With more graduates flooding the workforce, the appeal of a postgraduate degree increases for those aspiring to improve their employment opportunities or changing the course of their careers.
While pursuing a Master’s or PhD is a huge financial investment, especially for international students, that shouldn’t necessarily be the primary reason stopping you from reaching your goal.
There are many funding opportunities, if you know where to look.
Here are some suggestions:
With the wide availability of merit-based and needs-based scholarships available, it’s worth casting your net out wide in the hopes of securing a scholarship, whether partial or full, as it can contribute to lowering the cost of your postgraduate studies.
Many universities also offer scholarships, bursaries or fee waivers, so keep your eyes peeled and do your homework.
Ask your employer
If you’re a working adult, you might want to consider this option.
Not all companies – especially successful small ones – advertise this, but some workplaces do offer to partially or fully pay for their staff to attend graduate school, assuming the new skills and knowledge you gain will benefit the company.
Chat with your employer or with human resources about this as part of your strategy to fund your postgraduate studies.
If they agree to fund your education, Investopedia notes that you may be asked to commit to staying with the company for a certain length of time, but to only sign a contract if you consider the time commitment acceptable.
Scholarships can be competitive, but there are always student loans to fall back on if you’ve failed to secure a scholarship.
Explore your country’s federal and private student loans before comparing the interest to help you make a decision. There are also platforms such as Prodigy Finance that offers a flexible loan for international students.
Do your homework and think thoroughly about your postgraduate degree’s return on investment before choosing this option, or risk being saddled in debt with a postgraduate degree that doesn’t benefit your career or help you increase your income.
Crowdfunding for a degree has long divided opinions. Critics argue that it serves as an “easy” way of depending on others to pay one’s way through university, rather than taking the effort to work one’s way through it.
Despite that, crowdfunding can be useful for students from the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder to pay their way through university without accumulating debt, especially if they have exhausted all other financing options.
While the process involves reaching out to the public for donations, crowdfunding involves a lot of ongoing effort in marketing yourself to ensure the campaign becomes a success.
Not everyone succeeds as various factors contribute to a campaigns’ success, so if you plan on going down this route, ensure you are willing to channel the time and energy to make it work.
Dip into your savings
Do you have a healthy amount of savings? Have you long reached your six-month or even 12-month emergency cash fund?
If you’re confident that you have enough cash for a rainy day as well as for your daily expenses, you can consider using your savings as an option to fund your advanced degree.
This way, you avoid accumulating interest and paying more for postgraduate education. This option is also worth exploring if your postgraduate degree is highly in demand among employers and has a good ROI, helping you to recoup what you’ve spent within a few years.
You may be able to pursue your Master’s degree at a very affordable price, depending on the country you go to.
Countries such as Argentina and Germany have public universities that offer programmes for international students, with students only paying a minimal fee or administrative fees as well as their living expenses, which can help keep students’ expenses low.
You can use multiple options such as scholarships, crowdfunding or student loans to cover any additional expenses.
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