Going to graduate school can be a costly undertaking, with average costs ranging from just over $28,000 at a public college or university to over $52,000 at a private one. Where is a graduate student to turn for financial help? As you may have already guessed, the vast majority of them turn to federal student loans.
The majority of those that do choose to take out student loans end up borrowing well over half of the cost of their graduate degrees. And with recent changes to federal student loan laws, graduate students begin paying interest on their loans while in school, instead of having that interest deferred until after graduation.
So what are some ways that graduate students can help to offset the cost of their education without racking up huge student loan debt?
Going the Distance
Distance learning courses are a growing trend in many schools and programs. These classes allow students to participate entirely via the Internet, attending class chat sessions and turning in assignments completely online. They don’t cost any more than traditional, on-campus courses, and think about the money you can save on wear and tear on your vehicle, not to mention the precious gasoline.
Work It Like You Mean It
Many students find it difficult to work a full-time job while attending graduate classes. The time and mental demands of classwork, papers, and projects can sometimes seem overwhelming on their own. Some argue that they would rather concentrate on their studies, using loan money to cover living expenses. If a job is available in a field related to your field of study, however, working while in school can pay double. You will get paid monetarily as well as gaining inside knowledge of your field and adding experience to your resume.
More Money, More Problems
When your student loan amounts are awarded each semester, you will have the option to accept the total amount available, or to accept less than this amount. This is another area where you can trim your future expenses. While it may be tempting to accept the entire amount, if you can pay your bills and afford to attend school on less, you would be wise to do some calculations and see what you really need. Getting that new PlayStation 3 may sound like a great idea, but if you sit down and look at the interest you’ll end up paying on it, you may just decide that it’s not quite worth it.
These are just a few strategies to attempt to work around the growing costs of earning a graduate degree. As you begin to look at the amount of loan dollars that you are accruing over your years of study, you may very well come up with some unique ideas of your own. Remember, though, selling an organ, while quite profitable, can also have some long-term negative consequences. Donating blood, however, will at least get you a free snack of cookies and orange juice.