This is a guest post by Anna Hicks.
Pursuing graduate school is a great idea if you want to advance your education and give yourself an edge in experience. However, someone has to pay for it, and you will have to be the one to find out how.
Grad school is important for many jobs, and your dream job may be just on the other side of it. You need to know exactly what you are getting into since grad school adds on to what may already be a large student loan debt. There are ways in which paying for grad school is possible, though. Here are some of the avenues you can go down to get the funding you need:
1) Work your way through. This doesn’t necessarily mean a job in fast food. There are internships and apprenticeships available at just about every grad school that can help you pay off tuition. You usually receive a stipend each month to help pay for everyday expenses and some of the tuition may be paid for as well. It’s likely that you will have to get one of these internships from the department that you are enrolled in. For example, sports management graduate students can get an internship at a recreation center on the school’s campus. There are many different positions available, you just have to speak with the department heads to find out which ones will be relevant for you.
2) Work Reimbursement. If you can’t secure a position with the school (or already have a solid job) you may be in luck. There is a myriad of companies that will help pay for school companies that will pay for school as long as the coursework is relevant to the job description. As an example, if you are working in an accounting firm, then it won’t be hard for you to have a tax class approved for reimbursement. There may be a minimum amount of time that you have been at your company before being eligible.
3) Scholarships. Yes, you will have to go through the scholarship process all over again, just like in senior year of high school. However, it will be much easier to obtain one going into grad school since they are given directly from the department and there are fewer students to pick from.
Always check to see which scholarships are available as soon as possible after considering grad school. It’s suggested that early entry into these pools will give you an advantage than a last second shot at one.
4) Choose the right lender. It’s probably not going to be possible to pay off grad school as it comes towards you, and you will need to have a lender pay for at least some of it. If you are going into grad school, you are likely familiar with the FAFSA student aid application.If you are deemed to be independent (and there are a lot of factors that go into that), then you could possibly be eligible for the Perkins loan. This can be given at any amount up to $8k every year. The interest rates on these loans is 5%. You can also get financial aid from organizations like the College Planning Network. This can help you determine if there are even better lenders available.
5) Federal Credits. As a graduate student, you may be eligible for a Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. It’s not going to be a check that you get right away, but it will be nice when tax season comes along as it takes away $2k from what you owe.You can use this credit for 20% of your costs at up to $10k which is where the $2k comes from (at a maximum). Married couple and single people are able to qualify for this as well depending on how much money they make.