Tips for Paying for Graduate School on a Budget

Attending graduate school can be a major financial adjustment. Get tips on how to continue your education without breaking your budget.

Between expanding your professional network and increasing your specialized knowledge, obtaining an advanced degree can be advantageous for your career path. Much like an undergrad program, however, graduate school can place pressure on your schedule and your budget.

Use these five tips to help fit paying for graduate school into your finances.

1. Find flexibility if you need it

If you plan on working a full- or part-time job while enrolled in grad school, look for a program with flexible class schedules. Having the option to take night or online classes could help keep your schedule open for work so you can continue earning an income.

2. Look for available financial help

Similar to undergraduate programs, you may be able to help fund grad school with grants or scholarships. Grants may be available through the federal government, your state’s government, a specific school, or private organizations. You might also look for scholarships to help pay for books, room and board, and other expenses.

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

If you are not employed when you enroll in grad school, find out if there are any work-study options available. Even some part-time income may help cover a portion of tuition or other day-to-day expenses and help you handle student loan debt.

If you are employed, remember that some employers might pay for your continued education if your advanced degree will benefit your career with the company. Just know that your employer may include additional stipulations for you to receive education assistance.

4. Research loan forgiveness programs

Loan forgiveness programs are available to some graduate students to help manage the cost of continuing their education. These programs will often forgive loan balances after a certain period of time if certain requirements are met. For instance, some programs are available for students who will go on to work in certain sectors, like teaching, nursing, or public service. Eligibility varies for these programs, so it’s important to carefully research your options and have a clear understanding of the criteria that must be met in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.

5. Negotiate the details

Treat grad school acceptance like a job offer. If a school is interested enough to accept you into their graduate program, they may be willing to work with you to help fit education into your schedule and budget.

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


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.