Budget For Grad School, Grad school is an investment in your future. It opens up doors, boosts your salary, and gives you the opportunity to learn something new—or specialize in something you already love. But, just like any other type of degree or certificate program, grad school can be expensive. While there are plenty of ways to pay for it (fellowships, assistantships, financial aid), the best way to make paying for grad school easier is by creating a budget before enrolling—and sticking to it!
Start With Your Total School Cost
- Add up the cost of tuition, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses over four years.
- Divide the total figure by four to calculate an annual cost.
- Multiply this amount by 12 to get a monthly cost that you can use to budget for grad school expenses once you’re there (and beyond).
Tips on how to budget for grad school
Here are five ways to stay on top of your finances:
- Start saving early. If you’re still in high school, save up some money so that when it comes time to pay for college, you won’t have to take out loans.
- Create a budget and stick to it. You can use the same budgeting methods used by other adults, such as writing down your expenses or using an app that tracks spending habits. It’s important that you save enough money each month so that there’s enough cash left over after paying all your bills—especially since most grad students don’t make much money once they graduate from their program (more on this later).
- Consider pursuing a degree level higher than what you originally planned for when applying for grad school because this will increase both the number of job opportunities available right after graduation and how much these jobs pay per hour worked (again, more on this later). The only downside is that more advanced degrees tend to cost more than lower-level ones; however, fortunately, there are many scholarships available outside traditional fields like art history or English literature which might help offset these costs while also providing valuable career experience related directly back to those areas where students want work eventually anyway!
- Be wary about signing onto any loans unless absolutely necessary because taking out student loan debt may seem like an easy way out now while also getting ahead financially later down the road. It isn’t always worth it! In fact, far too often people end up spending several years paying off unnecessary debts before finally realizing just how damaging these types of financial decisions can be long term.”
Calculate How Much You’ll Pay In Interest
When you borrow money, the amount of interest you pay depends on several factors.
First, there’s the amount you’re borrowing. For example, a $10,000 loan at 10% interest will cost more than a $100 loan at 10% interest; that’s obvious enough. But how much more? The second factor is how long until your payment is due: if I owe $10,000 and pay back my lender over two years rather than one year (or vice versa), then I’ll end up paying less in total because of that piece of math called compound interest (more on this later).
The third factor is what type of loan it is—a government-backed student loan like FAFSA has different rates than an unsecured private one like Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan Program. And finally comes your credit score: lenders are more likely to offer better rates on loans if they see good things happening with your finances elsewhere—like having stable housing or being employed full time.
TACKLING GRAD SCHOOL DEBT IS MUCH EASIER THAN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT LOAN DEBT
- Grad school debt is easier to pay off than undergraduate student loan debt.
- Grad school debt is more manageable because you can choose to live with your parents or spouse, which makes life a lot easier.
Look for Scholarships Outside Your Field
You could be eligible for a scholarship that you don’t know about. This can be one of the most frustrating parts of budgeting, but it’s also one of the most important. If you have a hard time finding scholarships within your field, look outside of it—there may be more opportunities available than you think!
For example, if you’re a Biology major who loves science and math but isn’t sure what career path to follow after graduation (because no matter what field you go into, there will always be doctors), consider looking for scholarships that are specifically for pre-med students with interests in science or engineering. Or maybe even look at programs where they award money based on merit instead of pursuing a specific plan after college graduation; there are plenty out there!
Create A Budget
- Create a budget.
- Create a savings plan.
- Create a spending plan.
- Create a debt plan.
- Create a retirement plan.
- Create a tax plan.
- Create a business plan for your future career, when and how to start one, or what you need to do in order to get started working for yourself (business).
This will also include creating an actionable strategy for each of these things: time management, dieting/weight loss/health & wellness, travel, and others as well!
Determine Your Desired Degree Level
Once you’ve determined what your desired degree level is, it’s time to plan out the costs. This includes tuition and fees, room & board (if applicable), books & supplies, transportation costs (if necessary), and miscellaneous expenses such as travel and entertainment expenses that don’t fall into any other category.
Almost all schools have an online cost estimator tool that will help you find these values for yourself so that you can make accurate budgeting estimates!
The cost of each school will vary depending on whether or not they’re public or private institutions. A lot of people assume that private schools are more expensive than public ones because they assume students from higher-income households must go there due to their financial situation but keep in mind most if not all scholarships are available at both types of institutions so don’t let price dictate which school should be chosen instead use it as one factor among many when comparing them!
Start Saving Early
Put as much money as you can into a high-interest savings account, and set up automatic transfers to that account as soon as your paycheck hits your bank account. If you’re not sure how much to save each month, start small and increase the amount over time. If possible, set up a separate savings account to keep things organized and make it easier to reach your goal.
Grad school is expensive, but you can make it more affordable by making smart choices.
Grad school is expensive, but you can make it more affordable by making smart choices. Here are some tips for saving money:
- Don’t take out more than you need. Grad programs can vary widely in terms of how much they cost and what they cover. You may need to borrow a lot or very little; either way, keep in mind that graduate students at private institutions tend to pay more tuition than those at public universities because they don’t get as many benefits from their states or localities (such as free housing). The same goes for graduate programs that charge per credit versus those that charge per semester the latter tend to be cheaper.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for financial aid. Many scholarships require applications well before the semester begins, so start early! And if your program offers grants rather than loans, look into these first before turning elsewhere for assistance—they could save you thousands over four years of school (and interest!).
- Start saving early with an emergency fund and retirement savings account so there’s no reason not to fully fund other goals like grad school expenses
Most students have some type of financial aid they can use while attending grad school, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before making a decision. Make sure that you understand all your options and know how much money will be needed in order to complete your program so there aren’t any surprises.