By David Pekema
Sometimes, those four years of undergraduate education just ain’t enough. You want more learning, more one o’clock wake-ups, more not having a job. But how the hell are you going to pay for it
One year of graduate studies at a private university can cost over $40,000. Because attending a university in a “prostitution-friendly” state like Nevada isn’t for everyone (though I’ve heard UNLV has an excellent MBA program), you’re probably going to have to look elsewhere to foot the bill. Fortunately, there are many resources to subsidize another few years of schooling. Finding programs and ways to get money takes some research, and filling out applications takes some time, so try to avoid putting this stuff off until the last minute.
The Patron Approach (No, Not Mom and Dad)
Securing a master’s degree does not require quitting your jobs and moving back into the dorms. Companies are eager for their staffs to become better educated, and they will often contribute a portion—if not all—of your tuition payment.
Business-related fields (business, marketing, etc.) are the most common sources of employer-subsidized education. Architecture, engineering, journalism, and science firms also offer continuing education expense reimbursement. Some programs allow you to both work and go to school part-time, while others allow a full-time leave of absence from the office.
This is clearly a huge investment for your company, so they’ll understandably want to see a significant commitment from you before they start signing checks. A good rule of thumb is to wait a year before submitting this kind of request. This year of hard work lets your employer see your dedication to the company and your capacity for improvement. In exchange for this subsidy, employers will want you to agree to stay with the company for several years (usually a minimum of five).
There are other benefits of working for a bit before jumping directly into a master’s program: you build up a savings cushion, make sure you’re in the right profession, and give yourself time to really decide whether more education is in your best interest. Making the wrong decision about going back to graduate school is one of the biggest mistakes—both personally and financially—that you can make.
If your employer does subsidize fur...
By Christopher Schonberger
So you’re thinking about grad school, eh? If you’re looking into law school or business school , we’ve already got you covered. And if medical school is your dream, you probably started taking pre-med classes when you were a freshman (or you decided being a doctor was “stupid” after flunking Bio). But what about
all the other degrees out there? Where did those “Masters of Philosophy” and “Earth and Environmental Sciences Ph.Ds” that you see lurking around coffeeshops and college campuses come from? If you think you’re ready to go back to school but not exactly sure where or for what, this is the guide for you.
Why Go Back to School?
The decision to go to grad school is not all about standing up on your parents’ kitchen table and declaring boldly, “The keg is not yet kicked—college does not have to be over!” While no one seems to blink an eyelid when you’re wandering aimlessly through your undergraduate life, a worthwhile Masters or Ph.D. requires a certain degree of focus and purpose. There are three main reasons for this: 1) Grad school is another major expense at a point in your life when you probably have negligible income (and maybe a lot of debt). 2) Grad school programs usually have a (somewhat) clearer professional/career bent than undergrad degrees. 3) No one likes a lecherous “academic” who keeps going to college parties to scheme on young ‘uns.
That said, there are many good reasons to pursue further education. For example, if you’re at a job where your employer is willing to subsidize a degree, why not take advantage of their kindness? Indeed, the best reason to attend grad school is if it will help propel you toward your professional goals (on the flip side, it’s not so great for “figuring out if you like East Asian Studies,” for example). Another reason might be if you can study abroad and gain an opportunity for cultural immersion that you wouldn’t otherwise get, or if you’re making a drastic shift into a new industry and need to fill in the gaps in your experience. Finally, if you want to be an academic or professor in a given field, grad school is certainly worth considering (and often necessary).
The important thing to realize is that while a small number of professions require advanced degrees (e.g., you need a law degree to become certified to be a lawyer), most do not. And while a Masters or Ph.D. may be associated with higher-paying jobs and greater responsibility, there’s not always a direct correlation in every field (e.g., a journalism degree will no...