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Two Students Participating in Work Study

Business Students: Are You Overlooking These Financial Opportunities?

Posted July 09, 2018 by Zachary Johnson - Assistant Professor of Marketing, Academic Director of Graduate Programs - The Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University

Business students seem to know about scholarships that are granted upon acceptance into their program, but what they often don’t know is that scholarship, tuition, and other financial opportunities are available to qualified students currently enrolled in a program. Looking back at my own business education, I realize I may have missed out on thousands of dollars of opportunities during my studies. What I wish I knew then is that several types of financial assistance programs are available after admission, which fall into three categories: work-study, internships, and scholarships for enrolled students.

Work-Study Programs

Schools frequently offer financial aid to students who provide assistance on campus, to both graduate and undergraduate students alike. Probably the most common type of tuition assistance for graduate students is in the form of a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants, or GAs, typically provide research and teaching support to faculty members in exchange for tuition reimbursement. At Adelphi University, our GAs tend to receive about three credits of tuition remission for every 10 hours of work they complete. Many institutions also offer GAs a small stipend in addition to the tuition remission.

Similar roles for undergraduate students are less common but do exist at some business schools. For example, at Adelphi we have an innovative program offered through our Center for Career and Professional Development called Hire a Panther, which allows undergraduates to work with nonprofits, in various supportive roles at the university, or with professors in a research capacity. Beyond the obvious financial benefits, roles like these provide students with mentorship and future career opportunities. During my graduate studies, I gained an invaluable mentor in the professor I assisted as a GA, and as result, I now seek to provide mentorship and career advice to my current and former GAs and undergraduate assistants.


Internships can also be an excellent counterbalance to tuition fees. Increasingly, cities and states are requiring companies to pay students for their work, which is a step forward from the more traditional apprentice-type model. Paid internships not only help financially but also can give students a greater sense of belonging to a workplace.

Depending on the institution, business students can look for internship opportunities through resources like their professors’ connections, a business school internship coordinator, or their career center. And of course, some internships are built in to business programs as a requirement. While students might initially discount the financial benefits of internships, they shouldn’t.

In fact, when I spoke with our business school’s internship coordinator, Neil Halloran, he noted that this pay can really add up: “Since 2014, our interns were paid over 2.1 million USD across about 1,600 internships.” Halloran’s office places roughly 80 percent of our undergraduate business students into internships, all of which, he said, are paid.

Some schools also provide opportunities for students who want to give back. For instance, our career center has a program that offers students paid summer internships when they contribute to the local community through nonprofit work. Although at Adelphi our internal internship office and the career center are the primary sources of internships, students at all business schools can alternatively seek out alumni connections or look at job postings on the websites of target companies.

Scholarships for Enrolled Students

Perhaps ironically, students often stop seeking scholarships once they are admitted to their programs, even though some of the opportunities for current students are both less competitive and more generous than opportunities available to incoming students. Alumni often provide schools with scholarships for enrolled students within a specific discipline (e.g., accounting or marketing). Additionally, student leaders might find scholarships through their undergraduate or graduate student associations. Employer partners, fraternities and sororities, and nonprofit organizations frequently seek out exceptional student leaders. Sometimes, these scholarships go unfilled; I recently spoke to a nonprofit board leader who told me that during one year no one applied to receive their leadership scholarship, so they didn’t award it.

Overall, though there is never a guarantee of a scholarship, students should know about the many options available to them. Sometimes they just need to look in unexpected places.

Zachary JohnsonZachary Johnson is an assistant professor of marketing and the academic director of graduate programs at the Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University.