I'm going to grad school!!!....Crap! Now what?

I just received my E-mail today saying that I was accepted into my undergrads Graduate program! After 2 years of being out of school and jobless I am heading back into the world of academia to add another degree to my wall! I’m really excited because it was late into my undergrad that I realized what I wanted to do, and I will finally be able to get closer to that goal.

Now here’s the hard part. I am very very very very very blessed in that my parents paid for the entirety of my undergraduate program. It was the deal they said from the beginning and I am very grateful for it. Now that I am going back to school I am going to have to pay for it myself; something that is perfectly fine with me and something I’m totally willing to do. The problem is I have no idea what to do. Do I get a loan from a bank? Do I use the government? How do I use the government? How do I use the bank?

Could you guys give me some advice as to what’s gonna be the best way to go about this? It would really help. Thanks!

Contact the school’s office of financial aid. They’ll be able to explain your options, and how to apply. Contact info is likely in their catalog and application package.

I wish they told me at first what Oakminster said. I get a couple thousand dollars a semester just for applying for financial aid. Free: it’s a grant not a loan.

What type of program is it? Master’s or PhD or other? Do they have any assistanceships available?

Any chance you could TA or be a research assistant?
You didn’t mention your field but it’s pretty common in Engineering, maybe not so much for an MBA.
If it’s at all possible - find out who in the department to talk to - or just start talking to the profs.

Well, typically as you get accepted into an M.A. program, depending on how good your application was, you’re offered various funding bits (TA-ships, RA-ships, etc.). Your school should have an awards office that tells you of what scholarships you may be eligible for.

Finally, depending on where you live (I’m in Ontario), there may be several state bursaries and awards designed to help you complete your studies. I won an Ontario Graduate Scholarship that basically covers the bulk of my tuition for the past summer, this fall, and winter. I’m not rolling in dough, but I’m not losing sleep over it at night, either, so I’ve been fortunate like that.

I am going back for my Masters in Public Relations. I do know they have an option for being a GA and deferring some of the costs of tuition there, so I am most likely going to take that route. I think within the next coupla days I’m going to have to go to the school anyway so that I can sign up for classes and stuff (I live pretty close to it) and while I’m there I’ll make an appointment with financial aid and talk with them about things I could try and get (grants, scholorships etc.)

Grants and scholarships are the first way to go. A lot of colleges have scholarships just for graduate students.

Secondly–and I may get lots of heat for this–I would fill out the FAFSA. That will let you know if you qualify for loans. Subsidized loans are preferable from a student’s standpoint because you aren’t responsible for the interest payments while you’re in school pursuing your degree. Once you graduate, or drop below a certain number of hours every semester, then you have to start repaying. Since it is a loan, it’s not the first option I would choose, but it is an option.

Many grants required you to do so. There is no drawback to just filling it out, except that most people fear FAFSA because they think it’s difficult. If you can follow directions you can do it. If you do loans, subsidized Stafford is the way to go, and grad students can take out up to $8500 per year this way.

If you can pass the GRE, you can handle FAFSA. I funded much of my MBA with these loans.

Ha, you’d be surprised. People fear any financial stuff. You have to walk them through it: “See where it says ‘Enter income’? Put your income in there.”

You’re gonna be in debt. I looked earlier this year at going back for my MBA and there is NOTHING. No grants, no scholarships, just loans.

Good luck.

The Financial Aid office won’t even talk to you without one. I did 8 of them for my kids. Have your last tax form and your bank statement ready, and it is painful but not difficult. The good news is that it remembers you for subsequent years, so it is a lot easier the second time.

Wait, how is filling out FAFSA controversial? It’s the first thing they tell you to do when you get in to school.

Federal sub/unsub loans covered me for law school, but I had to take out federal sub/unsub + GradPlus for my MBA because it’s basically a 200K enterprise. Fortunately, I’ve paid off about half of law school and got some ridiculously low interest rate for those (2.3 or something) because I committed to a quick repayment.

So I went ahead and grabbed the FAFSA paperwork, and from what they told me that seems to be all I need to do. Everyone I knew in school used it so I am greatly assuming that’s probably either the only way to go…or just the best.

I also think all the grants and scholarships go through them too, so it really seems to be the way to go.