Money money money money…some people gotta have it, some people really need it. It’s only fitting to begin this post with the lyrics of renowned soul group The O’Jays from their hit song For the Love of Money. These lyrics definitely describe graduate students’ sentiments regarding funding our graduate education. Graduate school is not cheap, and it sure is not free! But don’t be alarmed! What’s the best way to fund your education? SImple. Get someone else to pay for it.
Of course, this does not mean that you can simply approach a department or faculty member and say, “I want to get a graduate degree. Will you pay for it?” (Good luck with that). There are a few important things to remember as you seek out funding for your program:
- Start EARLY! There is no such thing as “too early” when searching for funding. As a matter of fact, the earlier the better! Usually around this time of year, you’re visiting institutions (maybe for a second or third time), scoping out the lay of the land and making sure you have all of the pieces in order. During those visits, make connections and ASK QUESTIONS regarding funding. You never know what can happen as a result of it.
- Speaking of connections, talk to faculty members about funding opportunities. Although they may not be involved with the intricate details like stipends and fee remissions, they can still point you in the direction of key people who are in charge of those aspects of funding. Inquire about research assistant positions and associate instructor positions. Faculty members are so busy and many of them would love to have a graduate student help them with research and teaching.
- When it comes to funding, exhaust all options! It’s ok to look beyond your program. My current position as a graduate assistant with the African American Arts Institute is housed under the Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs unit, not the School of Education. They were able to fund me for my first 2 years. Don’t rule out other departments on campus.
My final advice to you as you go out and conquer the hunt for the “mean green” is to not stress! Looking for funding options may get a little overwhelming but the great thing about IU is that there are individuals in certain units who would love to fund you and aid in your quest for a graduate degree. Seek out those people, ask where they are, and go find them. Take it from me. It will work out in your favor! 🙂