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It’s no secret that college can be financially draining, especially if paying for your undergraduate degree limited your funds. Going to grad school can increase your chances of earning more and open up more opportunities career-wise. However, the cost is a valid reason to reconsider your enrollment.

No need to fear however, here are a few ways you can pay for graduate school without breaking the bank:

Become a teaching or research assistant

One way to shave off the cost of graduate school is to become a graduate assistant. Often these programs have graduate students teach a class, do research or other duties for a stipend. The stipend varies, but this is a way graduate students can pay their tuition and gain experience. In fact, most of us have probably taken a class assisted by a graduate student before

Find a one-year program

If you’re looking to get an M.A. for a good price, you might want to look into a one-year program. One-year programs are very fast-paced, but they can save you money since it’s only a year of classes. Tuition aside, that’s also one less year of having to pay for housing as well. Often these programs are online too, which shaves off the cost even more

Work before or during grad school

One way to pay for graduate school is to take a gap year or two for work after undergraduate school. Depending on your area of study and previous experience, you may be able to get a job with your B.A. Though your salary might not pay for graduate school fully, it can at least account for a considerable amount of the expenses.

There are also plenty of graduate students that work full or part-time jobs while they’re pursuing their graduate degrees. There are many graduate programs that are designed specifically for the busy schedules of working professionals.

Scholarships

Just like in your time as an undergraduate student, there are plenty of scholarships available for graduate students. Start researching scholarships for graduate students in your field or ones that are sponsored by the department you’re applying to. Some schools are looking to draw students to their graduate programs. So, there might be a need-based scholarship sponsored by the university you’re applying for.

There are many scholarship search engines like Gograd, Unigo, Fastweb, and Scholarship America. If you attend the University of Houston, the ScholarshipUniverse portal is filled with options.

Try looking for niche scholarships outside of your university that you can apply for as well. For example, if you’re a part of a professional organization for your field of study, such as the American Society for Civil Engineers or Association of American Educators, the organizations might sponsor certain scholarships.

Fellowships

If you’re interested in research, you should look up fellowships that can help with the costs of tuition in exchange for research. Fellowships can even extend beyond just a master’s degree. There are fellowships for medical professionals wishing to receive additional training, and people who just completed doctorates but still want to continue researching.

Graphic by: Juana Garcia

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