Picture this: you’re over-the-moon excited about getting accepted into graduate schools for an MPH. You’re so ready for your next adventure and you’re already thinking about all the things you plan to accomplish. Then, a thought completely takes over all this excitement. “How in the world will I pay to become more educated AND live!?” Does that sound like a familiar experience? Many of us have been in this exact scenario. Selecting a graduate program while also taking funding and finances into consideration can be a super stressful time but, as a current Rollins student, I can help ease some of these stressors. I am here to share some helpful tips about financing your graduate education!
- First thing’s first: apply to receive student loans on time and better yet, early. Graduate school loan consideration is different from the undergraduate experience and applying as early as possible gives you more financing opportunities! Now you can submit your FAFSA application as early as October.
- As you probably know, a lot of public health career opportunities are within the federal government. Among all the options that exist for student loan repayment, it is worth looking into and seriously considering whether or not the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program would be a good option for you. This program forgives the remaining balance of your loans after you have made a certain number of qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a government or not-for-profit organization.
- Do your research early and explore creative opportunities for compensation like working for Residence Life on-campus, a teaching assistant for undergraduate as well as graduate courses, or reaching out to Rollins professors about academic and even non-academic funding ideas they may have while you are studying at Rollins. Just last summer as I was completing my part-time practicum, I found a paid teaching assistant position by reaching out to some undergraduate professors. A little extra income can go a long way!
- Although Atlanta is an affordable city compared to others with public health graduate programs, it doesn’t hurt to consider various options when it comes to living in the city. Take advantage of the social networks you become a part of upon acceptance and speak to other prospective students about their housing thoughts and ideas. Many students find their roommates this way and it’s a great way to make some new friends! Emory also has off-campus housing resources to help you find an apartment and roommates.
As a current student, I know affording graduate school may seem like a crazy thought but remember you are investing in a bright and successful future! Rollins has a strong return of investment for many reasons including the once-in-a-lifetime networking and internship opportunities available to us as students, the wide range of skills-based courses we can immerse ourselves in, and being part of a city with a booming public health environment. Getting an MPH is no small accomplishment or responsibility, especially when it comes to finances, but if there’s a will there’s a way and if you really do your research, the way is out there for sure!