How to Choose the Right Graduate School

Looking for a graduate program that will help you get the skills or qualifications you need to move up the corporate ladder? Make sure it fits your financial needs as well as your academic needs. Here are six tips to help keep costs in check.

1. Consider work flexibility

If you plan on working full or part time while completing your degree, look for a program with flexible class schedules, including night and online classes.

2. Look for available grants

There may be money available that isn’t publicly advertised. “I told the director of my program I was concerned about money, and he was able to find a significant amount of additional funding for me,” says Laura Smith, a grad student and financing higher education writer. “It made me wish I had asked sooner.”

3. Apply for scholarships

Those looking to continue their education have hundreds of options for additional education funding. You can find full and partial scholarships to help with tuition, books, room and board, and more.

4. Ask about work-study and employer-sponsored education opportunities

Avoid student loan debt by looking for work-study options that may help cover a small portion of tuition or other day-to-day expenses and won’t interfere with your studies. Some employers will also pay for continuing education if your advanced degree will benefit your career with the company. Just know that your employer may have additional stipulations for you to receive education assistance.

5. Research loan forgiveness options

Some colleges will pay back student loans for graduates who go on to work in certain sectors. In addition, federal loan forgiveness programs are offered for some public servants and people whose repayment plans are based on income. Find out what options may be available to you.

6. Negotiate the details

Treat grad school acceptance like a job offer. “They want you there. That’s why they accepted you,” Smith says. “What they are offering may be negotiable.”

Look outside the box for ways to fund your graduate degree, so you can stay financially sound while furthering your education.


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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.