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.
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!