Graduate School: Just How Expensive is it?

The cost of graduate school varies widely depending on your field, area of study, and location, among other factors. When comparing schools and determining your budget, make sure you take all expenses into consideration and not only focus on tuition. Here are a few suggestions to help you out.

Tuition

Tuition is typically your biggest expense of the cost of graduate school. Law students can pay $11,000 to $52,000 in tuition each year, and business students can pay anywhere from $2,000 to $70,000 per year. Yearly tuition for medical schools can range between $8,000 and $72,000, and first-year students in dental school may pay between $6,000 and $72,000. A lot of elements determine the price of graduate school tuition, such as reputation, accreditation, placement services for students, and more. Also, keep in mind that private schools may be more expensive than are public schools, and in-state tuition is often much cheaper than what you pay if you live out of state. The cost of graduate school programs online also fluctuates, but these prices typically include the entire program up through graduation, as opposed to per-year pricing for traditional programs. Online graduate programs can range from approximately $12,000 to $147,000.

Textbooks and Supplies

It is important to remember that textbooks and other supplies are often not included within schools’ tuition rates. Lab fees, tools, books, and other materials could cost you anywhere from around $5,000 to over $15,000 per year. Research expenses may also come up, particularly in your last year, and could cost up to about $3,000, depending on your school and program.

Living Expenses

While in graduate school, you will also have to pay your own general living expenses, such as room, board, and transportation.  The cost of rent, mortgages, car payments, and other amenities depends on your individual needs.  If you are not employed while you are in school, you may also need to consider purchasing your own health insurance or, if offered, paying for health insurance through your school.  Health insurance could cost several thousands of dollars per year.  Don’t forget your other monthly expenses, such as your cell phone bill and internet service, which could become very important if you are considering online graduate programs.

To find out how expensive the cost of graduate school will be for you, try itemizing each expense in a spreadsheet. Recall that graduate school requires an incredible time commitment, so if you are currently employed, you may have to reduce your number of hours to handle your coursework. Consider this when determining what your expected income will be while you are in graduate school and if you will need to investigate scholarship, grant, stipend, and loan options. Having a better understanding of your specific potential cost of graduate school may help you find a graduate school which is better suited to your budget.

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