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Try these strategies to pay for grad school

Among several ways to get help with graduate

Among several ways to get help with graduate school is a scholarship. Credit: Getty Images / iStock

What’s sweeter than spending someone else’s money? Better still, if you can do so for a big-ticket item like a grad school bill.

Here’s how to extend your education without going broke.

  • Ask your boss: “Professional experience is desirable for admissions applications anyway, so start your career and, when the time is right, approach your employer about fully or partially sponsoring your graduate degree,” says Alicia Stewart, MBA admissions counselor at IvyWise consultants in Manhattan.
  • Work at a college or university: Be detailed in your research; some schools have minimum years of service to receive this benefit, but tuition-waiver policies are a standard at many colleges.
  • Plan your exit: There are underserved fields where employers will offer incentives to attract new graduates. “Teachers, nurses and doctors all have loan-forgiveness options, especially for those willing to work in certain areas,” says Sean Moore, founder of Smart College Funding in Boca Raton, Florida.
  • Be assertive: Contact grad school professors directly. Reach out to those in your field and ask if they have any funded research projects or if their colleagues do. Check the school’s website for news about new project grants. “Write and tell them it’s been your dream to work on that exact project,” says Alex Matjanec, CEO of MyBankTracker.com.
  • Consider the military. “The ROTC programs of the armed forces can get you through school without debt, and you’ll earn valuable experience in the three to four years active duty required upon graduation,” says Moore. He says this especially makes sense if you’re in medicine or law, where the first years after graduation are often long hours and relatively low pay.
  • Explore all options: Scholarships may not be as plentiful as they are for undergrads, but investigate.

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