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I've finished my undergrad not long ago but have been planning on attending graduate school and I would like to enroll within the next 2 years. With my undergraduate education I had finicial help from my parents, however, with my Master's I will have to do this on my own. The programs I am looking into require me to be full time and I know it will be difficult to work. I have a good job at the moment where I can save up some money for college but what's the best way to take care of all the expenses I will encounter? I don't mind living on campus, etc if this can cut down on my expenses.

feel free to email me with your suggestions:
lewis_jimmy@hotmail.com
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I know that many graduate programs (the one I took) provide at least some money for their students. I would check into that first. Even if you are full time, can you still do part time work to support yourself?
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Well, Silicon Valley has an outrageous cost of living and I've heard that Stanford's student housing is difficult to get into due to the high cost of off-campus apartments. Definitely look into the cost of living there and consider that when deciding whether Stanford is the place for you. I think two bedroom apartments in Silicon Valley are now going for around $2400/mo. It may be that you could get just as good of an education at a school that wouldn't cost quite as much.

Also, if your grades and test scores are good, you should be able to get some kind of tuition assistance whether it be a grant, TA position, work-study etc. The general rule of thumb is that the school should pay for at least part of your costs for a graduate degree.

If you aren't so lucky as to get some tuition assistance, then subsidized student loans are a good option as long as you are planning to work for money once you get out of school and don't spend the loans frivolously. Also, programs where you work part time and take classes part time are great -- I know that Stanford does have a program like that. A part time program is an especially good idea if you can get a job with a company that is willing to pay for your tuition. This works especially well in the technology fields.

Definitely apply to a few graduate schools. You may find that they are willing to "bid" to get you by offering competitive monetary assistance. My husband got his graduate school (one of the top-notch ones) to pay for his entire schooling and living costs by telling them he was considering a competing school (which he was).

Best of Luck,

Teresa
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While you work (before school), live well below your
means since you will have to cut back on your spending while attending school. Living in a less-desirable but still safe neighborhood, having a roommate, keeping the credit cards in check, etc can all help.

In addition to looking for loans and grants, look for
SKILLED work on campus....tutoring undergrad students or working as a graduate assistent or working at the
computer lab help desk. Also look around to see if a
company will hire you and PAY FOR IT (that is how I
got my masters....worked full time and went to school part time with the company paying).
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You don't say what program you will be in, but I can tell you this -- if it's a program that offers both Ph.D. and Master's degrees, most of the funding probably goes to the Ph.D. students and to the Master's students who plan to proceed directly to the Ph.D. program .

The thing to do in this case is to apply for the Ph.D. program to which many institutions (sorry not sure about Stanford) will admit you with the understanding that you will complete the Master's, there, first, as it is a prerequisite. This will likely place you in a sort of "middle" category if it works; not a Ph.D. student but an aspirant and thus qualifying for more funding than "just" a Master's student.

After all, who knows, you might go on to pursue the Ph.D. (not a good decisions financially in many fields, BTW). If not, you can leave after the Master's -- they cannot make you stay.

Good luck,
HB
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