How to Pay for Your Graduate Degree (MS and MBA) in 2022

Americans and millions of students from developing countries have dreams and aspirations of pursuing higher education (graduate degrees such as MS, MBA, Ph.D.) from developed countries such as the US. Often when we look around, students who wish to study abroad mainly drop their plans by looking at the cost of study in these countries. The numbers in most cases are intimidating and can make you change your decisions and negatively impact your dreams. 

How to Pay for Higher Education (MS/MBA) in USA

Co-authored by Pawan Somwanshi

The cost of higher education is not only daunting for international students but is also becoming a major issue for students and parents in the US. The USA has many wonderful education institutions and tons of study options for students around the world but is also becoming an expensive higher education option for everyone. Financial pressure makes students drop out of school or take high-interest loans, this hinders their financial future. 

Planning in advance is an essential step including being informed about tuition fees the university will charge, paying for accommodation, food, travel, and other expenses.

It is important for students to know that as difficult as it may sound there are many ways to tackle this problem, paying for your own education has never been more possible. There are a few things you can do to be able to pay for college by yourself if you are looking at pursuing graduate studies (18-24 months of the study program).

In this blog, we are going to share with you quite a few strategies to help you with just that.


The first step in your higher education aspirations is to think hard about your overall budget, especially for the first year of studies. While thinking about the budget, make sure you do not stretch yourself and be realistic about what you can afford.

One thing that every student should know is that there are more than a thousand good universities in the developed world that students can choose from.

Also, the university cost of education can vary anywhere from $25,000 per year to $100,000 per year based on the degree, university, location, and country of study. Given this wide range of options, there is always an outcome and solution if you are passionate, hard-working, and want to pursue your higher education from abroad or within your country.

Once you have decided on a realistic budget and range, you need to start thinking about how you would like to fund this budget. There are a number of ways you can achieve this through a mix of savings, family funding, scholarship, work-study option, and loans.


This probably isn’t the best option for many students as you would be applying for college in a year or two, but for those who have time at hand, this can possibly be the best option you have.

Saving your allowance if you are a school student, gigs money if you are a part-time freelance, or a part of your salary if you are a working individual can be very beneficial when the time comes to pay for your college. Even if it doesn’t seem much at the time of saving, but with enough time you can save enough to cover a significant part of your tuition.

Saving Options

Saving in a bank account is the most common practice but if you are acquainted with the knowledge of growing your money then instruments like mutual funds and stocks can help you get amazing returns on your principle, all you have to do is save whenever possible and let compounding do its job.  

As basic as this advice may sound it can work wonders if done right. You should try to aim for 20-25% of the first-year cost for graduate studies to come from the savings.

It can be more if you are planning to pursue an MBA and have worked for a few years. This can also be funded through family savings if your parents are willing to support your education. Learn how to pay for your MBA in USA.


This is something you must’ve been expecting to read when you clicked on the blog. Scholarships have been the best way to pay for education for students who believe and can prove their competence.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say almost all good colleges offer scholarships and the best part about it is that you don’t have to pay anything to get a scholarship. This makes applying for as many scholarships as possible an easy task. 

The coverage of scholarships is dependent on who is offering them and what is the qualification requirement. You can start looking for scholarships soon after you’re done with the university application process or even before that. It is true that most scholarships are merit-based but it doesn’t necessarily always has to be that way as other options like need-based grants & sports scholarships are available. 

Top Scholarships for Indian Students to Study Abroad

Every university and every country has a number of scholarships for high achieving students, especially in the fields of science and engineering. For example, here are a few scholarships for Indian students who wish to study abroad.

  • ISRO Young Scientist Program
  • National Talent Search Exam (NTSE)
  • CBSE Single Girl Child Scholarship
  • HDFC Educational Crisis Scholarship
  • Savitribai Phule Scholarship
  • Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship
  • Tata Scholarship- Cornell University, USA
  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship- UK
  • Felix Scholarships- UK
  • UBC International Leader of Tomorrow Award- British Columbia University, Canada
  • Melbourne – India PG Scholarship – Australia
  • Erasmus Scholarship
  • Chevening Scholarship
  • Fullbright Scholarship
  • UNESCO Scholarship

Research about the scholarships you are eligible for, make a list and try to apply to each one.

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As much as the above options may seem enough options but it’s not the case for everyone. Scholarships are offered to a limited number of students and not everyone is in a position to be able to save, considering these circumstances an education loan is the most sensible and reliable option one could opt for.

However, make sure that you do not stretch yourself on the education loan for a degree that may not enable you to pay it back. There are currently millions of students in the US who have borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars in loans from the federal government and are not in a position to pay these loans back. Each year you do not pay back the loan, the interest on these loans keeps adding up.

Education loan in the first go might seem a dangerous territory, the fear of not being able to pay it back might be a break for many & it’s completely fine to think that way. If you are confident about your future aspirations and have a plan then taking this step wouldn’t feel as difficult.

Tips on Availing Education Loan to Finance Your Degree Abroad

A few tricks to follow here are, taking a loan from a country you are planning to study in and opting for federal loans over personal ones.

Do remember if you are choosing to move forward with a private loan, getting the loan will depend on your credit score & in case your credit score isn’t good enough the chances of you getting the loan may be affected.

When deciding on a private loan do note the interest rates and do some calculations for yourself to arrive at a better decision.


In the US, there are a few FAFSA loan options for students and parents such as Subsidized federal student loans (interest only starts post-graduation), unsubsidized federal loans (low rate but interest starts when a student takes the loan), and parent-plus loans.

You can opt for a Study Abroad Loan through our Partners or contact us at to get unbiased advice on loans and what may be good options for you to look at.

Related Articles on Study Abroad Loans:

Education Loans for Indian Students to Study Abroad

Study Abroad Loan without Collateral


On-Campus Jobs

Getting a part-time job can be of great benefit for paying your college expenses. Many colleges offer part-time jobs to students in the college itself, it can be part of some programs. 

These part-time jobs in labs, on-campus may not provide you an income but may enable you to also get a subsidized tuition option. These jobs are easier for one to get once one is on campus.

This has been a very attractive option and way of funding their higher studies for millions of graduate international and domestic students in developed countries such as the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, etc.

Off-Campus and Freelance Jobs

If not, you can find work for yourself related to the subject you’re studying and the field you will be working in, this will not only help you pay for expenses by providing you with experience which can turn valuable when getting a full-time job in the future.

If you are good with some skills, freelancing is an option for you. You can also teach various art forms like singing, dancing, photography or painting if that is something you are interested in. Teaching online is also a convenient option you can opt for. 

In case you are not able to do any of the above, side hustles like becoming an uber driver, delivery person, or working at a call center are always an option.


The Covid pandemic made us switch to online education, giving us a chance to evaluate and consider it as an alternative to traditional education.

As more and more universities realize this, there have been many courses that are available online. Distance education as one would have called it a few years back has become the new normal. This mode of receiving education not only is very convenient and accessible but saves you a lot of money compared to traditional options. 

So if your course is offered online and you are comfortable taking it in that format, why not avail of this opportunity and save a lot of money getting the same education.

Final Thoughts

You can work through what works best for yourself, and take steps accordingly. Do thorough research about loans and scholarships before you apply.

I hope this blog must have helped you figure out ways you can pay for your education by yourself. I wish you all the best for this journey and your career ahead.

In summary, each and every student should have aspirations to pursue their dreams of higher education and if you need guidance, unbiased advice, feel free to contact the Stoodnt team at!

Featured Image Source: GoAbroad

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