Federal Changes Could Mean Greater Higher Ed Costs

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Some students may face higher costs for graduate school after the federal government’s decision to end its subsidized loan program.

According to the Budget Control Act of 2011, as of July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students will start to accumulate interest on all their student loans while in school. For many cash-strapped students in this tough economy, an additional financial obstacle could keep them from pursuing graduate school.

Ohio University staff say they are aware of the strain this could cause for the graduate students they work with everyday. That’s why some faculty members are offering some simple tips that may help students save money — money that they can then put towards their education.

Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research in the Russ College of Engineering Shawn Ostermann says students should pursue graduate assistantship positions, which often include tuition waivers. But he adds that if a student isn’t lucky enough to land one of these positions when they first enter their program, they should try to impress their professors because some programs offer paid research opportunities.

Associate Director for Graduate Studies in the Scripps School of Journalism Michael Sweeney suggests the following:

– Split your rent by living with a roommate(s)

– Rent or check out books for class from the library

– Eat cheaply or cut back on eating out

– Look for programs that offer financial assistance

Sweeney said he noticed students trying to “save a dollar here and a dollar there” even before the new loan guidelines were announced. He said he suspects now that attending graduate school might be more expensive, students’ “ways of pinching pennies (are) only going to increase.”