Paying for Grad School

There are three major sources of funding for a graduate school education: individual, federal, and school. When deciding how you're going to fund your graduate school education, consider this advice on the forms of funding from GradSchoolTips:

If at all possible, it's best to pay for as much of your graduate school as possible without resorting to borrowing. Many grad students find that, with their considerable knowledge of a subject matter, they're able to make money tutoring school kids or even college undergraduates. In addition, many graduate schools or their associated universities will have work study programs, which are partially funded by the federal government.

The second main source of money for grad school is the federal government, through their student loan program. The main loan program is called the Federal Stafford Loan. Stafford loans are not based on financial need, and credit approval is not required. There are two kinds of Stafford loans, whether direct or FFELP-subsidized and unsubsidized. In addition, the government has other loans geared toward students pursuing certain programs, such as medicine.

The third major source of financial aid for grad school is the school itself. You should find a lot of information about how much aid is available in your department by consulting the university website or other materials. University based financial aid takes many forms. Probably the most desirable form of grad school aid is the fellowship. This is a cash award that doesn't need to be repaid or worked for. Another form of university based financial aid for graduate school is the assistantship. The two most common are teaching assistants and research assistants.

If you're still unsure about how you'll pay for your graduate degree, perhaps the best idea is simply to take out a loan for your first semester. If you find during that semester that you would have had extra time to work a part-time job, then you may want to consider that option before the start of your second semester.

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