Thinking about going to grad school but not yet financially ready? Here are some tips on how to budget for grad school and save money!
Grad school is a time of great change, and it can seem difficult to know where to start. There are many things that need to be considered when deciding how much money you will need for grad school. The type of degree being pursued, the length of time in which one wishes to attain their degree, the location of the university—all these factors impact your budgeting decisions. With careful planning and financial discipline, your graduate education experience can be both rewarding and affordable.
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Tips on how to budget for grad school
In this section, we’ll examine seven tips on how best to prepare financially for grad (or any) higher education!
1. Determine Your Goals
What do you want from your graduate experience? Is graduating with a degree in hand your main priority? What about getting a master’s degree versus a PhD? Perhaps you are looking to move up the corporate ladder, or maybe teaching is your passion. Whatever your interests are, they will make up the foundation for how you want to pay for school.
2. Decide on Scholarships
Scholarships and grants can pay for a significant amount of your graduate education. Information on grants is often readily available online, but scholarships are tougher to come by. You will need to do some research into companies that have ties to your degree.
For example, if you’re earning an MBA , look for organizations that support entrepreneurs or small businesses who could further your career plan. You’ll also want to seek scholarships that are based on other criteria, especially other skills you have that are applicable to the field in which you hope to work. For example, if you’re getting a PHD or working towards becoming an academic , look for grants and scholarships specific to women in STEM fields.
3. Look for Scholarships Outside Your Field
There are many organizations outside of the education field that offer merit-based scholarships to students who excel academically. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps all offer educational assistance to active duty service members through their tuition assistance programs. If you’re thinking about joining the military after school, this is a great way to fund your college experience.
There are also organizations like the Rotary Foundation, which offer scholarships to students who intend to pursue degrees in medicine or international relations. The World Affairs Council offers similar scholarship opportunities for students interested in studying international affairs.
4. Determine Your Desired Degree Level
The cost of graduate school varies greatly depending on the degree you’re pursuing. According to College Atlas, a bachelor’s degree costs an average of $30,300 per year, while tuition for doctoral programs can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars over four years. Another thing to factor in is time: a bachelor’s degree can take four years, while an MBA could be completed in two years and a doctorate could last around six or seven.
5. Consider the Location
Living costs vary by city and neighborhood, so choosing a school based on its location will play a part in how much money you’ll need for grad school. In general, the more expensive the area, the greater your degree needs to be in order to get a job that pays enough to cover your bills.
6. Don’t Stop Saving
As you get older, it’s important to keep your income and savings high in order to prepare for unforeseen expenses. It can be easy to forget about investing while you’re juggling new studying duties, but the sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be when it comes time for school.
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7. Take Advantage of Part-Time Jobs
Finding part-time work as a student not only pays the bills, but it also looks great on your resume. If you’re looking at graduate school, you’ll obviously need to stop working once classes start up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look into opportunities for employment after graduation. You can also take advantage of a school’s job placement opportunities, which will help you land a full-time position with an employer that has ties to your degree.
Start saving for grad school today
It’s a common misconception that you should only start saving for grad school once you have a full-time job. In reality, the sooner you start saving for your education, the better off you will be in the long run. The reason is simple: Grad school tuition costs continue to rise year after year and it becomes more difficult to save as time goes on. When people wait until they are earning a decent wage before starting their savings plan, those funds would have been worth much more if invested earlier.
So go ahead and start saving today if you’re definitely planning on going to grad school : ) And I hope this post on how to budget for grad school has been helpful to you!