Let’s face it, grad school is not cheap, but what it can offer at the end of your run is a career that often more than doubles your current income, upward mobility, and best of all, a wider range of job opportunities. If you are an RN seeking an online masters healthcare management graduate degree, you already know that tuition is going to be high, but you will also need to continue paying the bills and yes, eating now and again does help! The following tips should help you make it through grad school on a budget, and it’s much easier than you ever thought possible.
1. Consider Studying Online
Without factoring in any other considerations, and looking solely at tuition, it is generally cheaper to study online than in a traditional campus setting. The reason for this is that tuition, on average, is about 25% lower for online classes than it is when registering for a brick-and-mortar curriculum. Since the university doesn’t have the same overhead for offering online MHA programs, savings can be passed on to students.
2. Continue Working at Least Part-Time
While the work of an RN is never easy and can be extremely stressful at times, it is equally stressful trying to figure out how to make ends meet while studying for your master’s degree. Have you considered the possibility of working at least part-time while pursuing that advanced degree? If you work at a doctor’s office you might need to request working an abbreviated schedule, but if you work at a hospital, many will offer you a flexible option of working three 12-hour days, leaving you four days off on any given week.
Plan your studies around those four days. This is another way in which studying online can be a major plus. Here you have the option of studying when you are free, not when the course is scheduled on campus.
3. Use a Budgeting Calculator
One of the real perks of having technology at your fingertips is in giving you the ability to access any number of online tools or downloadable apps. Once you have calculated how much money you are bringing in, which would include grants, loans and fellowships, you can better judge how much you have to spend when calculating all your ongoing costs.
4. Keep Your Goals in Sight
Finally, lest you get discouraged working so hard with very little money for those ‘wants’ when paying all your ‘needs,’ it is always wise to keep your goals in sight. Remember, not only are you looking to advance your career, but you are also looking forward to a sizable increase in pay. An MSHA salary is well above even what you are earning as an RN and that goal should help you resist temptation to overspend. The day is coming, sooner than you think, when you will be earning more money. That’s when you will have the liberty to go out and spend a little. Until then, stick to your budget knowing that the end is in sight.