I got accepted into grad school. How to afford?
March 10, 2009 12:32 PM Subscribe
I got a phone call telling me I got accepted to grad school. Trying to work out funding options before the package gets here and whether it's worth it (sorta complicated situation, details inside). Help?
posted by actionpact to education (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, so I applied to one school-- the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. A bit atypical, but I applied for their Illustration as Visual Essay MFA, and I applied based on the program rather than just the degree, so hopefully that makes sense. I live in Arizona right now and work as a freelance illustrator; while of course I don't need the degree to do what I do, the program and all its networking and focus seem like they could really push my skills and help my career in the long run. I got a phone call yesterday telling me yes, I got accepted and I'll be receiving more details in the mail next week. Of course though, I'm impatient and want to get the ball rolling to find out any financial options I have.
1) While I know SVA does have some merit based fellowships, they don't have a heck of a lot of options besides loans. Everyone I've talked to has mostly loved the program but have admitted it's expensive. (For the record, it's about $30,000 for '09-10, and I believe tuition will go up a bit the next year.)
2) Unlike a lot of my friends, I went to school in-state and while I did have debts, it's around $17k versus the $80-100k they had. So for two years incurring maybe $60-65k of debt... I don't know. I hear that it's the good kind of debt though?
3) Due to my
laziness frustrations with doing my taxes, I only submitted my FAFSA on the 6th of this month. The SAR says my EFC is $1961. (While my career has been growing, I'm still not well off yet) Which as far as I know means I have a lot of financial need. I don't know if that'll make much of an impact or what?
4) I just looked on the school website and found out that the optimal filing deadline for the FAFSA was February 1. Unfortunately, the website and catalog don't always match up so I wasn't aware and the site is not the best laid out. Which means I'm potentially screwed if there's no funding.
5) I do know one of my professors (she decided to send me an open copy for my file) wrote a glowing letter and specifically suggested if they had scholarships that they consider me for it. I don't know if professors usually do that, but it seemed really nice anyhow...
6) Since I'm self-employed I can't do tuition reimbursement or anything. I do have a part time job that offers college scholarships but it's only for undergrad.
7) There just aren't a heck of a lot of arts fellowships that I can find. But maybe I don't know where to look? I have checked out Fastweb and their brethren, but I never find much. I do know that Threadless has a scholarship, which I think I'm going to try for (SVA does match outside scholarships by 25%, so)...
So I'm wondering hivemind: what can I do in the meantime? I know next week I'll receive more details, but I'm trying to get the jump on alternate funding. Is there something I'm not thinking of?
And I'm also wondering your opinions re: the debt vs. value of going. I know it's a lot of money and while it's not going to get me one job that can justify it, the building upon my skills and the networking with a lot of industry people in New York could turn into a lot of jobs and different avenues of projects down the road. (For those who don't know, it's more of a practical vs. theory-based MFA) It seems like a good thing for me. So to me it seems worth it to invest in my future for two years (and then unless I did find some kind of steady employ there, I'd probably leave). But I can't tell if I'm nuts.
Thanks! I know this is a little more complicated than your standard grad school AskMe thread (I did read a ton of them too, so sorry if it retreads a common question), but hopefully it makes sense. I can respond to questions as needed.