“How am I going to pay for this?”

Last week I had a comment on my post about financing your education.  That comment really deserves its own post.  When deciding any Master’s program, it is very important to factor in the big question of “How am I going to pay for this?”

Not all graduate programs are created equal in the costs.  And to my initial surprise, many online programs are just as, if not more expensive than tradition programs.  One of the online programs I had researched was $89,000 in tuition.  http://onlinemba.unc.edu.  Several of the factors include the length, location, and prestige of  the program.

When factoring in the costs and fees associated with starting a graduate program; don’t forget about the $250 fee of taking the GMAT (and the possible fees associated with purchasing study material for the GMAT), application fees, the fees associated with requesting transcripts for your applications, acceptance fees, travel costs, tuition and fees, parking passes, and of course, books and course material.

When searching for schools, speak with your employer (if you are employed) and see if there is any assistance available.  Some employers will pay for some or all of the fees associated with continuing your education.  That being said, there may be some stipulations to their assistance, such as only attending certain schools, or only taking classes online or on weekends.  This may narrow your search.  I am very fortunate to work for Ohio State which offers some tuition assistance.

If this is not an option, review your financial position and determine your next steps.  Financial aid is available as well as some programs do offer scholarships or loans.  Don’t let the costs and fees associated with furthering your education get you down, the benefits of your investment will outweigh the costs.

2 thoughts on ““How am I going to pay for this?””

  1. I think those are all very valid points. I read the comment you referenced and one thing that they also have to consider is that you’re not paying that amount all at once. I just graduated with my MLHR degree, coming straight from undergrad. I’m very proud of the fact that I graduated with both degrees without ever having to take out loans. I know this is very much in the minority, but being very budget-conscious is a must. OSU also (for a fee) allows monthly payments throughout the quarter, instead of a lump sum at the beginning of classes. It’s good to look at that, too. Great points/advice!

  2. Firstly, I appreciate you taking the time to write this blog however I think another post on this topic may be needed. The question posed in the title was only answered in the final two paragraphs with ‘speak with your employer’, ‘scholarships’ and ‘financial aid’. I believe these are important enough topics to dive into a little further.
    For instance, a single working professional currently earning 50k/year looking to attend full-time may need a little help understanding how they will pay for their condo mortgage, car payment, food & utilities plus the additional costs listed above for tuition, books, etc. I am coming from a position of ignorance here, so I apologize if this seems simple to some people. How does the FASFA or other organizations consider the income that you are currently earning (assume 50k) but will be forfeiting to attend school? Will they give grants or loans for non-school expenses such as housing and transportation which you are locked into?

    This also leads into the expected ROI and the assumption above that ‘the benefits will outweigh the costs’ is highly presumptive. A person earning $70k pre-MBA is giving up 2 years of salary plus raises in exchange for $86k median graduating salary minus the costs of the education (~$70k). Assuming 4% per year growth for non MBA and 6% growth for with MBA, the break even date is about 11 years down the line. Lots of assumption, I agree, but none are outrageous. I’m not sure how to account for increased promotability after an MBA or a promotion ceiling without-MBA.

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