneering environmentalist and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The scholarship is awarded by the Center for Environmental Policy. To learn about the William K. Reilly Fund, and how to apply, please visit:

Other programs

To learn about scholarship opportunities in the Key Executive MPA program, please visit:

Students may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid directly for questions regarding their financial aid package.

For general questions about the donor-funded scholarships, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at the School of Public Affairs at