Category Archives: Graduate School

Cash, Dinero, Bucks, Mula!

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Excited about getting into grad school but not sure how to pay for it?  Receiving financial aid is not uncommon these days.  At least 40% of graduate students borrow money.  Here are six easy steps to getting free money for grad school…

1) Create a bidding war  for yourself by applying to several graduate schools, including at least a couple for which your grades, test scores, or other qualifications are above average. Schools are more likely to add a financial lure for applicants who bring up the school’s statistics, rankings, and prestige.

2) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

3) Ask your university department or grad school adviser for help in finding aid.

4) Track down and apply to charities and government agencies that fund graduate study in their fields. This is a great option for those in the sciences, education, and languages.

5) Get your employer to contribute to your education. This is a great option: At least half of all workers receive education benefits from their employers.

6) Even if you don’t get free money, you can lower your out-of-pocket costs by taking advantage of tax benfits, loan repayment programs,  jobs, or grad school bargains.

Being Wait-Listed is Bittersweet

As a soon-t0-be college graduate who has been applying to grad school since January, the wait is finally coming to an end.  Letters of the school’s decision are coming in.  Personally, I applied to two schools.  I was wait-listed at one and accepted into another.  Of course, I received the wait-listed letter a week before my acceptance into my other choice.  

So for a week I was wrought with worry and doubt.  What if I was wait-listed at my other choice?  What if I wasn’t accepted at all to my other choice?  My summer would be filled with anticipation while I wait to hear about my wait-list status.  

For those of you in that situation, I found an enlightening article about that bittersweetness of being wait-listed.  Hopefully, it will provide some insightful info about being wait-listed in today’s world.  

Check out the complete article by clicking here.  

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Don’t Be Scared of the GRE

u140546521Take it from someone who has taken the GRE twice.  It’s not that bad! 

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is required for all students applying for graduate school.  Just think of it as the “SAT” for grad school. 

The test is offered year-round at various testing centers that can easily be found at the GRE website.  It’s a computer-based test that takes approximately three hours and involes two writing sections, one verbal section, and one quantitative section. 

And you don’t have to sweat for months waiting for your scores!  Verbal and quantitative scores are given at the end of the exam before you leave.  Writing scores are sent to you within 10 to 15 days.  Just make sure you take the test early enough so you can report your scores in your graduate school applications. 

For more information about the GRE or to register, click here!

More Grad Applicants For Some U.S. Schools

So I was pursuing U.S. News and World Report today to see what’s going on in the world as I take a break between classes and I found an interesting little tidbit of information about the number of students applying to certain graduate schools.  usnewslogo-1

According to the stats, there is a significant increase in the percent of graduate applications at some very reputable schools across the U.S.  This spike in the interest to go to grad school (and not just any grad school but very prestigious schools) gives me a little boost of extra encouragement towards my decision to attend grad school right out of college.  Even though I won’t  be attending such notable schools as Duke or Dartmouth, I will still be able to compete with those who do with my masters’ degree once I am finished with grad school and enter the working world.  I hope this article will give a boost of confidence to anyone else who has decided to enter grad school right after college!

Check out the stats!

Beyond FAFSA

Still feeling overwhelmed about finding the financial aid you need for graduate school?

After reading Ashley’s informative post about filling out your FAFSA for federal loans, I wanted to explore the other financial aid options out there beyond the general Stafford federal loan.

After filing your FAFSA, hopefully you will be eligible for Stafford loans from the federal government. For this to occur, the FAFSA needs to show that you are expected to contribute very little to nothing toward your graduate school education. The federal government caps graduate student Staffords at $20,500 a year and $138,500 over a lifetime (usnews.com). But for most students, particularly going to law or medical school, this is not enough money for a poor twenty-something who just graduated from college to live off of for at least 3 years.

The U.S. News & World Report gives valuable advice on financial aid options for graduate school:

Perkins loans are the cheapest federal education loan for students with low incomes, with graduate students qualifying to get up to $8,000 a year at only a 5% interest rate that doesn’t start until after you’ve finished school. Unfortunately, these loans are only given through the schools. Subsidized Stafford loans also do not charge students interest while they are in school. After you max out your Perkins and Stafford loans, you can borrow money from the PLUS program. This program provides financial aid for tuition and transportation and basic living expenses, but be warned of high interest rates.

Beyond federal financial aid, there are other smaller options to collect money for graduate school:

1) Tax benefits

If you have some sort of income, the government may give you a tax credit or tax deduction for education expenses. You can qualify for the full credit of $2,000 if your income is under $43,000 or half credit if your income is under $53,000. You could also file for a tax deduction for up to $4,000 for tuition if you make under $65,000. Unfortunately you cannot take both the tax credit and deduction.

2) Help from an employer

Thinking about finding a job and then going to graduate school? Let your employer pay for it! Many employers will offer tuition benefits if your graduate degree will strengthen your job performance. The only catch is most employers require you to take job-related courses so make sure your job is something you are interested in pursuing further!

3) Need-based grants or scholarships:

Use your undergraduate school resources! Visit your financial aid office and career development office for information about scholarships and need-based grant options. In order to be considered for need-based grants from your graduate school, you need to complete and file your FAFSA by the end of January. Some companies and non-profits provide grants or scholarship information as well. Here is a list of some scholarship websites that could provide options that are available to you specifically.

For more information on your options for financial aid, visit the U.S. Department of News education website at http://www.usnews.com/sections/business/paying-for-graduate-school/index.html.

Show Me the Money!

I am just going to go ahead and say the scary words.  Financial aid.  Student loans.  Tuition.  Scholarships.  Assistantships.  Are you still breathing?  Well if these words make you hyperventilate, I don’t blame you.  They still cause mini panic attacks for me, too.  But there’s no need to completely freak out.  There IS one way to get financial help for grad school that won’t make you want to pull your hair out.

For those of you applying to graduate school or even just considering it, now is the time to register for and submit your FAFSA form.  FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.”  Federal Financial Aid (FSA), an office in the Dept. of Education, provides eligible students with federal funds and assistance for school after our undergrad years.  FSA gives over $80 billion annually in financial aid to students for school.

Filling out a FAFSA form is pretty quick and easy.  Go to FAFSA.ed.gov.  If you are a little confused, the home page gives useful tools that help you during the application process such as determining your dependency, offering application deadlines, and providing a checklist of required documents and information.  The entire application can be completed online without much difficulty.

For everyone who has applied to grad school, NOW is the time to complete and submit your FAFSA form.  Most grad schools have their own deadlines for financial aid requests and it is best to submit yours ASAP even if you haven’t received acceptance into your schools yet.

Let the government help pay for your graduate school tuition!