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You have a research topic and a project outlined and ready.
The only thing missing? Money.
Make sure the US graduate school you choose has the resources to bring your project to life.
Consider the graduate school’s reputation.
Is the graduate school known as a top US research university? If so, does that standing extend to your academic area?
You may receive money from the university or department’s endowments or funds, but be prepared to go in search of your own money.
To ease the process, check if the graduate school has staff dedicated to helping students find external funding or a database of funding sources that students can search. This could even be available on the school’s Web site.
Also ask if reimbursements are available for students presenting their research at conferences. How much? Does the school host any of its own conferences or events for students pursuing graduate studies?
Ideally you will receive a fellowship that will completely pay for your academic work or research in the US. If you don’t, be sure to find out what types of research assistantships and teaching assistantships are available to US graduate school students.
Teaching assistants lead classes or grade papers, and research assistants help with projects. In exchange for a certain number of hours of work each week, they receive some type of reimbursement or scholarship.
You may also be able to get small grants from various sponsors for your research or for an essay you’ve written. This won’t cover your entire tuition, but it may ease the burden.
All students in need of financial aid should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do this online, and the results will determine what type of government aid students are eligible for.
Also find out if your employer or a local organization will cover any of your US graduate school costs.
Money is important to research, but it isn’t everything. Depending on the focus of your research, you may ask the US graduate school you’re considering a number of questions:
Steady financial support for your research, whether it’s from your US graduate school or another source, will ease your mind and keep your project running smoothly.
But don’t discount the other types of support a school can provide. Your US graduate school will be challenging enough without having to worry about where to find data or whether your department offers up-to-date computer software!