An advanced education can be overwhelmingly expensive for the average man.

Unless you have a trust fund and ins at a local university, sometimes it can seem like an impossible dream.

However, there are many ways to obtain a budget-friendly degree: here are several ideas for future Master’s holders.

Negotiate Like a New York Diplomat

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U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

Never believe the dollar sum that shows up on the admissions form. Like many other things in life, college fees, tuition and taxes are often negotiable. Especially if you are a good candidate, finance departments are willing to take a second look if you take the initiative to make a counter offer.

Get your ducks in a row first, though! Make yourself a good candidate:

  • Find out what makes you unique in the future class
  • (background, religion, race, experience, age, etc), and sell it.
  • Dress appropriately when you approach the financial officers, and be polite.
  • Know the facts. Research the college admissions process, typical fees and tuition, and number of scholarships still on the table.
  • Be flexible. Even if you don’t want student work as a first choice, be willing to consider it as a means to get in.

Save the Hassle: Study Online

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Oregon State University

No one considers the hidden prices behind the sticker price of advanced degrees. However, the cost of gas, time it takes to commute, taxes involved in being an on-campus student, and other expenses really add up for people on a budget. Attending graduate school or college online makes more and more sense as employers become more Internet savvy, and online educations become more serious.

Forget the cost of housing. Forget what the textbooks cost per semester on campus. From the music education colleges on getarealdegree.com to the online coursework offered by individual universities, online classes make sense. When you study online everything is clear-cut and easy (including the commute to the couch).

Pick Up Pennies Off the Table

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JoshuaDavisPhotography

While the time-spend of earning grants and winning scholarships can seem daunting upfront, it pays off in the end. Time spent studying harder for admissions tests can mean more dollars, more attention from admissions, and better rankings in classes.

So, if you want to have an advanced degree without breaking the bank, study hard and gather every single grant and scholarship application you can. Never let someone else prosper because you’re lazy.

Work²

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Cell105

Working while you work on a degree is smart. No one should need all 168 hours of the week to study coursework: it’s just not that hard (not even at the PhD level). While people fear it, you’ll never fall asleep on the job out of exhaustion!

Get a part-time or full-time work that supports your future career ambitions and begin to prove to future employers that you were serious long before your classmates. Not only will this put you ahead of other graduates of the same class during hiring processes, but it will also help you keep a positive bank account statement.

By being smart and working hard you can save thousands (or even tens-of-thousands) of dollars on your graduate degree. Nothing says smart like paying $23K less than your friend for the same Master’s degree.

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