Graduate school doesn’t have to cost a fortune

Graduate schools can be expensive because of tuition fees and all the expenses involved. However, it does not need to cost you an arm and a leg if you prepare for it in the right way. Lack of money often makes students to take out loans which are then an added burden on them. Loans need to be repaid at a specific time period with a certain amount of interest. All of this can get overwhelming, and students end up spending a lot more on graduate school then intended.  With the help of some tips, you can manage your funds, and you will not have to borrow too much money either. There are some options available to students with which they can hope to afford their tuition. Such options include scholarships, grants, and loans, etc. With these, you do not have to spend from your own pocket as they take care of all the expenses and fees. But if you want it to work, you will need to research what is the best option for you, how much money you will need, and what your financial condition is. With a little bit of research, you can successfully take advantage of these options. Here are five major ways for you through which you can hope to study through grad school without spending a ton of money.

  1. Grants

If you are looking for alternatives to reduce the cost of your graduate school, grants are an incredible way to do that. Unlike most of the merit-based scholarships, grants can be awarded according to the demonstrated financial need. Some of the grants are restricted to a specific field, and some can only be applied for by a specific gender, people of a certain heritage, or with some personal or political affiliation. Grants can also be related to an institution just like scholarships. Schools and colleges offer this grant money to their students. If you apply early, you can have a better chance of getting it, so it is better not to wait.

  1. Scholarships

Probably the best and a very common solution to get through college without spending from your own pockets is applying for a scholarship. A scholarship is the best way because you do not have to pay it back and you can just focus on your studies. People have formed this opinion that not everyone can qualify for a scholarship when the truth is that everyone can qualify for some or another. Graduate and professional school students both can take advantage of good scholarships. When you decide on a school, all you need to do is follow-up with the financial aid office and see what scholarships are available by the school. Do not wait for the acceptance; the sooner you get in touch with them, the better it will be for you.

  1. Fellowships

If you can, you can use the fellowship to pay for your graduate school. Some fellowships can be used at different universities and colleges while others are only issued by a certain university to be used at that institution. There are different kinds of fellowships that have a different amount of award and several qualifications. Most of the graduate students might not be awarded fellowships, but still, you should give them a try because they can cover a large portion of your tuition and fees. Some for the fellowships can offer you a stipend as well. So, it is always worth a try.

  1. Assistantships

This is very common among student nowadays. Graduate students become assistants to professors in their faculty members. The advantage is that not only they get to learn a lot side by side, they also serve as an employment opportunity for students. Such graduate assistantships are available at several universities and colleges. They provide you with practical experience and financial support. Schools also can have these opportunities in the form of Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant, Research Assistant, or Graduate Research Assistant. The number of these assistantships can be limited, but if you are a graduate student, you should at least try. If you get these positions, they can cover some of your tuition fees and can also provide a stipend. You will have a chance of advancing your career and establish some working relations in your field.

  1. Federal Student Loans

Federal Direct Loan is something that you can apply for after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Graduate and professional students are taken as independent students so you can easily complete the FAFSA without many complications, within an hour. You can apply for two types of Direct Loans; Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct Federal Grad PLUS Loans. In Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Students that are eligible can borrow up to a certain amount of money per year and students who are in a certain health profession programs, such as medical school, can receive an amount each year. If you file the FAFSA early and arrange an appointment with your financial aid advisor of the university, you can benefit from it greatly. If you have tried the unsubsidized loan and still you need money, you can consider applying for a Direct Federal Grad PLUS Loan. Although, unlike unsubsidized loans, this type of loan will need a credit check.

  1. Private Loans

You can get any kind of financial aid, scholarship, grants, and funding, but you will still find that in some places, you will need to struggle. For that, private loans are an option you can go for. Private student loans are great if you want to meet any demonstrated financial need. They are available from various lenders including credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions.

All these options are quite convenient for the students, given that they know what they want. One trick is not to get stuck in some loans that you cannot pay back. Always try to apply for scholarships or grants first, so there are no strings attached.

About the author:

Content courtesy of Taylor Hill. Hill works for financial technology company Stilt located in San Francisco which is revolutionizing the way individuals with limited or zero credit history get loans in the U.S.

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Molly Hare

Molly Hare // Ex Magazine Editor // PR and Journalism student at Leeds Beckett // Book worm, cocktail connoisseur, gherkin fanatic //

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