Funding Your Future: How to Find the Right Financial Aid For You

Written by: Tori Schlosser, MBA ‘24

Figuring out how to finance your master’s degree can be stressful, time consuming and just downright confusing. As someone who has had to navigate the various ways that you can pay for your degree, I understand the frustration of trying to make sure your tuition bill is covered. Below are some of the resources I’ve used throughout my educational journey that have helped finance my degree.

UB’s Scholarship Portal (link embedded)

This is my favorite resource. Over 1,000 scholarships are listed here that both international and domestic students can apply for each semester. There is a general application that is quick and easy to fill out with very basic information about yourself, your degree path and your career aspirations. Just filling out the general application qualifies you for hundreds of scholarships. Some applications require a few extra steps, like answering more questions about why you need the scholarship or submitting your resume, but the online application process is quick and painless.  

Another great aspect of the portal is that once you create an account it saves all your information and it’s very easy to update throughout your time at UB. This makes it much easier to reapply each year for scholarships and check eligibility for new scholarships. Definitely spend some time looking through and applying for these amazing scholarships!

FAFSA (link embedded)

This resource only applies to domestic students, but I’ve linked some resources for international students here that can help with figuring out which aid you qualify for. Although international students will not receive any Federal aid, it is recommended that you fill out the FAFSA as some universities use it to determine financial aid eligibility at the university level. 

Every year of my undergraduate and now graduate degree I filled out the FAFSA and received some form of Federal aid. For graduate students, the type of aid you can receive is limited compared to an undergraduate student; however, this application applies for everything you are eligible to receive from the Federal government in that financial aid year. You can also apply directly for state financial aid through the FAFSA application, which means less forms for you to fill out. Even if the only Federal aid you are eligible for is a Federal student loan, these loans usually carry a lower interest rate than those of private loan servicers.  

Personal Student Loans (link embedded)

Once you have exhausted all other options to finance your master’s degree, personal loans are another option available to you. I recommend taking out a personal loan only after you have filled out everything listed above and are still in financial need. Personal loans tend to have a higher interest rate than Federal loans and they have different, more complicated rules to follow when it comes to paying them back. I highly recommend doing your own research into what type of loan best fits your needs as each case is different and what you are able to afford may not be the same as your peers. 

One company I do recommend looking into is Discover Student Loans. I personally have loans through their service for my undergraduate degree and I have found the services offered very helpful. Throughout my undergraduate years, Discover gave me the option of paying a small amount monthly towards the loan in order to help keep the interest accrued while I am in school at a minimum. I was able to choose whether I just paid the interest amount, the interest amount and some of the principal, or another amount I was comfortable with while in school. The user interface on their website is easy to use, which is something we all can appreciate. I have provided a link above to help you get started on finding the best student loan for you. 

The resources I have listed above are by no means the only resources out there for students in their financial aid journey. Again, I highly recommend doing your own research to decide what is best for you. I hope the resources I have given are a good starting point for you to make the decisions needed to obtain your degree at UB!

Bio: Tori was born and raised in Buffalo, New York with her three younger siblings. She is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and pursue a master’s degree. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University at Buffalo majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. Her undergraduate experience convinced her to continue her professional development and pursue her MBA at UB.  

In her free time, Tori loves to read, do arts and crafts, and traveling. Tori loves spending time with her friends outside the classroom to keep a work-life balance. Finding time to relax and enjoy quality time with friends has been immensely beneficial to her success in the MBA program.

Photo credit: Tom Wolf

One Reply to “Funding Your Future: How to Find the Right Financial Aid For You”

  1. Finding the right financial aid is crucial for achieving your academic and career goals. It requires careful research and planning, but with determination and persistence, you can secure the funding you need to make your dreams a reality. Keep exploring your options, stay organized, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Good luck!

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