Knowing how to pay for grad school is a major concern for most students who want to get an advanced degree. While earning a graduate degree is one of the best ways to increase your earning potential as evidenced by: high paying jobs that require a master’s degree with a salary of over $100,000, a graduate study program can be quite expensive.
The financial hurdles associated with earning a graduate degree are causing some students to turn to private loans, federal government loans, or graduate loans. However, there are several ways to pay for high school without loans. Read this guide and learn how to pay for college tuition and possibly get financial aid.
How Much Does Grad School Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of tuition for graduate programs was: $11,617 for a public university and $24,712 for a private institution between 2016 and 2017. However, the cost of graduate school steadily increases each year. PhD students will probably pay higher amounts.
Because of this high cost to graduate school, students often have to take out a federal student loan or take advantage of the loan facilities within credit unions to fund their graduate education. Either way, there are variable tuition fees depending on your graduate level, the type of institution, the cost of studying within different academic departments, and any additional tuition costs.
Can I Pay Grad School Without Loans?
Yes, you can pay for a graduate program without loans, using methods such as getting a public service scholarship or working while studying. With student loans becoming more difficult to manage, looking for other options to fund advanced degrees is more appropriate. Students who avoid student loans when they fund college can avoid monthly loan payments years later.
Top 5 Tips to Avoid Grad School Loans
- Postpone your studies. Unless you have savings set aside for your graduation expenses, it may be wise to postpone your admission to college. If possible, find a full-time job and save after completing your undergraduate education, then continue on to grad school.
- Work and study. Working and studying is stressful for a full-time student, but it is one of the ways to avoid student loans. Try to find jobs that are relevant to your career aspirations to stay out of college debt. Some top work-study jobssuch as student research assistant or assistant professor, graduate school students can pay $30,000 per year.
- Opt for cheap education. You can choose a online master’s degree rather than attend a personal graduate program. Getting a graduate degree online isn’t a bad idea and it will save you paying for dorms and other fees for a graduate internship. An online degree can also provide financial assistance to offset the costs of graduate school.
- Skip staying in a dorm room. Go to college from home to avoid paying for a dorm room at a private or public university. The average cost for a dorm room in most universities is: among $8,887 and $10,089 per year for public and private colleges, respectively. Taking online courses can help you avoid paying for dorms.
- Grants and Scholarships. If you can get a grant or grant, it can cover your tuition, living expenses, and even offer a modest stipend. Scholarships and grants are often given to students with excellent academic performance or on an as-needed basis. Graduate school applicants must conduct a graduate school scholarship inquiry to obtain financial aid before submitting their application.
How To Pay For Grad School: 7 Ways To Pay For Grad School
1. Scholarships, Grants and Fellowship Programs
Grants, grants, and fellowship programs remain one of the best ways to avoid graduate school loans. They offer graduate students financial aid, a wide range of benefits, and peace of mind. However, make sure that the scholarship or grant covers your tuition and other living expenses, such as dorm rooms.
If you are a U.S. Veteran or currently an active service member, you may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship. Alternatively, Sallie Mae’s free research on graduate scholarships can help you find other scholarships. Nonprofits and private organizations related to your future career field are other good places to look for scholarships.
2. Apply for Assistantships
You can apply for a graduate assistantship at your current university. Assistantships are paid jobs offered by some universities. Some assistantship positions include assisting a professor with paper grading, teaching, research, or administrative duties. Check your university’s careers page to find assistant positions.
3. Federal Work Study Program
The federal work-study program is available to graduate and undergraduate students in need of financial assistance. The program provides graduate and undergraduate students with employment in their field so that they can offset some of their education costs. To be eligible for this federal funding, the financial information of eligible students and their parents must be provided.
4. State Programs
Research state programs that offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs to graduate students. However, in exchange for compensation for your college expenses, the state providing assistance often requires you to meet a service obligation. Sometimes you will be asked to work for the state for a certain number of years after completing your graduate degree.
5. Reimbursement of employer’s tuition fees
If you already work somewhere, ask your employer about a tuition reimbursement program. If you don’t have a job, opt for positions with companies that offer repayment programs as an employee benefit. This way you can benefit from the tuition fee reimbursement and the tuition fee supplement if you are employed.
6. Choose a certificate program
Instead of studying for a postgraduate diploma, you could opt for certificate programs offered by community schools. For some industries, a certificate program qualifies you for a pay increase comparable to that of a master’s degree or other graduate program. The funding rate and training costs for certificate programs are much less expensive than full graduate programs while still allowing you to advance your career.
7. Income Share Agreement (ISA)
Another creative way to avoid financing graduate school with loans is to enter into an ISA. With an ISA, someone accepts to fund your graduate education and in return, you pay back a percentage of your income once you find a full-time job. Check if there are provisions in the agreement about the amount you have to pay and what happens if you end up in a low-paying job after you graduate.
Is Going to Grad School Worth It?
Yes, grad school is worth it if your career goals require you to have a master’s or doctorate degree, although the financial burden can be alarming. According to the Harvard Business Review, a graduate increases your salary potentialand certain grad school programs, such as a law degree or a doctor of medicine, are necessary to have a career.
Other benefits of a graduate degree include increased opportunities to occupy senior positions, easy career transitions, and access to networking opportunities. The return on investment for attending graduate school is high, but it can all fade if you take out private student loans that require huge monthly payments over a longer repayment term.
How To Pay For Grad School FAQ
How long does it take to pay back a grad school loan?
On average it takes between 10 and 30 years to repay a student loan. However, the time frame depends on the type of loan or loan term you choose. For example, federal loans can take between 10 and 25 years in monthly payments to repay. Loans taken out for a doctorate or professional school education may take longer to repay.
Is it worth getting a student loan to fund a graduate degree?
Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether it is worth financing your graduate degree with a student loan. Obtaining a loan to fund a college education should be based on an individual’s unique personal and financial situation. Technology graduate students can somewhat afford to get a federal student loan because their earnings are high after graduation.
What loan facilities are available for grad school students?
Some of the loan facilities available to graduate students are private loans, federal loans, and direct loans. Some of these loan facilities offer more than $20,000 to graduate students. However, federal loan options are the most sought after because their payment plans have low interest rates.
Is there an alternative to high school?
Yes, there are a few graduate school alternatives that can also help you grow in your chosen career path. For example, you can take individual online classes, obtain certifications from professional associations, or consider a career switch† Considering engineering careers would suit students inclined to digital technology.
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