When planning to go to graduate school, one of the things that tends to give people the most trouble is money. The course fees and the cost of supporting yourself while you’re studying – known as maintenance – is not cheap; in the UK for example, home and EU students will normally spend anywhere between £5,000 - £10,000, with international students paying considerably more.
Below are some hints and tips for saving up to pay for further study. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so these may or may not work for you – but most of us have at least some opportunities for bringing in – and saving - some extra cash to put towards the fees and maintenance costs of a masters degree.
If you’re fortunate enough to have friends or family who own their own home, and have the space, then definitely consider moving in with them while you’re saving up. Rent is the biggest expense for most of us, so cutting this out of your monthly budget will speed things up considerably.
For many, this will seem like heresy, but alcohol is a big expense – cutting it out of your nights on the town will mean you can still spend time with your friends, but without eating into your study budget. Plus, this will come with a health benefit too!
Don’t try and store your education savings in with the rest of your money – it will be just too tempting to dip into it from time to time. Instead, create a special, dedicated savings account; ideally one like an ISA that gives you increased interest if you leave your money alone.
If you let your friends and loved ones know you are saving up, then why not ask them to contribute money to your education fund, instead of buying you gifts for Christmas and your birthday. They’ll be glad to support such a laudable aim as further study, and will be happy to give you something you actually want. There’s only so many pairs of socks a person can need, after all!
A new option for funding graduate study – that basically extends the principle of asking for money from relatives - is setting up crowdfunding pages. Sites like GoFundMe and Patreon are specially designed to allow people to raise money for personal goals. This approach is best suited to those who have a particular, compelling “story”– so try to think about what is it that makes your studies a worthy cause.
Many higher education institutions have special scholarships for sponsoring further study, especially for poorer or particularly gifted students. If you are eligible for funding of this kind, it will reduce the amount you need to save substantially. It’s vital that you check possible funding sources as early as possible, so you are able to plan accordingly.
Course fees can range from a few hundred dollars to more than 100,000 dollars, depending on the course and the university. But the costs are not always a good indicator for the quality of a course. Compare different courses from different universities and you will see great differences. Choose a course with a lot of value for money.
Study in Germany. German universities are (almost) all funded by the government. That's why they all have a similar, but very high standard. Because they are funded by the government most German universities are almost for free and studying in there can be a very good option if you would like to avoid large student debts.