Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL)

Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL) is a signature program funded by Rollins that offers full-time MPH/MSPH students valuable opportunities to earn while they learn through applied public health experiences in real-world settings. Beyond the direct work experience, it is an opportunity for students to be mentored by public health professionals.

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 APE requirements, lead to thesis opportunities, and provide an enriching experience for both partners and students. In other words, it's a win-win!

The REAL Award is typically up to $2,500 per semester or up to $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 their chances of being awarded. REAL is part of their aid package. 

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

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

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


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