Graduate school can open doors for your career. Depending on your area of study, obtaining a master’s degree can significantly raise your salary.
But those extra earnings come with a price: Graduate school is crazy expensive. The average debt for someone with a Master of Arts degree is a gulp-inducing $58,539.
However, you don’t have to resign yourself to a mountain of debt. Many grad school scholarships are available to help you offset the cost of school. You can combine them to pay for tuition, books, and even room and board.
How to find grad school scholarships
Here are the top resources for finding graduate school grants and scholarships.
Fastweb is one of the largest college advice and financial aid databases available. You can use the platform to search through over 1.5 million scholarships. According to the company, those scholarships total over $3.4 billion in value.
To find grad school scholarships that match your strengths and interests, you must create a Fastweb account. Then, the site will ask you to enter details like your GPA, major, and hobbies.
The company uses those details to find scholarships that match your profile, even if they’re weird or obscure. If you’re a redhead or a champion duck caller, Fastweb is the place to find a scholarship.
If you’re not sure how you’ll afford a master’s degree, GoGrad can help by providing tips and advice on how to pay for school, including grants, federal aid, and scholarships.
GoGrad also lists plenty of niche scholarships, including options for women and veterans. The platform clearly shows how much each scholarship is worth, what the sponsoring organization is, and what the deadline to apply is. It also lists the requirements for each application, such as submitting an essay.
Unigo is a site for high school seniors and current college or graduate students. It provides resources to help you decide which school is best for you and how to make the most of your education.
Unigo has a searchable database of graduate school scholarship opportunities, but the company also awards its own grants — and some are quite large. You could receive up to $10,000 by applying for Unigo awards. To date, the company has distributed nearly $500,000 in scholarships.
Besides the usual scholarships for excellent students, Unigo also has quirky options. For example, the company offers a $2,000 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship to the person who can come up with the best survival plan for when zombies overrun cities.
4. Scholarship America
Scholarship America believes every student deserves a college education, regardless of their finances. To that end, the organization gives students the resources and information they need to go to school without ending up in major debt.
Scholarship America has distributed over $3.7 billion in scholarships to college and graduate school students. They have dozens of scholarship opportunities, including options specifically for grad school students.
While other organizations offer small graduate school scholarships, Scholarship America offers large awards. You could receive up to $25,000 to pay for a master’s degree.
Scholly is a mobile app that makes finding grad school scholarships easier. According to the company, hundreds of thousands of students have used the app to identify over $70 million in scholarship opportunities. You can’t apply for scholarships on Scholly (yet), but the app can help you find money you would have otherwise missed.
Create an account on Scholly, which is available for iOS and Android smartphones, and find scholarships that are a good fit for you. You can filter the results by grade level or major, making it easily to find graduate-level scholarships. The app also helps you keep track of deadlines and follow the status of your applications.
6. Professional associations
Although there isn’t an app or a snazzy database to find them, you can identify valuable scholarships via professional associations. To encourage students and professionals to continue their education and improve their expertise in a given field, these organizations give out thousands each year.
For example, if you’re a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), you can apply for nearly 20 different scholarships.
If you’re not part of a professional organization yet, JobStars has a list of associations for fields that include engineering, accounting, marketing, and child care. You also can ask your department chair for recommendations about which associations you should join.
Paying for graduate school
Depending on your area of study, completing a graduate school program can help you get a job sooner and boost your pay. For some, a master’s degree offers an excellent return on investment.
However, whether you should go to postsecondary school isn’t an easy decision. The high cost, even with grad school scholarships, can cause financial issues later. If you aren’t sure whether pursuing a master’s degree is right for you, learn how to figure out if graduate school is worth it.
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|2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7% variable Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 96 monthly payments of $179.28 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $17,211.20. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
Information advertised valid as of 5/22/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.99% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.30%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|