Students are able to continue their higher education while diminishing the potential financial burden.
Prospective graduate students should look at their education as an investment but still be smart about their finances.
“Financial debt is definitely a deal breaker for me when seeking higher education,” said Christyl Doyle, Ms. UTA and UTA Ambassadors co-president. “I will never attend an institution that will cause me to be thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt post-graduation.”
The first step prospective graduate students should take is looking for assistantships or fellowships, which can completely fund graduate studies, said Lorena Ferrer, student money management center peer-mentor, in an email.
Students should apply for scholarships as early as possible but will have to wait to apply for loans, Ferrer said. Both can be very helpful in funding education.
“See what your university or school has to offer with those,” Ferrer said. “Look into internal scholarships as well.”
Graduate students are only awarded unsubsidized loans; subsidized loans are better, but graduate students don’t apply, Ferrer said. State aid and private loans are available as well, but private loans aren’t recommended because they can be predatory.
To save money, graduate students should borrow only the amount they need and pay down interest on unsubsidized loans, Ferrer said.
“Any little bit that you can do while you’re in school will be beneficial once you graduate,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer said the center recommends Mint or Everydollar, which are apps that can help students keep track of their expenses.
Opening a separate savings account with automatic withdrawals from a checking account, knowing the difference between needs and wants, and prioritizing bills will allow students to save effectively.
Teaching freshmen about finances would be beneficial in the long run, instead of having them figure it out way down the road, Doyle said.
Osvaldo Salas, UTA alumnus and prospective graduate student, said it wasn’t until he started taking economics classes at UTA that he realized he needed to create a formal budget, including expenses and income, while in school.
Students have to be smart and look for jobs that give tuition reimbursement or save while having a summer job, Ferrer said.
“If I have to move to a different city to attend graduate school, the first thing I have to look at is can I find employment there?” Salas said.
The solution is there, students just have to seek out the resources to pursue their educational goals, Ferrer said.
“There are plenty of universities out there that can offer you a great education that are still within the scope of what you can realistically pay,” Ferrer said.