Additional schooling is usually worth the investment, especially when it leads to a new, more fulfilling career.
When it comes time to pay for tuition, you may have more options than you realize.
Here are seven strategies to get you started.
Look into financial aid. At UW–Madison, you have a wide variety of financial resources at your fingertips. Begin by checking in with the program you’re joining, as it may have specific scholarships or funding options for its students. The Office of Student Financial Aid is also available to help you navigate the financial aid application process and to answer your questions at any time. They can also help you discover potential scholarships at UW–Madison through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).
Ask your employer to help. Some offer tuition assistance or scholarships, but they aren’t always advertised or well-known. Ask your human resources department if these perks are available to you. Even if they don’t have a formal program, some employers may set aside additional funds for employee development.
Scour scholarship databases. Fastweb and Peterson’s have searchable databases brimming with scholarship opportunities for grad students. Increase your chances of success by applying for scholarships tailored to your career path and distinctive aspects of your personal history.
Claim credit. An education credit helps with the cost of higher education by reducing the amount of tax owed on your tax return. If the credit reduces your tax to less than zero, you may get a refund. There are two education credits available: the American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) and the lifetime learning credit (LLC).
Apply for child care tuition assistance. Financial assistance for income-eligible parents enrolled at UW–Madison is available to help cover child care costs while students are in class or at work.
Choose loans wisely. The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, work-study opportunities, loans and scholarships. Begin by completing an online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form).
Private loans can fill the gaps, and some offer a surprisingly good rate. When shopping for private loans it’s important to compare interest rates, repayment terms and lender incentives.
Budget smart. GradReady is a free online financial wellness program that explores paying for college, money management and real-world finance. Get a jumpstart on planning your budget by creating your free account.