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I have completed my bachelor's degree in urban and regional planing. Now I want to earn my master's degree too. How can I find programs that offer financial assistance and scholarships?

Taking your education to the next level is a great investment for your future and I commend you on setting this goal for yourself. If you are hoping to receive assistance through individual schools, including grants and scholarships, you will have to contact the financial aid departments of the schools you are interested in attending to find out your options.

The federal government, however, offers several student aid options for graduate degree seekers that I recommend looking into. I have outlined a few of these below to give you a sense of what is available for master's degree students.

Federal Work Study Program

  • This program provides part-time jobs that relate to your area of study
  • You must show financial need to qualify
  • Gives you job experience as well as financial aid

    Federal Perkins Loans

    • Graduate degree students can borrow up to $8,000 a year ($60,000 maximum)
    • Loan offers a low interest of 5 percent for students with great need
    • While the loan is made with government funds, you receive it through your school and repay your school.

    Direct PLUS Loans

    Federal Stafford Loans

    • You must be enrolled as at least a part-time student
    • Loan allows you to borrow up to $20,500
    • Interest rates are fixed at 6.8 percent or lower

    Grants and fellowships are also available to students pursuing a graduate degree. With some determination and research, I am certain that you will find a finance option that works for you as you begin working towards your graduate degree.