Taking on the Financial Burden of Grad School

Employees, HR

By Madison Knopik:

Graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2016 was supposed to be the end of the line for my formal education. Little did I know, it wouldn’t be long before I returned to the life of being a student. In my last semester of college, I was fortunate enough to be gainfully employed in a company that actually utilized my major. After working in the real world for a year, I knew I needed to pursue something higher to get where I wanted to be in my professional life. Enter grad school.

Deciding to go to grad school was an impulse decision of mine. I determined I wanted to get a Master of Business Administration (MBA), researched schools nearby, calculated out the expenses and applied! Even the cheapest option was still out of my price range, but I knew I would figure it all out.

Is your wallet crying at the thought of attending #GradSchool? Check out these tips on how to make it affordable: Click To Tweet

On average, combined undergraduate and graduate debt for an MBA will leave a student in around $42,000 of debt. That number sounds scary but is nowhere near where it could be. So, if you’re thinking of attending grad school, here are some things to think about.

Degrees with the highest debt-to-income ratio

Having your resume show the title of doctor or lawyer may seem like the proudest letters you’ve ever seen, but at what cost did they get there? Although degrees with a heavier weight in the community and in your paycheck come across as more prestigious, they also cost you a great deal more to achieve.

According to Credible.com, these five degrees have the highest student debt-to-income ratio:

Optometry

  • 14.9% monthly debt-to-income
  • $1,369 monthly loan payment
  • $110,000 annual income

Veterinary

  • 12.6% monthly debt-to-income
  • $891 monthly loan payment
  • $85,000 annual income

Physicians Assistant

  • 11.6% monthly debt-to-income
  • $946 monthly loan payment
  • $100,000 annual income

Dentistry

  • 11.5% monthly debt-to-income
  • $1,434 monthly loan payment
  • $150,000 annual income

Pharmacy

  • 10.9% monthly debt-to-income
  • $1,092 monthly loan payment
  • $120,000 annual income
Thinking about going to #GradSchool? Check out how @RBM_Madison made it work for her bank account: Click To Tweet

Degrees with the lowest debt-to-income ratio

While these next five degrees may earn less than other positions, they are also the most worry-free degrees when it comes to debt.

According to Credible.com, these five degrees have the lowest student debt-to-income ratio:

Computer Science

  • 6.4% monthly debt-to-income
  • $477 monthly loan payment
  • $89,720 annual income

MBA

  • 6.8% monthly debt-to-income
  • $510 monthly loan payment
  • $89,900 annual income

Finance (Non-MBA)

  • 7.0% monthly debt-to-income
  • $467 monthly loan payment
  • $80,000 annual income

Nursing

  • 7.1% monthly debt-to-income
  • $566 monthly loan payment
  • $96,000 annual income

Accounting

  • 7.2% monthly debt-to-income
  • $408 monthly loan payment
  • $68,200 annual income

Ways to lower tuition

Tuition is the largest expense you face when attending grad school but beyond that, you have other expenses to cover. Added expenses can include housing, insurance, food, rent, books and many others.

Here are some ways to lower tuition:

  • Apply for financial aid: FAFSA is the ultimate go to when applying for financial aid. Contact your potential schools’ finance department or your advisors to get all the necessary information you need before beginning the form.
  • Apply for scholarships: Most universities and colleges offer potential students a plethora of scholarship opportunities. Make sure to check them out and see which ones apply to your situation. If you’re still looking for additional money or didn’t qualify for your school’s scholarship, try using a scholarship search engine site. These sites pull numerous scholarships from organizations all over the nation. If you’re still not finding what you need, consider local organizations that might have scholarships available.
  • Become a Graduate Assistant: Try finding a graduate assistant position at the school of your choice. These positions usually provide tuition remission in exchange for working at the university. Some positions may provide additional compensation or benefits. These grants do not have to be repaid after graduation.
  • See if your employer provides aid: Is your employer encouraging you to further your education in order to help them fill a company need? Check into your employer’s rules on tuition aid. They may supply you with the additional cash you need for courses. This is a win-win situation.

Having the financial burden lessened, allows students to pursue their professional goals without worrying about where the money will come from. Looking for alternatives may be time-consuming but well worth it in the end.

From my first big-girl job to where I’m currently at, I’m glad I make the decision to go back to school. It ultimately led me to Red Branch, where I am encouraged to bring my newly gained knowledge into my daily tasks.

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