10 Financial Questions You Should Ask Yourself About Grad School
I like money. I sometimes pull up my banking app just to stare lovingly at my savings account (it’s not robust, but it’s mine). When I chose to attend graduate school, I knew that decision had financial implications, both positive and negative, that I needed to examine. No matter the type of program, you should be asking questions about the financial layers involved in graduate school before choosing when and where to attend. While I am no financial expert myself, I can tell you what questions I would recommend you research, ask about, and think through with every graduate program. Here are my top ten:
#1. What is the cost of tuition per semester and how many semesters will it take to complete the degree?
#2. What other costs can be expected in this program, beyond just tuition?
#3. How do most students in this program pay for tuition and other expenses?
#4. Are there opportunities for tuition waivers and stipends through assistantships (experiences where you research, teach, or otherwise work for the graduate school)?
#5. Are there merit scholarships available through the graduate school?
#6. Are there external fellowships you could apply to and use for graduate school financing? (I recommend utilizing the Lisska Center in answering this question)
#7. What is the cost of living in the graduate school’s location?
#8. What is the median income of students fresh out of the program?
#9. What is the return on investment- will an expected salary post-degree make paying off any loans manageable?
#10. Is this program flexible with working part-time during the academic year?
Financial aid and admission counselors at graduate programs are a good place to start with these and other questions you may have about the financial investment of attending graduate school. I also highly recommend chatting with Denison’s own Financial Wellness Coach, Samantha Smith. Finances don’t need to drive your graduate school selection process (some investments are worth the money) but they must be a factor considered. The more you know, the more stress you save yourself later!