Going to grad school for clinical psychology might fill you with dread because you think you cannot afford graduate school, but there are different types of financial assistance for clinical psychology graduate students. While filing the FAFSA can help you get financial assistance from the government, you'll find other types of aid out there too.
Before agreeing to take out a single loan, make sure that you search for scholarships for graduate psychology students. These scholarships often come from groups like the APA and from private organizations that understand the need for future psychologists. Check with the college you want to attend as well. Many grad schools offer scholarships for students with a high grade point average and great GRE scores.
While the government offers different types of financial assistance for clinical psychology graduate students like student loans, those loans are only available to students who attend full time. If you take just two classes a semester, you are a part-time student and cannot get government loans. Alternative loans, also known as private loans, come from independent lenders. Though you can borrow a large amount each year, you need a high credit score to qualify. Many grad students apply with a parent or guardian as a co-signer. Lenders will begin adding interest to your loan from the moment you receive those funds, which can leave you paying thousands more than you expected when you graduate.
The Federal Pell Grant is just one of the grants that graduate psychology students qualify for every year. These grants generally go to students who need more financial help than others. Your answers on the FAFSA will dictate whether you receive one and what size grant you get. The best thing about a grant is that you never need to pay back any of the money you get. Even if you don't qualify for a federal grant, check for grants available from your state or local government for grad students.
Assistant programs are among the more common types of financial assistance for clinical psychology graduate students. As these programs pay you money for the work you do for the school, you usually cannot sign up for one as an online student. A research assistant program pays you for helping one or more professors do work on a psychology topic. You might study what happens when students do not get enough sleep or how animals respond to stress. Many colleges offer teaching assistant positions for psychology students too that let you teach lower level classes and grade papers for professors. Depending on where you go to school, these programs might cover all your tuition and some of your other costs too.
You cannot think about paying for school without thinking about student loans. According to Federal Student Aid, loans come in two different types of financial assistance for clinical psychology graduate students. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program allows qualifying students to receive up to $20,500 each year they remain in graduate school. The Federal Perkins Loan Program lets students borrow an additional $8,000 a year. Only full-time students can obtain government loans, and the government limits the total amount they can borrow.
Though students loans can significantly drop the amount of cash you need to pay upfront for college, there are other ways you can pay for graduate school. Certain types of financial assistance for clinical psychology graduate students, including grants and scholarships, let you graduate and feel more confident about your future without worrying about how you'll pay back your student loans.
Related Resource: The 50 Best Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology 2016