The Best Ways to Get Graduate School Paid For

Seek out funding options from your university or even your employer.
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While there are not nearly as many scholarships for graduate school as undergrad, money is still out there. To help pay for graduate school, look into fellowships, grants and even loans to help foot the bill. Get creative and start early to increase your chances of getting graduate school paid for.

1 Assistantships

One of the best ways to pay for graduate school is through teaching or research assistantships, according to Peterson's. The university typically controls these positions, which function as a work-study program. In exchange for teaching classes or conducting research, you receive free or reduced tuition. The benefits, availability and requirements vary from school to school, but if you look hard enough, you can often find enough money to pay for much or all of your tuition.

2 University Funding

Universities have merit grants and outreach funds at their disposal to help foot the bill for graduate school. Graduate programs aggressively compete to secure the best candidates and do that by wooing students with reduced or even free tuition. To have your university pay for graduate school, you must be a top-tier applicant with better grades, test scores and selling points compared to the other applicants and current students.

3 Fellowships

Fellowships are graduate school’s version of scholarships or grants. Hundreds of organizations and schools offer a variety of fellowships, which come in the form of cash, to cover tuition, housing, food and more. Many fellowships are backed by organizations that promote research or advanced study in a specific field. Start searching for fellowships that are specific to your university or field of study.

4 Ask Your Boss

While employers have cut back on financing graduate school for their employees over the past few years, that does not mean all the money is gone. Multinational companies, government agencies and consulting firms all still provide educational benefits. It never hurts to ask if your employer to help foot the bill.

5 Loans

Unlike undergraduate students, grad-level students do not qualify for need-based funding. As a last-resort scenario, you can take out a graduate loan to help pay for school. Unfortunately, you are required to pay back this type of funding. To determine if you qualify, submit your FAFSA form, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, after Jan. 1 if you want to start school in August. Loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, the government pays the interest while you are in school. With unsubsidized loans, you pay all interest on your loans. Payment can be deferred until after graduation with both types of loans.

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.