Other Ways to Pay for Graduate School

Working While Putting Yourself Through School

You can have a job and still pursue a graduate degree. Many universities have graduate programs designed specifically for working adults. Classes meet in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate work schedules. Often, courses are taught by professionals in the industry, so you're gaining real-world experience from people who live what they teach. An alternative to consider is online education. Scholarships and financial aid may be available for accredited online programs, just as they’re available for programs that meet in person.

Working for an Employer Who’ll Pay the Bill

Some employers offer employees financial support to continue their education. One form is tuition reimbursement: You pay the initial course costs, and if you meet a predetermined grade requirement, your employer pays you back. You may have to sign an agreement to stay with the company for a certain length of time after you earn your degree, or repay the money if you leave.

Check with the human resources office where you work to find out if full or partial tuition reimbursement is an existing benefit or if it’s something your employer is willing to consider. If tuition reimbursement is only available under limited circumstances, explain the rewards the company will gain from your continued education. This will help your employer see past the short-term expense and focus on the long-term benefits.

When job hunting, search out potential employers that offer tuition reimbursement benefits. Identify companies known for encouraging their employees to develop themselves. Discuss education benefits with employees of companies you’re considering working for. After you get a job offer, make tuition payment part of your salary and benefit package negotiations.

Service Programs with Education Awards

Some service programs offer benefits in the form of funding for graduate school. AmeriCorps and Peace Corps offer financial benefits for their alumni to continue to a graduate program.

AmeriCorps offers an education award in the amount of $5,755 after the successful completion of a year as an AmeriCorps member. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can be used to pay educational costs at eligible post-secondary colleges and universities.

Peace Corps offers the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program, which offers financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

There are ways to fund your graduate or professional degree beyond taking out loans and applying for scholarships. Consider if you can balance your program with full-time employment when evaluating the cost of your degree.

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