So, here’s the thing: grad school is not cheap. What, you already knew that?
Whether you have just paid your tuition bill or you have just started looking at graduate schools, you have probably become familiar with the expense related to tuition. You may want to start planning how to pay for it now. The good news is that you have options.
Funding from Financial Aid sources:
While no one likes debt, a graduate degree is an investment. If you are looking for a way to pay for your degree, you may need to consider loans. Complete your FAFSA early so it is ready to go. The Federal Student Aid Office (an office of the Department of Education) published a document in the fall of 2012 that is specifically geared toward students seeking graduate and professional degrees. For more information, you can review the publication.
Search for, inquire about, and apply for scholarships. In most situations, the people with scholarship money are not going to find you – you will have to find them.
When our office finds out about a scholarship – on and off campus – we post it on our website. If it has a deadline that we are aware of, we remove it once the deadline passes. Also, for the scholarships that do not have recurring deadlines, we cross post the information to the bulletin boards located on the 1st and 3rd floor of Randolph Hall. Chances are, if the flyer for the scholarship is posted, you haven’t missed the deadline yet.
Some of the graduate programs may have their own opportunities as well. Contact your program to see if they can provide any additional sources for funding.
Contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards if you have an interest in pursuing major awards such as the Marshall and Fulbright scholarships. You are encouraged to reach out to this office as early as you can.
Funding from Employment:
Graduate school courses can sometimes be a full-time workload. Consider your learning needs before considering employment as a source of funding.
At the College of Charleston, full-time, degree-seeking graduate students can apply for research, teaching, or graduate assistantships. Students at the College earn a paycheck for part-time work assisting in the research labs, the classroom, or in administrative capacities. During the 2012-2013 year, our students can earn a $12,400 through an assistantship. More information about assistantships can be found here.
Students who secure an assistantship and are not South Carolina residents may be eligible for a tuition abatement. Please note that funding for abatements is limited so you should inquire early.
Many of our graduate students are also employed individuals of the workforce.
A full-time working professional should speak with his/her employer. Not only will you want to notify your employer about schedule changes due to course requirements, they may also offer financial support. Contact your company to see if they have any tuition reimbursement options.
Part-time working individuals should make sure that employers know their class schedule and availability for the work schedule.
Two final sources are fellowships and grants. These take far more time but come with significant benefits. Be sure to check out our website for new opportunities. With fellowships and grants, be sure to read all of the details as some require relocation and employment restrictions. For these sources of funding, you will want to work with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.
On a final note, please know that there is funding out there if you take the time to pursue it. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the Graduate School of the College of Charleston awarded over one million dollars in abatement funding, over $25,000 in in-state scholarships, and over $45,000 in additional scholarships. Also, almost 150 students acquired assistantship positions.