With recent data showing current unemployment for workers 25 and under approaching "Great Depression" numbers, it should come as no surprise that more students are attending graduate school to delay entering the work force. A bachelor's degree is common, so a master's degree, theoretically, should give you an edge above the competition when seeking employment.
The average graduate student accrues $30, 000 in student loan debt, but there are many options to paying for a master's degree, from Federal Stafford Loans for graduate programs, masters scholarships, grants, or your place of employment can cover your educational costs.
While looking to pay for your master's degree, contacting your school's financial aid department should be your first step in a search for masters scholarships. Your university's financial aid office should be able to direct you to masters scholarships or grants you may be eligible for.
Getting a grant or masters scholarships depends heavily on your choice of major and on your ethnicity and gender. Masters scholarships are more plentiful in nursing (like the Emergency Nursing Association scholarships), teaching, and in fields of scientific research (like the National Science Foundation), for example.
Patrick, who didn't want his last name used, is getting a computer science degree from Oregon State University, and his costs are covered by a grant from the Department of Defense. During a recent phone interview, Patrick explained he is currently taking a break, as his accelerated program "burned him out," but says once he finishes his master's degree he is "guaranteed a nice job after college, most likely at Google."
Peter Ho of Chicago is also not relying on a masters scholarship to pay for his future degree in nuclear engineering. His company, which Ho didn't want to name, is footing the bill. During a phone interview, Ho said "the nuclear profession is recession proof at the moment because everyone has energy needs." Ho would get his master's degree from either Northwestern University or Depaul, "for their part-time programs."
Despite not qualifying for any masters scholarships or grants, Jayne S. recently enrolled in Depaul University's graduate program, seeking a major in human-computer interaction. She explained in an email that she made the career switch from public relations so she would be more "recession-proof," because "website and software design is considered less expendable as a business expense than public relations/marketing."
"I'm fairly confident that my advanced degree will help me get a higher-paying job, but that's because I'm going into a higher-paying field ... between the value of the degree and the networking of people in my new field, I would say this is a worthwhile investment " she wrote.
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