Now that you have decided that Graduate School is the right next step, here comes the hard part or infact the most important part of the entire study abroad process – the part how to fund for your Grad School. Let us explore the options available for graduate school financial aid which include scholarships, grants and loans.
To start with, the cost of graduate study can be overwhelming, simply to even think about. Depending on the location and circumstances, we may need to account for tuition fee, semester fee, student service fee, course material fee, food, travel, accommodation, visa and health insurance. While costs may be higher than ever, leading universities and national governments are focussing on ways of improving and increasing funding opportunities and their accessibility.
It is always good to start looking for funding while or even before we start applying to universities abroad as both processes require almost the same details as a part of their application process. For a candidate seeking admission in the Fall intake, the application for funding needs to be submitted by Spring of the same year.
While there are umpteen number of sources that are available for a Grad student, the most prominent ones include merit-based, need-based, university specific, course specific, subject specific, demographic specific, and ability specific scholarships.
The first places to check for funding opportunities are the Ministry / Department of Education in the host country. International students may not be eligible for all government funding schemes in the host country. Globally, typical government funded aid includes scholarships, loans, grants and bursaries. Each funding body has distinct rules and guidelines regarding eligibility, deadlines, application procedures and the amount of funding awarded.
Funding information is generally available online, and it is recommended to apply to as many schemes as possible provided the candidate checks criteria carefully to ensure fitment.
Scholarships are prestigious and are the hardest form of funding to acquire. Scholarships don’t need to be repaid and cover full or partial tuition fees sometimes along with a portion of the living cost. Scholarships are sometimes solely based on academic merit, although there are many specialized scholarships that are based on other impressive parts of the candidate’s profile.
- Teaching and Assistantships
Assistantships are provided to post graduate students in exchange for time spent working in a teaching or a research role. They may be funded by the university department or their supervisor’s research budget.
While the above two are the most important of all the sources available, candidates may consider other creative ways of funding their grad program. Some of those ways are as given below.
- Portfolio Funding
This involves securing small amounts of money from multiple sources. This can mean applying for all the types of funding mentioned. Student prepares a fund raising pack clearly stating who he is and what they will give back to the society or the individual they address.
- Part-time Opportunities
Students can choose to supplement their finances by taking up student jobs. But it is important to remember that every country has its own rules about the employment of international students. There could be limited working hours, location etc. Most campuses offer on campus jobs part time. This could include working at the cafeteria, student union, being the organizer of helper at universities, administrative roles, student tutor or advisor.
Students can use the university job shop unions which post ad hoc employment opportunities. Students can register online and regular newsletters are sent keeping students updated of latest vacancies. Dropping into local pubs or restaurants and asking for vacancies could be another option. Looking for Christmas jobs well in advance could also be of timely help.
For on campus jobs, students can apply immediately on entering the university. Some universities infact ask for your willingness even before you attend your orientation program. But for off campus assignments, students need to have completed 6 months of the course, before applying for the job.
The average per hour payable for campus or part times jobs would vary from one assignment to another. The table below could be used as a reference to understand the average per hour pay-out.
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