Paying for graduate school
May 10, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out the best way to finance graduate school abroad.

This may be a bit of a premature post (as I haven't heard back from all of my institutions yet), but here it goes anyway...

I will be attending graduate school in Japan this fall (getting an MA in international relations). Though I already have some money saved up, it isn't nearly enough to cover everything (not just tuition, but living costs, food, transport, etc).

In all likelihood, I will be getting some portion of my tuition discounted by the university, and will also be able to hold a part-time job on campus in addition to some teaching assistantships. Regardless, this is only a minor amount of money coming in, compared with how much will be going out.

So I need to figure out the best way to finance this. I'm looking for advice on specific banks and loans, as well as advice on financing (international) graduate school in general. This is something that I really want to do, and I recognize the major amount of debt it will be putting me under, so any general comments on the matter (positive or negative) would be great. I'm basically looking for advice on financing graduate school. Help!
posted by dead_ to Education (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
if english is your first language, teaching private english lessons on the side in japan is a very easy way to make additional money.
posted by modernnomad at 8:38 AM on May 10, 2007

Depending on your school, the usual array of subsidized and regulated loans (Stafford etc) are available.

General comments:

Do not go to an academic MA program. Unless you know for certain that you can use the degree -- as in, you are already employed in a field such that you have in writing that earning an MA will increase your salary -- they're not much use.

If you're thinking about academic graduate programs, never go to one that doesn't give you a full ride + stipend, with some quibbles here and there.

Put together, this means that even if what you really want is an MA in IR, don't enter an MA program in IR, since MA students are ~never funded. Enter as a PhD student and bail after you receive your MA. Manipulative and maybe dishonest if that's your intent from the get-go, but these are the incentives that are put in front of you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:00 AM on May 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

In my British MA program, I was able to get both US government Stafford loans AND private loans from Bank of America.

The financial aid office at my UK university had to get a copy of my FAFSA SAR and they had to confirm with both the FAFSA people and Bank of America that I was enrolled.
posted by k8t at 9:55 AM on May 10, 2007

I second the suggestion to teach English. Depending on my foreigner dense your area is, you may have some luck with sites such as Find A Teacher. I'd recommend writing your profile in both English and Japanese.

On a student visa, I believe you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week legally, so part time English conversation school is a decent option too.

Or you could be a host.
posted by ejoey at 8:20 AM on May 13, 2007

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