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Living: Practical Ways to Finance a PhD

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Education is one of many ways to acquire success. Through dedicating a few years to studying your field of choice, you’re able to gain an in-depth understanding of your subject area, and hopefully, go on to change the world in your own way.

Many people want to go beyond a bachelor’s degree and pursue a PhD for reasons such as furthering their knowledge, improving their career prospects, or to teach the subject to others through lecturing. Whatever the reason for wanting to do a PhD, people can be easily deterred by the cost implications. However, there are several available financial aid options, to help you fulfill your dream of becoming a PhD holder.


This article aims to shed light on them in more detail so that you’re fully aware of all of your funding options.

Scholarships: If you happen to be excelling in your field, then a scholarship may be a great way to obtain financial aid. Scholarships tend to be merit-based and are usually given to students who are able to demonstrate exceptional accomplishments. This could include past academic accolades, sports accomplishments, or outstanding community involvement.

There are a variety of scholarships available which are usually given by private organizations or schools, so try and do your research to see which you might be eligible for. Consider applying for as many as you can to increase your chances of being granted one or more to cover most, if not all of your fees.

Grants: While scholarships tend to be awarded based on merit, grants are typically government awarded and based on need. They are, however, similar in the sense that they don’t have to be repaid once they’ve been awarded. In 2015, the Survey of Earned Doctorates found that 27.3% of people who completed a doctorate degree that year financed it through fellowships or grants.

This is a significant number and shows the opportunities there are to receive funding this way. Grants can be offered for the duration of one year or more to fund research, full tuition and travel costs, or necessary materials. What you’re awarded depends on the nature of the grant and who is awarding it. Grants are sometimes subject specific as well.

Part-time Work: If you’re not eligible for a grant, scholarship, or research assistantship or traineeship, you may have to consider working to pay for your degree. 15.3 percent of people who obtained a doctorate degree in 2015 used their own resources, so don’t worry, you’re not alone.

If you opt for this means of financing your degree, you might want to consider online PhD. This should enable you to juggle both work and school through a flexible degree programme. You will also have a level of control over the structure, outline, as well as pace you want to go in when you opt for online learning.

Loans: As of the fourth quarter of 2016, the student loan debt in the U.S. was said to have reached a high of $3.1 trillion. This goes to show that many people use loans as a financing option when it comes to getting a degree. A student loan, however, is a low-interest way of borrowing funds that can be used to finance your doctorate degree. You can choose to get a loan from a private lender such as a bank, or you could try federal government loans. Federal loans often come with lower interest, so that might be a better option for you.

Note that loans usually have to be repaid with the interest that you’ve incurred over time.

Your circumstances, qualifications, and accomplishments will determine which financial aid option is best for you if you’re trying to acquire a PhD Not having the funding you need can be discouraging, but try your best to stay positive and explore all of your options.

Bear in mind that few things in life come easy, especially when they’re as precious as making your dreams come true.

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