Moneywise: Tips for Making Graduate School Affordable

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Graduate school represents a significant financial investment, but careful planning can help you find a way to meet your academic and financial needs. Here are a few tips to make graduate school more affordable.

Get Prepared

1. Choose an online or on-campus program
Tuition may be approximately the same, but each will have different costs, times to completion, and expenses such as travel, textbooks or housing.
2. Full-time or part-time?
Some students prefer full-time enrollment while others opt for part-time or online, in order to balance their professional careers and personal lives with their education.
3. Check your credit
Your credit score may impact school loan fees, interest rates, and if you require a co-signer. Good credit may also be required for additional expenses, such as a new computer.

Research Financial Aid

1. Be a smart borrower
Make sure you borrow only what you need. Research your graduate school expenses and ask questions about loan term, repayment options, origination fees, and so on.
2. Investigate scholarships
Find money you don’t have to pay back. They can be awarded by academic departments, organizations in your field of study, or professional associations. Research options in fellowships, assistantships, and grants.
3. Loan forgiveness
Explore state and federal repayment assistance and loan forgiveness programs. Some even offer special initiatives for social workers or others in public service.

Connect with School Resources

1. Meet with the financial aid counselor
They can alert you to school funding, remind you of deadlines, explain the process and requirements, and guide you along the right path.
2. Tap into the support system
Student Services at a graduate school can help you navigate assistance programs, identify free resources, and determine work-study opportunities.

Online Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) at Case Western Reserve University educates students for careers in advanced social work. Students can choose the Community Practice for Social Change specialization or the Direct Practice specializations in Children, Youth & Families (CYF) or Mental Health with Adults (MHA). Find out more at

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