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What is the best way to fund graduate school? Answered

Right now there are thousands of university employees rummaging through and scrutinizing even more thousands of graduate school applications all over America (as well as other places, I would presume). Five of those applications are mine. Let's assume one of those five is a Yes. Now that I've been accepted, next Fall will start a trend of large amounts of money leaving my bank account rather than entering it as is the case with my current full-time job. I am guessing that a good chunk of people on here have probably gone through a similar situation, and I would like to know what the best way to pay for graduate school is. I have $10k of loans still haunting me from undergrad. Not too much in the grand scheme of things, but it's there. Grad studies will add quite a bit to that heap. Summary: What is the best way to pay for graduate school? What are reasonable living expenses during graduate school? (not a big spender here)



9 years ago

It depends largely on the subject you're going to be studying in grad school, and where you're living. Thankfully the undergrad loans should be deferred while you're still in school, so that's at least a delayed worry.

But we'll need more information.
Do you have a lab (sciences/engineering) or a TA position (most any subject)?
Do you have to cover the cost of tuition, or just living expenses?
Are you likely to be in a big city, or a small town?
Are you willing to share space, ie take a room in a larger apartment?
Will you have time to make your own food?
Do you have a significant other?

This last can be the easy solution - a significant other with a "real job" is easily the best way to pay for graduate school. ;)

I applied to the Mechanical Engineering departments at: UC Berkeley Stanford U Michigan MIT I want to do master's and phd work and become a professor. I want to do TA work while in school. I want to share a living space, but have my own bedroom. I want to make my own food. I do not own a car and don't plan to own a car. I am very resourceful.

It depends very much on the university and the subject. The ones you've applied to may be highly selective. If you're willing to go to a somewhat-lower-tier university, you may find that they're hurting for grad students and are willing to provide a nice TA package. At most universities (not in expensive urban areas) the TA is enough to live on whilst sharing an apartment. If it isn't... you may want to consider a different university. There's a lot of them out there.

Just in case you didn't know... the MS is *not* a prerequisite for the Ph.D. Today most students in the physical sciences go straight from the bachelors degree into the Ph.D. program.

At MIT, you'll want to get a research assistant (RA) position in a lab you find interesting. You do research for a professor in return for tuition plus a stipend. Often, your paid research will turn into your SM and Ph.D. theses. That was my experience.

Uncle Sugar will pay for it if you dont mind wearing green for a couple years.

work? maybe live in a tent (if you're desperate)