Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL)

REAL is a work-study program funded by Rollins that offers eligible, full-time MPH and MSPH students valuable opportunities to earn while they learn through applied public health experiences in real-world settings.

Opportunities include federal, state, county, and other government agencies, as well as Emory-affiliated programs, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations throughout Atlanta.

This program helps more than 500 Rollins students find meaningful public health work opportunities each year. These integral experiences often fulfill practicum requirements, lead to thesis opportunities, and provide an enriching experience for both employers and students. In other words, it's a win-win!

The REAL Award is typically $2,500 per semester or $5,000 per academic year. These awards are for fall and spring only. Funds are paid directly to students on a bi-weekly basis, depending on the number of hours worked.

Bryan Meltz, Emory Photo

Rollins students Zoe Zeiders Wakoff and Courtney Ramus working at the Call Center at Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Organization for their REAL experiences.

Applying for REAL

To qualify for REAL, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before December 31 (preferred deadline) to strengthen your chances for being awarded. Awards are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better.

Students will be notified of their award status when their financial aid is packaged in mid/late spring-should a student receive REAL, then the award will show up under their financial aid in OPUS.

Eligibility is based on:  

* Availability of funds

* Date the FAFSA form was submitted

* Student qualifications

* Date of admission

* U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident status

* Full-time enrollment as a degree-seeking student

* Satisfactory progress as defined by Rollins

Students who would like be considered for the REAL award in their second year at Rollins will need to submit the FAFSA again starting in January of their first year at Rollins. 

Please Note: Many students have chosen to use their REAL position to fulfill part or all of their practicum requirements. Students will need to check in with their associate/assistant director of academic programs (ADAP) to discuss practicum requirements.

International Students

International students (with F-1 visas) are eligible for REAL beginning the second semester of their first year of the MPH/MSPH program. F-1 international students are sent an application to apply for a REAL award after enrolling in their first semester here at Rollins (after August).

Students who don't receive the award on their first try can apply again during the spring semester of their first year. If the student receives REAL, it will be for their second year at Rollins.

Updates on how to apply for REAL as an international student will be posted in late August.


For questions regarding REAL, program organization and logistics, posting a position, and invoicing, please contact Natasha Simpson, REAL Program Manager, at