The decision to attend graduate school is one that should not be taken lightly, as it will be a major obligation of your time and resources for at least a couple of years. If you’re like most graduate students, paying for graduate school is a major consideration in the decision. Fortunately, there are many options to help you afford your advanced education:
- FAFSA. Make sure you complete the FAFSA early, and often! Completion of the FAFSA (which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will notify your school of your eligibility to receive loans and grants. The great thing about grants is that they don’t have to be repaid! Recently, the College of Graduate Studies at Tarleton made over $400,000 in new grant money available to its graduate students. How important is the FAFSA? It’s the only way to for us to consider students for the grant and loan funding – so it’s critical!
- Scholarships. Grad students can get scholarships, too! Tarleton has many scholarships that are just for grad students. Make sure you fill out the General Scholarship application in order to be considered for these scholarships. Additionally, think outside the box and look for scholarships outside of the University! Are you a member of any professional or social organizations? Ask them about scholarships available to members.
- Employers. Many organizations require advanced degrees for employee promotions. That being said, many employers will pay for your education, or at least offer assistance. Ask your human resources department about tuition assistance or reimbursement. Of course, attaining a graduate degree builds character and knowledge organically, but the pursuit of an advanced degree also shows initiative and increases your earning potential.
- Loan Forgiveness. Unfortunately, only unsubsidized loans are available to graduate students. (“Unsubsidized” means that interest begins to accrue while you are in school.) If you are funding your education with student loans, look into loan forgiveness programs. Working for certain employers or in segments of the workforce, such as teaching in a Title I school, or in public service, may qualify you for forgiveness of your student loan debt.
- Alternative Considerations. If you are paying for your education out of pocket, look into short term loans or payment plans. At Tarleton, short term loans are not actually “loans” but are instead a tool to push back your tuition due date. This gives you more time to collect funds to cover your tuition and keeps you from being dropped for non-payment. Payment plans work by breaking your tuition into equal installment payments throughout the semester, due monthly. Also, if you have loans from undergrad, talk to your loan servicer about deferment. Federal loan payments can be deferred if you are enrolled in school at least part time, which is six hours for graduate students at Tarleton.
The decision to pursue your graduate degree is an investment in yourself and your future! If you have questions about loans or scholarships, you can reach our Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Scholarships at email@example.com.