So you’ve decided that Grad School is right for you! Fantastic. What isn’t so fantastic? Obviously, the price. If you aren’t the kind of student whose parents can pay for grad school (or will pay for grad school), don’t worry – you’re far from alone.
Here are 4 strategies you might not have thought of when it comes to financing your next degree:
1.) Ask for help!
The simplest solution goes first. Honestly, very selective grad programs accepted you because they want you there. If whatever they’re offering you in terms of financial aid isn’t enough, sit down with a financial aid counselor and make that clear. If another school offered you more money, maybe you can mention that. An admitted student at Pennsylvania State University reneged on her plan to attend, and the next thing she knew, she was being offered half her tuition completely forgiven. Don’t think their first offer is their last offer – it often isn’t.
2.) Get a Scholarship
I know. Easier said than done. But there are TONS of scholarships out there for every field of study, and honestly, the earlier you get started, the better chance you’ll have of getting one. Do an online search for “<Insert Your Subject Here> Graduate Scholarships”. You’ll be surprised how many come up.
3.) Get a Job at the School!
Whether you’re a TA, an office employee, or doing research, a side hustle can offset the costs of school, or at least give you some tangible income during your 2-4 years of student-hood.
4.) Borrow Smart
Taking out loans might seem like a worst case scenario, but there’s a smart way to borrow money – and to pay it back. Tried and true Federal Loans like Stafford, PLUS and Perkins have just changed their interest rate policy as of August 2013, so make sure to do your research. It’s possible (depending on your situation) that a private loan from a bank could come at a lower interest rate.
Do you have an amazing “I survived paying for grad school” story you’d like to share? Tell us on Facebook! People gearing up to go could use the advice. Don’t worry guys – where there’s a will, there’s a way!