Earning a Master’s in Psychology can involve 7 years of education in total, when you take into consideration the undergraduate level degree that is required to get into a Master’s program in the first place. This can add up over the years, particularly with the rising costs of tuition. However, psychology students are fortunate in that there are many different student aid outlets available to them. With a high demand for qualified psychology graduates, many professional organizations offer scholarships. Universities also have their own forms of financial aid to look into. The following are five of the top ways to finance your degree.
One of the most competitive yet beneficial options for funding a degree in psychology is with the help of scholarships. Unlike some other forms of financial aid, these do not need to be repaid in most cases. Although there’s no guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship just by filing out an application, you can increase your chances by researching the qualifications and instructions carefully for each. A great deal of scholarship money comes from colleges and universities, so student financial aid offices are the first place to look for these opportunities. Money may come from charities, private foundations, and government sources as well. The American Psychological Association offers numerous financial awards to students based on merit and/or need.
#2 Student Loans
One of the most common ways to fund a psychology education is with the help of federal student aid in the form of loans. Be sure to shop around for those that have the best repayment terms to save money. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step in applying for student loans. One benefit of getting a degree in the healthcare field is that oftentimes medical facilities will repay student loans as part of their employment package.
Grants are similar to scholarships, but they have slightly different eligibility requirements. While scholarships are usually granted on the basis of a general merit applications, sometimes including a personal essay, grants are usually awarded to fund a specific project. They are often awarded by non-profit organizations, although there are also government grants available to students, such as the Pell Grant. The American Psychological Association is another great source of funding when it comes to grants, including grants to help students involved with research.
#4 Work-Study Programs
Many schools will offer students the opportunity to work in the university, for tuition assistance as part of their financial aid package. Rather than working for regular wages, you would have the money you earned go towards your tuition. At the graduate level, there are many different types of jobs that psychology students could expect to do in a university. Some examples of these positions include:
- Residence assistants
- Research assistants
- Administrative assistants
- Teaching assistants
A benefit of work-study programs is that you not only receive tuition aid, but also work experience in your field in many cases.
#5 Graduate Assistantship
A graduate assistantship is very similar to work-study, in that the student will work within the university. In the psychology field, students will work as teaching assistants or research assistants to faculty members within their discipline, often in exchange for the full cost of tuition. While a work-study position would only pay for part of the tuition, graduate assistantships are more competitive and prestigious because they involve full funding. Students can expect to work for 20 hours a week in most cases, helping teach undergraduate classes or conducting research studies. Many students gain the additional benefit of being mentored by the faculty members they work alongside.