It’s not question whether higher education is outrageously expensive or not, especially for those who pursue careers that require more than a Bachelor’s degree, like Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout my search I’ve seen some schools charge as much as $60,000+ for the 2.5 or so years of extra education needed for this field. Sorry, there’s no way I can begin to afford even thinking about the debt from that. For that to remotely even out I’d have to either run away to the circus with a dancing monkey, or pray that I managed to get a crazy scholarship amount of 50% or more in order to attend. Well, maybe I got a little carried away there. Some schools do hand out scholarships of up to 75%, which is great. Despite that, it’s a slim chance I’ll be getting that high of an amount. There’s also the fact that more money is handed out to doctoral students, slimming those chances even more.
Luckily, for those who are willing to put in some extra “time” and work, there are some other options for funding. There are some scholarships and grants available, but I’m not here to discuss those today. Instead, I’ve come across some unique opportunities for finding the needle in an intimidating large haystack that is limited educational funding.
First: State Department of Education Scholarships. There are several states, like New York, whose Department of Education will pay you to get your Master’s degree. The catch? Well, there are quite a few, nothing outlandish, but things to consider:
- For the NY Dept. of Education (and most likely all other participating state’s education departments), you must attend one of the schools they designate as an affiliate of the program, all of which are in-state.
- You must accept your spot in one of the schools before you are told if you receive the money. This may not be an issue for some cheaper schools, but those like New York Medical College, where tuition is quite a bit higher, this can be a problem for some. (But if you get the scholarship, then no problem!)
- I should’ve mentioned this first. You have to go through an application process. It’s not simply an apply and you will receive the money. There’s paperwork and interviews and such.
- As part of the agreement, after you are finished your education, you must serve at a high-need school for X amount of years. This may vary by state; I believe it was 6 years for New York. I’m not sure if they assign a school to you or you get to pick from a list.
Second: Federal Dept. of Education Scholarships. This one I know less about, but I’ll tell you what I do know. It’s similar to the state scholarships in that they will payfor your education. In addition to that, your end of the deal is working 10 years in a high-need school. Other than that I’m not sure how the process goes or what universities take part in this exchange.
Third: US Military. There are a couple of ways that I’m aware of for this. You may either complete ROTC while in college so that you may study while training and then do reserves or active duty for some years after. Or you may do training/ reserves/active duty before you enter into college, that way you can focus on education later. (There is the option of school then military, but I’m not sure if they reimburse your education that you do prior to your involvement in the military.)  Both options require serving for some time. Some people actually stay and become an officer and work for the military in their respective field.
Fourth: Unique University Scholarships/Grants. Some schools may give you a stipend, pay some of your education or pay all of your education if you partake in a program of theirs. One such example is a grant offered by Western Carolina University where graduate SLP students take 18 extra credits for training that covered the topic of providing SLP services to children with severe disabilities. As part of the agreement students “receive one year of in-state tuition and some professional development,” while in return they “commit to serve people with severe and other disabilities for two years and to mentor at least five people in communication services for people with severe disabilities.” You may want to check into universities that interest you to see if they have any grants or scholarships similar to this.
Fifth: Other. There are several other loan repayment options that are available. Some are available for those in the medical sector, others for educational settings. Many states have loan repayment programs as well. For a list of these, and other possibilities, check out this article’s compilation of money-savers. ASHA also lists MANY options for loan forgiveness and the like, so you might want to take a look . There are also different funding options available by state, which you can view here .
Of course there are pros and cons to all of these options. It’s up to you to figure out what yours are and which ones weigh heavier than others. Hopefully one of these, or receiving scholarships from your prospective schools will help your financial woes. Best of luck to all applicants!
Do you know of any other ‘random’ or ‘unique’ graduate school funding opportunities? Perhaps a business hat may offer scholarships in exchange for working several years for them? Or certain states/schools will give in-state tuition to out-of-staters in exchange for something? Or, better yet, money without any catches? (Doubt it, but worth a try! haha)
1. Scholarships, Incentives and Special Programs. (n.d.). Teach NYC. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.teachnycprograms.net/getpage.php?page_id=60
2. I actually am unable to find the site for this. Bad me, I know. Once I find it I will add it here!
3. Speech-Language Pathologist- Military Options. (n.d.). CFNC.org- Career Profile. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Career_Profile/Career_Profile.aspx?id=CS4kl9fuQq860zn2wusOXAP2FPAXQXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX&screen=6
4. Peck, M. & Lamb , H. (2013, February 01). Student’s Say: Why Take 18 Extra Graduate School Credit Hours?. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved Jusy 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2013/130201/Students-Say–Why-Take-18-Extra-Graduate-School-Credit-Hours.htm
5. Kinsey, C. (2013, April 15). Student Loan Forgiveness on ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Student-Loan-Forgiveness.aspx
6. Finding Financial Aid. (n.d.). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association | ASHA. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/students/financial-aid/#Federal_and_State_Education_Programs
7. How to Pay For College. (n.d.). The Debt-Free College Guide – eLearners.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://debtfree.elearners.com/how-to-pay-for-school/IncentivesSearch.aspx