153: 6 Ways to Pay for Graduate School

Asking ‘How do I pay to further my education?’ is like asking, ‘How do I lose weight or, ‘How do I learn a new language?’ There are a ton of answers, and there’s never one clear path. The good news is that you don’t even have to sink yourself in student loans while paying for higher educaiton. All you have to do is implement some of the strategies that we highlight in today’s talk, and you’re good to go. However, it won’t be easy because you’ll need to be committed, do a ton of research, sacrifice, and even compromise your independence. Yet, it will all be worth it in the end. 

Shymika’s Journey Into Entrepreneurship – 07:45

While everyone might dream of one day going to graduate school, the application process alone can kill even the wildest dreams and the toughest convictions, especially when you’re a first-gen. Shymika is originally from a very remote background where nobody knew how to best apply for college. She had to figure it all out independently and impressively apply for ten scholarships, all with the limited resources at her disposal. Her mother was anti-student loans, and so she had to go through undergrad without student loans, a decision that she came to appreciate later in life. After graduating, Shymika started working for an NGO where her primary role was helping first-gen students from poor economic backgrounds to prepare for college. It was during her time with the NGO that she developed a passion for working in the college consultation field.  

How To Choose Graduate School Programs – 13:41

In grad school, Shymika was still against the idea of student loans and so was forced to work and still make it to class. At the time, she was still working for the NGO and wanted to go back to school to gain the necessary knowledge to boost her chances of landing an executive position with the NGO. As time went by, she did get offered an executive position, but her interests had already shifted, and she was only interested in building her own venture. 

How To Pay For Graduate School – 17:39

When it comes to paying for grad school, different techniques work for different people. Shymika went through grad school without student loans and obviously has a lot of experience as to how you can do it successfully. To start us off, there’s an educational IRA. The first thing that comes to mind when people hear about IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) is retirement. However, there are several different IRA types, and you can start depositing funds into an account as soon as you start thinking of going back to school. The striking thing about these accounts is that they gain interest over time and are offered in most banks around the country. So, even though you don’t know what to pursue in grad school, it pays to start saving as early as possible. 

Graduate School Scholarships – 21:48 

Scholarships are the most common ways in which people pay for graduate school. Yet, unlike high school scholarships, grad school scholarships are a little harder to find. Nonetheless, if you take time and dig deeper, you’ll realize that there are scholarships for practically anything; it’s just that they don’t advertise them enough. 

Tuition Reimbursement – 23:58

Many companies offer to pay tuition fees for their employees in exchange for company loyalty. While this might sound like the deal of a lifetime, always ensure that you read through the fine print before signing anything. A good example of that was Shamyka’s company, which demanded an employee stay at the company for a two-year minimum period after graduating and retain the same position for those two years. Even with those unreasonable demands, they still only paid less than 50% of her tuition per semester. So, before you even think of signing any document with your company, make sure that the amount they are willing to pump into your education is worth your loyalty. 

You Can Always Go Home – 29:34

Going back home will require that you give up your independence and be humble enough to accept your current condition. Of course, your parents or guardians will have to agree to your decision and your school of choice will also need to be nearer home. Going back home is a big way to save money for college as it reduces your costs and helps you focus on your studies. 

You Can Pay For It Yourself – 32:14 

If your financial situation allows you to pay for graduate school, then you are in luck because you’ll avoid applying for student loans and have an easier time staying in school. However, if you don’t have the money, you can work either full-time or part-time to raise the amount, which will again need you to know your limits and balance your school and work time. The other good thing is that some universities offer installment options where you can pay a certain percentage of your fees and pay the rest in installments throughout the semester. They will, of course, charge a fee, but it’s usually negligible, say $20 or $50.

Shymika Stephenson-Davison is a proud native of Vivian, Louisiana and first generation college graduate. She obtained her bachelor of Business Administration from Northwestern State University (Louisiana) and Master of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University. She is owner and lead consultant of PreCollege Solutions, a college readiness consulting company and works as a mentoring coordinator for a local nonprofit. 

Besides being a wife, dog, and chicken mom, and vegetarian, she participates in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.-North Central Texas Chapter’s Social Action Committee. Connect with Shymika Stephenson-Davison on LinkedIn

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