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3 Easy Tips to Follow to Score Financial Aid for Grad School

Easy Financial Aid Tips for Grad School

You’ve been accepted into the graduate program of your dreams — or maybe you just applied and you’re positive that you’ll make the cut. Either way, this investment will open up a myriad of professional opportunities. Now, you need to determine how you’ll fund your education.

Financial aid is more within reach than you think. Follow these simple steps to score the funds needed to make your academic and professional dreams a reality:

Get Started Early
It’s never too soon to start tracking down scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid. Begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You’re probably familiar with this annual form; it was a staple during your undergraduate days. It remains just as relevant now that you’re attending grad school. The form became available for the 2018-2019 school year on October 1st — well ahead of past release dates. With FAFSA available so early, there’s no excuse not to get started.

Once you’ve completed FAFSA, you should have a better idea of your eligibility for federal funding opportunities. This can help you determine the level of scholarship funding, employer assistance, or personal payments needed to cover tuition and other expenses. Start applying for scholarships and grants immediately; some maintain deadlines a full six months before the school year begins.

Aim for Employer Funding
Are you returning to school at your employer’s behest? Could the skills you gain as a graduate student make you more valuable as an employee? Employer funding may be an option. Chat with your company’s human resources department to determine whether your organization assists employees with graduate education — and whether you might be eligible. Many large corporations (and some small businesses) offer generous tuition assistance programs.

If your employer doesn’t maintain an official tuition program, don’t give up. Make a case for why you deserve assistance and how it will ultimately benefit your employer. Do your research. Which courses will you take and what skills will you gain? How will this newfound knowledge make you a more effective employee? Highlight your commitment to the company and your past accomplishments. Make it crystal clear that you’re worth the investment.

Continue to Seek Financial Aid
Don’t end your hunt after you attend your first graduate course. New scholarships or loans may become available or you may begin working for an employer willing to assist with your academic expenses. Continue to pursue all avenues, using recent accomplishments from your first semester to demonstrate why you’re worthy. Some scholarship providers or employers actually prefer already-enrolled students who can demonstrate a track record of grad school success.

Financial aid is well within reach if you get started early. Seek assistance from a variety of sources to maximize your chances of scoring scholarships, grants, or low interest loans. Persistence is key; if you advocate assertively for yourself, you’re bound to score the funding you deserve.

For more information on how ACU Online can help you pursue your career goals, contact us at 855-219-7300 or acu.edu/online.

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