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How to find the best financial package for grad school?

Midwest67Midwest67 Registered User Posts: 2,348 Senior Member
CC was an enormous, life-saving help for D2's undergrad. It was here we found out that she qualified for a full ride at an OOS public flagship.

D2 is wavering between graduating this coming spring (3 years), or adding a minor and graduating in spring 2020 (4 years).

She's leaning towards taking the fourth year, maybe doing study abroad. Her attention is beginning to turn towards grad school. She is a CDS major (Communication Disorders & Sciences), and she will be applying to grad schools for SLP (Speech Language Pathology).

She says her advisor at the College of Health Sciences is just so-so. Her favorite professor in CDS recommends she focus on grad schools that have accredited programs & a good fit, and he recommends NOT over-paying for a big name expensive program.

So, I got the hang of running the NPCs for undergrad and hunting down the big merit money for her. Is there an equivalent for grad school? How does one know which schools are most likely to give a student some money? It will help her build her application list.

We are in Illinois, where the in-state options are not as inexpensive as some other states.

Thanks in advance.

Replies to: How to find the best financial package for grad school?

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,643 Senior Member
    Is she looking at Masters or PhD? Funded Masters in vocational-type programs (incl law, medicine, speech path) are pretty rare- there are scholarships, but they are usually a few thousand here and there.
  • Midwest67Midwest67 Registered User Posts: 2,348 Senior Member
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    One of my best friends is an SLP in New York State. She did borrow for her first year of her master's, but her second year was funded through a scholarship by the NYC Department of Education. She did have to commit to working two years in the DoE, but that was considered a plus (they helped her find a position after school!)

    For professional programs like SLP, the majority of students fund the majority of the program through loans or personal resources. Schools may offer small scholarships, but they usually aren't enough to put a big dent in tuition (although some schools may have one-quarter or one-half tuition scholarships).

    Sometimes, state or local education departments have either scholarships or service-cancelable loans that students can get. Illinois seems to be pretty skimpy on theirs: It's only $5,000, and it only kicks in if you have had some of your loans forgiven by the federal government's program. (https://www.forgetstudentloandebt.com/student-loan-relief-programs/federal-student-loan-relief/federal-forgiveness-programs/student-loan-forgiveness-programs-by-state/guide-to-illinois-student-loan-forgiveness-programs/). You might want to poke around and see if, say, Chicago Public Schools has such a program.

    Another thing she can consider doing is moving and establishing residency in a state that does have plenty of lower-cost SLP programs at their state's public universities (and maybe some scholarships). Here's a link to the one my friend got: http://www.teachnycprograms.net/getpage.php?page_id=59
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,643 Senior Member
    Lol, thanks @juillet - professional was the word I was looking for :-)
  • my2caligirlsmy2caligirls Registered User Posts: 934 Member
    I think for professional programs like SLP, the best "financial" option is typically your instate public schools. I have a D also looking at a professional allied health career after undergrad and have spent some time exploring options and guessing it is very similar to SLP. For us, getting into either of our instate public programs is an order of magnitude less expensive than competing options. As a result, instate public programs are typically extremely competitive to get into.

    A good strategy for applying might be to initially focus on the instate public options available as well as the somewhat affordable programs on a broader national basis. If you are not happy with your choices, you can repeat the same process the next year or look to establish residency in another state with ample low cost SLP programs as @juillet suggested. You may also want to look into if any neighboring states give a tuition break - I have seen this on a limited basis at the graduate level.

    Finally, since she is currently on a full ride, doing the 4th yr vs graduating after 3 may not be much of a factor. It may still make sense to apply to your instate public options this year and if she gets in she will have the choice to go or stay for her 4th year at her current school. Getting in to the instate public can be like winning the lottery so why not take a shot at it this year and next if desired.

  • Midwest67Midwest67 Registered User Posts: 2,348 Senior Member
    I'm following up on my own thread! ;-)

    I discovered the EdFind link at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.


    For each grad program for SLP, there are some basic stats for the school re: number of applications, number of offers, number of offers with funding (!!!), target class size, etc.

    Of course, it doesn't go into details on the funding, but some schools have zero offers with funding, some have a handful, and some have a lot of offers with funding.

    In addition, we learned that some SLP grad programs participate in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which guarantees tuition will not exceed 150% of the program's in-state rate --- which brought the cost of one program to about what it would cost for in-state Illinois!


    These two links turned out to be a good starting point for the application long list.

    I hope this helps anyone else reading!
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    edited October 23
    @collegemom3717 - still excellent advice! :)

    Thanks for coming back and following up on your own post, Midwest67!
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