Many people seek graduate degrees due to excellent career prospects they bring in terms of salary hikes, promotions and other fringe benefits. However obtaining a graduate degree involves paying a significant amount of money. It is estimated that a full time graduate student may annually incur $25,000 for tuition and living expenses on average and this figure could be twice or thrice the average if you wish to select a high profile university such as Harvard Business School or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Now don’t get upset by the daunting numbers. They say “if there is a will, there is a way”. The rest of the article discusses some of the recommended approaches you may seek to fund your educational dreams.
Get your employer’s assistance
Many of us start working after graduation. So if you wish to obtain a graduate degree, the best option is to join a company which pays at least part of the cost of your degree. For instance AT&T offer grants up to $7000 annually for graduate degree candidates of the organization provided the course of study is applicable to AT&T’s business model. Further the candidates must take up the course part time and maintain a minimum grade of “C” for every module. However the best part is that the offer is applicable for even part time employees and unlike many other schemes, it’s not mandatory that the candidate work a stipulated number of years for the organization upon graduation.
However obtaining a graduate degree whilst working will be tiresome and it may lead you to put both your academic and professional career at stake.
Get help from your school
Seek opportunities for teacher assistantships in the university you selected, so that you will be eligible for fee exemptions. As a teacher assistant you may have to demonstrate practical, invigilate undergraduate exams and mark the assignments and tests. So be ready to tackle anything.
On the other hand there are research assistantships which offer you the opportunity to work with professors to assist them on their research.
University lecturers also have access to people networks in the industry. So they can assist you to find internships and employment opportunities which can offer you flexibility to facilitate the educational objectives and requirements.
However it is a known fact that such opportunities are more popular in Science and Engineering rather than in Arts or Business Studies.
Scholarship and Fellowships
There are numerous institutions which offer scholarships and fellowships for graduate students annually. Some of the popular scholarship schemes include National Research Council’s Fellowships, Fulbright Scholarships, Mellon Fellowships and many more. For instance each year National Research Council grants 750 scholarships up to $14000 each for students in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Social Sciences disciplines.
Finally if you do not get assistance from any of the above methods, you may consider a loan as a last resort. Federal aid as well as private loan options could be arranged based on your financial wealth, funding requirement and so on. For instance to receive certain types of federal loan, you must demonstrate that you are in financial need.
Federal aid is considered the cheaper source out of the two options. However it is virtually impossible to cover the entire cost of your graduate degree or doctorate from federal aid.
As a result you may exploit all the possibilities of getting federal aid and in case of a deficit which is the norm go for a loan. However please note that, to obtain favorable terms under a private loan, you should have a good credit history.