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How to Determine the Real Cost of Graduate School

Ana-Marcela Lopez / Abound: Grad School »

If you’re thinking about pursuing a master’s degree, you might be wondering if you can afford it. Before you can answer that question, you have to know how much it will really cost. Unfortunately, knowing the true cost of a graduate program is not as simple as it could be. There’s more to the bottom line than just the tuition and fees, so how do you figure out the cost? Here are 5 helpful tips to determine the cost of your graduate program: 

1. Add up everything 

In order to know the true cost of your graduate degree, you have to add up all of the expenses you will incur. Colleges often boast a cost per credit on the functional cost of attendance. But with textbooks, living expenses, technology fees,and other necessities, the true cost of a graduate program can be much higher than you expected. 

Navigating the financial aid process can be challenging to do on your own, which is why you should reach out to the financial aid office at your institution. They will be able to help you make sense of what aid you will receive, and what it can be used for, such as personal expenses

Abound: Grad school Elmhurst University strives to make its graduate programs as affordable as possible through competitive credit rates, alumni vouchers, and various forms of financial aid. 

2. Measure the costs. 

What is the average cost per credit hour for graduate school? Does it depend on the program? How long is the program? The total cost of earning your degree will depend on the length of the program. Naturally, the more time you are in school, the more you will pay. Luckily, there are plenty of accelerated options that will help you earn your degree faster, saving you money in the long run. 

Lewis University offers high quality, flexible, and accelerated graduate programs. Some of which can be completed in as fast as two years. Other features include 8-week courses, small classes for personalized attention, and career-focused curriculum.

3. Know what you can afford. 

What is a reasonable cost per credit hour? (The answer is going to depend on what you deem as affordable – and whether you’ll be working part-time ) While you can most certainly expect a higher salary after graduation, it’s still important to have a reasonable budget. An advisor in your institution’s financial aid office can help you determine what is in your budget.

4. Look for financial aid

Did you know you can file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA for graduate programs? Yup, even as a grad student, you’re eligible for federal aid. There are a few differences between your undergraduate and graduate application, such as your independent status, but the process is quite similar. This means it’s quick and free to apply for money to put toward your education. Your institution will use your student aid report (SAR) to determine what kind of aid you are eligible for and dole it out accordingly.

5. Look for funds elsewhere:

Sometimes your federal aid isn’t enough. But don’t despair, your next choice doesn’t have to be more student loans. There are so many creative ways to find funding for your education. And the best part? Some of these options don’t have to be repaid! Here are some easy ways to look for extra cash:

    • Scholarships: Scholarships and grants are just as plentiful for graduate students as they for undergrads. Take some time to apply to as many as possible. Not sure where to look? We can help! We’re constantly searching for scholarships for our students. Check out our partner for graduate scholarships up to $25,000! From special attribute scholarships to scholarships funded by celebrities, Bold has something for every student. 
    • Employer reimbursement: Employers know that your value only increases as you advance your education, so it’s in their best interest to support you. See if your employer will foot the bill for your degree! 
    • Alumni vouchers: Colleges offer tuition discounts or class vouchers for alumni. Elmhurst University undergraduate alumni have the opportunity to take their first graduate course for free. Any Elmhurst University alumnus or alumna interested in pursuing a graduate program gets a free class voucher. Think of it as a loyalty reward card for returning to your alma mater! 


We hope that these tips will help you get one step closer to a high quality graduate program that won’t break the bank! More About Abound: We’re here to help. Abound: Grad School narrows down your options and gets you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.


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