Graduate and Professional School Funding Resources
Graduate school can be expensive, but there is a variety of ways to offset the cost. Depending on the graduate degree you pursue, the amount of resources available will vary. Check with the financial aid office and the individual department at your graduate school to identify funding opportunities. Some of the most common options include:
- Fellowships and grants: often offered by private or governmental organizations, fellowships and grants involve a research study and can significantly offset the costs of graduate degrees.
- Scholarships: there are a limited number of scholarship opportunities available for graduate students, often specific to topic or field.
- Employee reimbursement programs: employers will sometimes pay a portion of your tuition or course work in a field of study related to your job. This is a very common benefit at a college or university.
- Graduate assistantships: part time employment at the university paid in the form of a stipend.
- Federal and state aid: filling out a FAFSA will help you assess eligibility for loans such as Stafford loans and Grad Plus.
- Private loans: private loans are offered at a variety of interest rates and repayment plans; however, you may have to begin repaying these loans while you are still in school.
It is essential that you evaluate which funding options are best for you prior to making a decision about attending graduate school. To arrive at a general number of overall expenses, add up your tuition, transportation, food, course materials, rent, health insurance, and any other recurring payments. Then subtract the money you’ll receive from grants, fellowships, work study, or other alternative sources of funding. Finally, take this number and compare it to your potential future earnings. This will help you assess your overall anticipated debt and how long it will take to pay it off in full.